Sunday, March 31, 2013

what i MEANT

i MEANT to go up to the mountain today and ski just a little because it's the official closing weekend nevermind next weekend's bonus days, but they won't be open during the week and i never do know if they will spin the number one chair, so saturday or not i went up to say my farewell to peggy dow's and my favorite lift op down at the bottom says as far as she knows they're not planning to spin the number one chair next week.

i MEANT to stay an hour or two or maybe three but it was stunningly beautiful and there was a little party kind of going on all day up in the tower if you count a half dozen people admiring the view a party and i sort of do, because usually it's pretty solitary up there.

i MEANT to go home early and have lunch and do my grocery shopping, but all of a sudden it was one in the afternoon and the pond skimming was starting.


i had not realized that the pond skimming had been moved from last week on account of weather.


so i skied too long and then stood in my ski boots on the hill next to the pond to observe a ski country rite of spring at its finest.

i have some nice pictures for you of a pretty day on the mountain and some crazy pictures of the pond skimming, but i am too tired right now to process those and post them.

and yes, for those of you not living in a ski culture, in the spring at most ski areas they make a pond and yes, skiers come flying down the hill and attempt to skim across the pond, often in costume.

many of them go swimming and ski patrol are there to fish out the unlucky and also to hand out fluffy white towels.

the crowd whoops and hollers and even the people who come out soaked and covered in livid red bruises -which you can see, because some people's idea of "costume" is skis and a speedo- even THOSE people seem to be having a good time.

even the tiny little girl who went face first into the pond and came up sputtering and started to cry decided that the glory of the moment outweighed the discomfort and she stood with her arms above her head accepting the cheers of the crowd.

Friday, March 29, 2013

sloth feeding

here's one for the exiles.

who doesn't love sloths? nobody, right?

and we had sloths in glitch, and they liked to eat metal rods.

i know, it makes sense if you were there.

so here's some video of me feeding a sloth up in neelam saff.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

cautionary tale

well, now the supreme court has finished hearing all the arguments about gay marriage and i just want to remind them that the very fabric of civilization is at stake.

gay marriages have been legal in canada since 2005, and in that time all of canadian society has broken down. the family has fallen apart, children no longer know who their parents are, heterosexual couples are no longer valued, and violent crime and all manner of vices have had unprecedented gains.

canadian society has collapsed and ottawa lies in smoldering ruins.

canadians can no longer live in peace, hold jobs, or worship freely.

our supreme court would be well advised to look at the catastrophic fall of the canadian social structures  and be sure to protect and defend the US from any such a thing happening here.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

gas caps

when you are at the gas station and you see where someone has left their gas cap and forgotten it, maybe you think: i will leave my gas cap there, too, because surely i will not forget it because that is a great place to remember to pick it up from.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

random you tube

for no particular reason, here are some youtube videos i like.

which i guess makes them not random, because what they have in common is that i like them.

Monday, March 25, 2013

the end of the line

one hundred and two days ago the game glitch closed.

i am not done writing about what an astounding thing that game was, or how beautiful and immersive it was, but this morning, in a few hours, the forums will close as well and we will no longer have our homepages to log into. they will put us all into an archival form which is better than we'd have a right to expect, but we are all putting on our archival outfits the way one might choose a burial suit and we are having our last goodbyes to each other because although we have all migrated to other places, it is the last time we have to talk with each other in this land we loved.

Voluptua Sneezelips I always thought it started with banjos for me, but now I think it started with Proust: "If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time." And I did, to my enrichment and detriment. In Glitch, I dreamed all the time. First minutes: Overwhelmed. Grinning at the contented tree-sigh. Into this new world, harvesting, petting, nibbling. Visually inundated. In love. Melismata came; she radiated at me then left me to explore. In hindsight, it was Groddle Heights. I wandered the world. I met many. Familiar strangers on my local streets and in the quarters. Some became friends. I moved to Salatu. More familiar strangers at the grocery vendor. More friends. New skills, new areas, new achievements. New selves and homes. And always dreaming. I knew Ur better than my real-life neighbourhood. Thank you all for sharing it and yourselves with me. I cannot leave with banjos, and so I will leave instead with Proust: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." And so it ends as it began, though with far less dreaming now. I am awake for the first time in years. But I will always remember.

kastlin I wanted to say something really profound here for the top of my profile page, so here goes. ... I didn't want to love this game, I just wanted to have fun. I didn't want to get caught up in a community, I was going to hover on the perimeter. But TS made a game I couldn't help but fall in love with. And the people here (especially you troublemakers, you know who you are) are so wonderful, so understanding, so accepting that I fell in love with you, too. The awakened Giants are playing with our Glitch toys, our cubimals, our play cubes, heck, they're even sampling my herb hybrids. And now, well, now we disperse, a few here, a few there (a few of us kind of everywhere). Now we put our inner glitchen on the outside, where EVERYONE can see it. Because now, we are the Giants. And we will spark that tiny speck of creativity in everyone around us. All my love, kastlin 

flask there was a place once; no, it was a REAL place, with streets and geography and cultures and i lived there for a time. i lived there as much as i have lived anywhere and it was my home. and you were there too, with your garden and house and we lived there. it was a beautiful land but there were no more dreams and we were exiled to other lands, none as beautiful as the one where we had lived. for a while we got postcards from there and treasured them but now there will be no more postcards and the exiles will meet in bars and bus stations and sing the old songs for old time's sake, but none of us can ever go home again. it was a beautiful land. we miss it, and we can no longer go home. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

mushroom tent

i'm not showing you pictures of the mushrooms yet.

not really.

but i've been having problems growing them because apparently my home is not humid enough to grow mushrooms.

so i put a bag over them.

and they did better, but a two gallon ziploc is just not large enough to keep them humid without squishing them, so i cut up TWO two gallon ziplocs and taped them together and now apparently we're getting somewhere.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

more about fred

i have written before about fred, so i'm not going to go into a lot of detail on this one but yesterday (two days ago by the time you read this) john green came out with his new video for the list show over at mental floss.

you should watch it.

because awesome.

and just in case you missed this gem when it came out, there's this:

Friday, March 22, 2013

open letter to the guy with the dog

hi, neighbor!

i think you have noticed me sometimes in the six o'clock hour watching you play with your dog out on the golf course behind the house.

here's the thing: when the sound of you and your dog playing is the thing that wakes me in the morning, i reserve the right to roll over and watch, mostly because i have just woken up and it is a pleasant way to spend my first waking moments of the day.

if you are bothered by me doing this, you may feel free to play with your dog outside somebody else's bedroom window.

i hope we're all square now.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

open letter to entertainment media companies

dear entertainment companies,

we have to talk about ground rules.

if i am watching content you created or are paying to broadcast either on television or radio or over the web, i am totally toasty with seeing advertisements, because that's how stuff gets paid for.

if you have sold me a service that consists of advertising-free content, you may not place advertising in it, because by asking me to pay for the content was ostensibly what was going to be your revenue stream.

i know, it seemed rather like an easy choice for you to sell me content without advertising but then your ADVERTISERS got cranky because they wanted to put advertising on all your content!

that's not my lookout.

there is no double-dipping.

either give me free content with advertising OR let me pay for advertising-free content. you cannot have it both ways, you greedy little pricks.

and while we're at it, if i am watching AN ADVERTISEMENT, you may not put advertising on that before i can watch your ad. that is also double dipping and not ok.

furthermore, if i am visiting an ad-supported website to read an article but then i can't see the article OR THE ADS because of a second layer of popup ads, i simply close the window and therefore do not look at the popup but i also do not read your inline ads or your sidebar ads or your banner ads and i also do not read your content and i do not talk about it or link to it.

so while you're thinking about how you can squeeze every last penny out of my eyeballs by cramming ads into your content, what is really happening in the aggregate total is that i am not looking at any of your content, and my shopping dollars are going to sites and advertisers that have given some thought to how the consumer might like to see advertising.

because let's face it. the real reason for advertising is to boost actual purchases, and if i am so mightily annoyed as to turn off the media source, nobody is getting what they want.

and i know you didn't ask me, but here's is how web advertising works in my brain:

sidebar ad gets read, and most often clicked. i will go out of my way to buy stuff from sponsors of free content i enjoy.

banner ad is sometimes read, but most often ignored.

inline ad gets aggressively ignored, because it is annoying. did you not think i saw the sidebar?

popup gets closed immediately.

persistent popup means i stop using your website.

i know i have helped you.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

mmmm, spam.

among my hobbies are taking things literally and rummaging through my inbox for spam i can pick apart to see what fascinating techniques are being used these days by greedy predators against stupid greedy people.

making the rounds today is an interesting thing that purports to be from UPS.

Dear Customer,
This email is coming to you as a reminder concerning your pending package that has been with us for a long time.  As you already know that this package is containing an AUTOMATIC TELLER MACHINE CARD (ATM CARD) in your name and in the amount of $2.5 million USD.
United Parcel Service (UPS) wish to let you know that our delivery team has finally carried out delivery of your package though having problems with your availability on pickup which we assume that the address is not correct. The package was shipped from Nigeria and since on the 01/31/2013 it has been in Pine Bluff, AR, United States on transit awaiting clearance of location.
To track your package, go to and insert the tracking number below to view delivery status.
On the tracking page you will see that this package has been in our route for six months which led to our contacting you for proper identification of your address. This is because you have refused to give us your cooperation. You are hereby advice to provide us with the below details so we can immediately have it sent out to our deliverymen in Arkansas to complete your delivery to the current address you may provide now.
Upon receiving your correct details, we will immediately notify our regional depot and the Airport Authorities in USA so that the package will be redirected to your correct address immediately. This is important and as such your immediate response will do you good.
You can also email our dispatch office at (link removed. you should not click on links found in spam.)
Management,Mr. Michael Usifoh(c)UPS Online Management Team.All rights reserved.(c) 1995-2012

ok, to start with, if you go to the UPS site and enter that tracking number, you get a legitimate package sitting in arkansas. so of course you think:

wow. why have i so far refused to cooperate in giving my name and address and phone number to these people when clearly there is a legitimate shipment of that 2.5 MILLION DOLLARS THAT SO OBVIOUSLY BELONGS TO ME?

because, you know, not only do i HAVE an extra 2.5 million dollars, but i and my bank have no way to transport it around the globe other than sticking it onto a bank card that can be lost in delivery and clearly my address is simply misplaced.

you know, because it is perfectly reasonable for an entity sending me 2.5 million dollars not to have oh, say, written my address down in more than one location. aaaaaand also not have heard of wire transfers.

points to the hatwipes for apparently sending themselves an undeliverable package so that they can use the UPS tracking page to look legitimate, but really.

if you are actually looking on the UPS site to see where your package with the 2.5 million dollars is, you kind of deserve what's coming.

in the meantime, here is what UPS says.

Thank you for forwarding this information to us. The e-mail you received is not a legitimate UPS communication. We are aware that individuals may inappropriately use the UPS name or its services to perpetuate fraudulent activities. We appreciate you alerting us to this latest incident.

If you are ever concerned about the authenticity of an e-mail referencing UPS, do not click on any links provided. Open a new Web browser, type your browser address field, and either log in to your Internet shipping account from this page - or use the "search" feature located at the top of the page to access the information you need. You may also verify its authenticity by forwarding it to

While UPS is not liable for the actions of third parties, we are working to prevent and detect fraud where possible.

For more information on protecting yourself from fraud, see our Web site at

Thank you again for bringing this matter to our attention.

UPS Fraud Mitigation
Corporate Security

the package is still out there, though.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

rook attack

yes, yes, i know. it's a lot of postings about a thing that ended nearly a hundred days ago.

the thing about it is that just because it's over doesn't mean it wasn't beautiful, and the exiles still really miss our beautiful world.

and if i process vids to post them, that's what i've done today and what i'm thinking about.

so anyway, by way of explanation (that none of the exiles needs), our world of Ur was attacked sometimes by rooks. and we had to go fight them with our imaginations and focusing orbs and we had to use teamwork to do it.

it was a game mechanic that evolved over the course of the game, and while it had some great potential for development, there really wasn't any consequence to not fighting the rooks when they came.

back in the day when the devs were testing rook attacks heavily and they were also releasing new streets, i was at what i like to call "the battle of saker mank".  i may be wrong because it happened so quickly, but i am pretty sure that the original art for scaup low and saker mank did not include stumps and fallen trees.

when the rook came to the street, it did some damage. and the fighting spread to scaup low. and glitches died in the field, and trees were destroyed.

THAT, my young glitchen, was a rook battle.

scaup low

back in the day.

and then for a while rook battles happened on a schedule that was predictable enough someone had drawn up a little spreadsheet.

i kept saying (since i am a troublemaker) that none of us should fight the rooks when they came, just to see what would (or wouldn't) happen.

you know, for science.

so near the very end i was minding my own business in gopra byle and rooks started flying. so i just started recording screenvid. and then when glitchen came to fight it, i just stood and recorded.

because end days.

important for us later just to remember what it looked like.


Monday, March 18, 2013

bonaparte crossing the rhine

i was still playing with the googledoc demo and i decided that it was funny.

i took some screenvid.

word about that: when i record them they look a lot sharper than they do when i get them up on youtube. if you have any solutions to that, i will be happy to hear them.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


i am interested in the progressions of things.

i like to photograph the same thing as it changes over time, so last may when i was on the road and i didn't finish all the popovers before they started to grow mold, i did not throw them out.

normal people throw things out when they go bad.

i guess.

i imagine that's how normal people do things.

me, i saved the popovers and thought: i will simply take pictures of these as they progress through the various stages of anaerobic decay.

it's not very scientific, because i didn't have any controls or measurements and i did not photograph at regular intervals, but it's still kind of interesting.

13 may 2012
6 june 2012
13 july 2012

6 november 2012

15 march 2013

Saturday, March 16, 2013


this morning a friend of mine was playing with a demo for googledocs or something and i don't think it's currently in use as an actual demo because you have to dig to find it, but it is very amusing to play with.

if you have always wanted to write a thing and then have charles dickens jump in and rewrite your sentence while it's still in progress, you should play with it.

the link is here. you're welcome.

here is a short text from me and my collaborators this morning: emily dickinson, charles dickens, friedrich nietzsche, edgar allen poe, and i think maybe ralph waldo emerson.

so there was this one time... An hour behind the fleeting breath,  there still was no dinner... A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends. and it was pretty clear that the marvelous writer was all alone against zombies that knew where he lived.
I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.  because if you can write that mysterious ... nobody has any idea what you are talking about . Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.
suddenly, it was 2:10 in the afternoon and nobody could remember where president garfield is buried. ... Let not sloth dim your horrors new-begot.
However, the good writer had nothing to do but nail some boards across the windows and wait. the horror was coming soon enough. why distinctly had he taken the souls of his friends? Morality is the herd-instinct in the individual. surely he realized now that it was a bad idea.
but they, who didn't smell the fire burning, were coming. it is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things; it was nearly dinnertime and they were coming.

Friday, March 15, 2013


a thing they mostly don't tell you in education school is that for your first year or two you are going to be sick.

very, very sick.

you are going to get more colds and stomach bugs than you thought were possible. many of you will go for eight or nine months without having a solid bowel movement.

you, new teacher, are about to enter an environment where all the germs in the world are going to pass through your classroom, and if you teach in an elementary school the sheer volume of pathogens that get dribbled out onto every surface will boggle your mind.

if you are a classroom teacher, you will be VERY heavily exposed to all the germs of the kids in your class, but if you are the music or art or gym teacher you will get light exposures to EVERY GERM IN THE SCHOOL.

at some point, maybe year four or five, you mostly stop getting sick. you only maybe get one cold a year, but the one you get is the epic one.

you develop such a resiliency over time that when the administrative assistant comes around to your classroom to take a survey on how many faculty will be calling in sick tomorrow because THAT many kids and teachers are down with this year's flu, you think quietly that tomorrow you will do your grocery shopping and maybe take yourself out to lunch.

you are so immune to everything that you do not hesitate to eat stuff you find on the floor.

in a rest area parking lot.

and then you retire.

and after a few years you maybe realize that your super immunity is gone because you live alone in the country and when you see live people it's usually outdoors or in sporting venues where sick people usually aren't. you don't get any colds, because you're not exposed to any germs.

so you go a number of years without being exposed to a barrage of viruses and all of sudden one day you realize that you have no resistance to anything anymore and on average you're going to be sick about five days for every time you spend more than an hour in a closed room with people.

if it is flu season, you just simply stop talking to people in person.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

toy guns

on the one hand, i'm against toy guns.

you know, in a knee-jerk kind of way. because i've been a pacifist since before i knew what a pacifist was.

but here's a thing: sometimes a gun is a legitimate tool. i live where people actually eat meat they catch themselves. sure, we can go to the grocery store for that. but if you eat meat and you can catch it wild and you like that sort of thing, why on earth would you not?

and heaven forfend that big epidemic should arrive or the power grid go down or something. i am not a doomsday prepper, but it's conceivable that things could get shut down for a number of days in a row.

and some lawlessness might ensue.

and here's another thing: kids engage in a thing called mastery play. no, go look it up yourself. i'm sick.

i recall that as a child i did not approve of playing war games because those involved shooting people. but i remember having imaginary guns. and i remember that in my imaginary games i was prepared to defend myself if i had been attacked by imaginary people. and that i hunted imaginary meat to feed my imaginary pioneer family because there's no imaginary store sometimes.

my childhood games also involved knowing which plants i could eat if i had to and how to find water and read a map.

my concept of mastery in this world means knowing i could build a fire and keep myself and my companions alive in an emergency.

you know, because i grew up in a regular suburban neighborhood where so often you are left to the elements.

anyway, i don't fault any kid who picks up an imaginary firearm, especially if she's a kid who grows up in an environment where there are real firearms. heck, i hope that if a kid is in a place where people have firearms that they take a lot of imaginary target practice and real safety instruction including some no-nonsense age-appropriate talk about some real and scary things that happen when people mistake toys for real. or the other way around.

but here's some legislation we need: no cute or decorative colored firearms. no darling little patterns. it should be illegal to manufacture or distribute firearms that look like toys.

go ahead, google "pink gun".

i only did because i was thinking about the idea of my general disapproval of toy guns but then i was thinking of circumstances in which i might approve of them and why and it came down to safety.

it would be possible, i thought, for a kid not to be properly instructed and to make a very bad mistake.

and that, really, is the bottom line because even if i'm all pacifist and everything i don't have a right to demand that of my neighbors or their children and what constitutes appropriate play with toy guns is really up to individual families once we have the safety basics covered.

you might similarly demand that your chainsaw-loving toddler or your little one who is fascinated with flames or electrical cords only use these things with adult supervision and only appropriately in play, but there's no accounting for mistakes or other people's stupidity or even that terrible moment when you realize your kid is smarter and more mobile than you thought, or when he just doesn't follow the rules.

 so i was thinking about that and i happened to google "pink gun".  you know,  to see if there was anything about this idea that firearms made to look like toys was even a thing.

sadly, it is.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

richmond market

really, i was going to have some deep thoughts about civil liberties and social structures because i was thinking about friends in Socially Liberal European Country and Socially Conservative European Country and some similarities and differences between US and canadian culture and also language as is  used to separate and humiliate people and the rising costs of special education but the truth of it is that while i'm having a lot of thoughts and many of them are cogent, i am well into day ten of the cold from hell and i find that i alternate between "i feel very sick" and "i feel ok, but i need a nap".

and while i might bang out a few thoughts to talk with you about, i haven't the energy to give you any links or cite any examples or sources or even related opinions, and if i'm going to go on about the erosion of civil liberties or european court cases that change corporate policies for consumers in the US, i should probably give you links.

so instead i'm going to tell you about what's more my speed: the richmond market. yeah.

richmond is a two street town. i live some miles out of it, but it's where i get my hair cut, and on the odd occasion that's where i go to order a pizza.

because maybe it's a two street town, but you can get good pizza there, and in more than one place. you can also get a good cheeseburger, a good haircut, and find a good bakery.

sunday afternoon i went into richmond to buy prepared food.

you know, because what i have left in the house either requires too much preparation or just makes me feel green to think about. sometimes when you're sick you just don't want to think about the eggplant soup.

the richmond market used to stand on the corner of main and bridge streets in a dumpy looking old building that appears to have been new sometime in the jackson administration. the first time i went in i simply didn't know any better. i was expecting to be able to get a box of cereal and a can of beans or something, and probably off-brands.

but no.

they had fresh produce. and hand cut meats. and four different brands of jasmine rice.

and now they're down in the new shiny building and you can get local produce and two different flavors of marinated tofu and five flavors of vegan dumplings and in-store made pot pies and wild mushrooms in season and all manner of really awesome things at reasonable prices.

plus regular groceries and toilet paper and stuff.

i am thinking of doing all my shopping there from now on. i am trying to think if i am really saving anything by going to the big chain, or if there's anything i really need at the big chain they don't have at the richmond market.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

day nine, sick

you don't really want to know.

in the highlight reel, i peed myself coughing three times in one day.

bloodshot? yeah, those are my eyes.

Monday, March 11, 2013


you know, i've written a fair amount of posts.

and i've looked at the analytics because patterns fascinate me. if you've been following along, you already know this.   i keep trying to figure out why some posts seem to draw a LOT of spambot attention and some do not. my current theory is that something in the spambot algorithms pick up hits on a post like snails on a slimetrail and the first hit may be random, but the more hits a post gets, the more hits it's GOING to get.

i keep coming back to this topic because that one post continues to get the most spamhits and spamcomments of all time.

i am now toying with the theory that the more i link to that post, the more spamcomments it gets.

and the comments amuse me.

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and then there are some comments NOT on this particular post that are so nonsensical i wish to share them with you, just for giggles.

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ok. now i can clean out my spambox. these were special enough i wanted to save and share so you could enjoy them, too.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


near the end of glitch, TS released craftybot! he automated some of the crafting tasks, taking the materials either from where you had conveniently left them out for him, or from your storage display boxes.

you could also run him from your inventory, but that meant you had to be holding all the ingredients and tools and he took up an inventory slot himself.

he was massively flexible, but seriously buggy. they went ahead and released him buggy because it was the last days of the game and they wanted us to be able to play with him.

here is some video of crafty making potions in my house.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

should you send it to me?

a friend of mine has been having a thing where her mom sends her lots of inappropriate job postings.

you know, because she already has a job.

she'd leave it, i guess, if a better one came up, but it's a decent enough job.

i made a chart she can give to her mom and maybe lessen the volume of job postings that get sent every day.

Friday, March 08, 2013

ricker 3400, take 2

i was going to tell you yesterday about my second trip up ricker, but i got as far as showing you my gear and realized it was a long enough post the way it was and i decided it was just as well to tell the story of what happened separate from what i carried.

before i got all suited up to leave the house i made a little trip plan and posted it to google docs so that my friends had that information handy in the even of an emergency. it is a practice i recommend, especially for people who travel alone.

so i got up to the mountain with all my stuff packed and i wasn't in a big fat hurry because the number one chair doesn't open before ten. because it's a weekend they have the parking lot people who help load and unload the cars and i sort of have a rule about not bringing more gear than i can carry in one trip but holly and victoria are very nice and help me unload my bags and we make some chitchat about my plans and i leave the loading area to go park my car in the lot.

and when i get back up to my gear, holly and victoria help me carry it all up to the lodge which is totally unnecessary, but very sweet and a classy touch.

once i got all booted up i went up the hill to get into my skis so i could wave at my internet friends on the webcam, a thing i like to do sometimes, and i headed down to the number one chair since it was five to ten.

five to ten is not the same as ten, so the chair is not loading yet but a line is forming and because there's a line i'm a little nervous about getting on the chair with my big pack because if you miss the chair or drop something they have to slow or stop the chair and that makes people cranky.

once at the top, you have to figure how to do a graceful dismount for similar reasons.

i sat on the handy bench at the top to change boots and put on my gaiters and while i was there a ski patrol guy came to check out my plans. they don't patrol the area where i was going, but as he said there was a "little tension" about people heading off into the backcountry because last week a couple from virginia got lost on the backside wearing SHORTS and had to spend a night up there before their very expensive rescue.

it didn't take a very long conversation for him to understand my travel plan and the appropriateness of my gear and he wished me a happy day.

so i went on up. i left my skis in the snow behing the bench but decided to carry my ski boots just to keep them protected, even though they were dead weight. for a lot of the way i followed track made buy a snowboarder who had walked up the day before and ridden down, and then above the place where those tracks ended, i was kind of following track someone (probably on snowshoes) had made last week. the tracks were all covered in but i could see someone had passed, so at least that told me the way was passable.

i was not surprised at the summit not to find the cache.

and eventually i just reached the point int eh day where the only smart thing to do is quit looking and come down the mountain.

here's the map of the route, with some pictures:

ricker 3400 take 2

EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in Vermont

and here's a map that shows both this approach and the southern approach:

two ways up ricker

EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in Vermont

and of course, the photos:

and the video:

Thursday, March 07, 2013

gearing up

i picked last saturday to make my second attempt that the ricker 3400 geocache.

the weather was warm, and the number one chair running, so it seemed like a good time to go.

friday i went up there and checked the snow conditions

at home i checked all my gear, unpacked and repacked everything and made test runs of putting it all on.

because let's face it, you might only be walking .16 of a mile, but it's going to be rough terrain and on the outside chance something happens you will need to know for certain where all your gear is and have practiced with it recently because an emergency is NOT the time to find out that one of your snowshoe bindings has a kink in it.

this is particularly important if like me, you habitually travel alone. what might be a small inconvenience for three people travelling in winter can become an a-number-one crisis for a person travelling alone so it's best to go well-prepared.

this is my gear spread out.

spare gloves, hot, headband, snowshoes with crampons, ski boots, dry bag, water bottle, emergency bag, contents of emergency bag, food, shovel, and freshly waterproofed hiking boots.

it's worth going over what's actually in the emergency bag. 

there's a ziploc bag with hadwarmers in it, and i have checked handwarmers from this batch to make sure they are fresh enough to work. you might think of it as a waste of resources to tear open a perfectly good package at home just to see if they're still fresh, but  those things have a limited shelf life and unless you buy them new every time you go out you should test them periodically.

there are assorted energy bars and fruit snacks. it's not a meal, but will do in a pinch. for a longer hike, an actual emergency meal would have been packed as well.

there's a ziploc bag with four emergency candles some packages of firestarter, and a working lighter. outside this ziploc there's also a spare working lighter.

when i say "working lighter" understand that i have tested it.

i also have one of those sliver emergency blankets. they don't look like much, but they are very handy in an emergency. one of them can very well make the difference between you coming down fine and you coming down dead.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

comparative runs

yesterday i posted a little thing about a run down peggy dow's/ old turnpike for my friend mr. max.

today i got kind of involved in looking at his local ski mountain to make a comparison to se can relate my terrain with his, so i had a look at blue mountain resort, and picked a likely mid-level crusier.

oddly, the one i settled on was named "cruiser" i picked it because it seems representative or the mid-level terrain on the mountain, and also because i could find it well enough to trace its path in google earth.

so here's blue mountain's cruiser along with the elevation profile:

and here's peggy dow's  / old turnpike at bolton valley:

you can see those in really cute interactive versions if you want to download the .kml files.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

one run for mr. max

here is a whole munch of tracks and stuff from one run down peggy dow's / old turnpike at bolton valley.

this is my favorite run on the whole mountain. it is a lovely cruiser with some nice twisty bits near the top and quiet straight ahead passage through the forest toward the bottom.

plus the elbow of peggy dow's is my favorite place in the whole world, and they don't always run the number one chair, so any day they run that chair is a good day to me.

play the run on the map:

one run for mr. max

EveryTrail - Find trail maps for California and beyond

look at the elevation profile:

and a skier's POV video of the run:

Monday, March 04, 2013

hey, arcturus!

friday when i went skiing my friend arcturus said to "take lots of pictures so i can enjoy it too".

so i did.

here are some pictures of the day and a video i made.

jumping onto the airbag
this guy is about to jump onto a HUGE airbag. it's a thing.

work road
view up workroad from number one chair

wilderness liftline
wilderness liftline

bug tuck
bug tuck
tele turn
tele turn
the bug tuck: it's where you stick your poles up under your arms and tip them up so you look like an insect. it does nothing to make you more aero. some people perform the bug tuck while actually snowplowing, which is a nice comic effect.

liftline above midstation
timberline above midstation

view down twice as nice
twice as nice

racer on showtime
racer on showtime

villager run
villager run


Sunday, March 03, 2013

two things about government

hey, everybody who'd delighted with how things are going with the government, raise your hand.


i thought so.

anyway, i'm not ready to show you my next cute video from glitch or pictures from the mountain or tell you yet about yesterday's awesome adventure so i'm going to drop these on you:

C.G.P. Grey explains the debt limit. watching this should be mandatory for every US citizen because quite frankly what the guys in government are feeding the news media who in turn are feeding us is not a whole lot like the truth.

but in case you want to be vigilant and actually LOOK at what's going on in your state government, there is an awesome site called open states that aggregates information from government transparency sites to you don't have to search every last thing. it's very handy to have all that information in one place, which is kind of the point of the site. some states make the information available but difficult to find or keep track of because governments LOVE to call themselves transparent, but they don't love so much making it easy for you to find whatever they post.

"hey, we put all the information online!" agencies may cry. "it's not OUR fault if people can't find it easily or track it."

well, openstates can help you with that.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

ahhh! it burns! it burns!!!!

here is an email i got.

really? we need more fear and hate mongering?

this is just so much horseshit.


This Is Our
Last Chance to StopSame-Sex Marriage

Here’s what you urgently need to know . . .

Dear Friend of Catholic Answers,

We have arrived at a turning point in American history. The United States Supreme Court has accepted two cases that may result in same-sex marriage being imposed everywhere in America.

While these cases have been progressing through the courts, out of the public eye, Catholic Answers has been vigilant, and, now that the cases have arrived at the Supreme Court, we’ve sprung into action.

But we need your help!

Here are all the facts.
Proposition 8

The first case that the Supreme Court has accepted involves Proposition 8, the 2008 California constitutional amendment that affirmed that marriage is only between a man and a woman.

Prop 8 was passed to protect marriage—even in California, even in a year when liberals won heavily—but homosexual activists have not stopped their relentless onslaught.

Despite the fact it was a constitutional amendment, they got key judges—using tortured legal reasoning—to strike it down as unconstitutional.

Now it’s before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Defense of Marriage Act

The second case involves the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that was passed by Congress in 1996.

DOMA protects states from being forced to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

It also protects the federal government from having to recognize these marriages, and it prevents federal benefits from going to them.

But once again, homosexual activists have not stopped their relentless onslaught, and now this matter, too, is before the Supreme Court.

What Will Happen?
Nobody knows what the Supreme Court will do regarding Prop 8 and DOMA, but, if things go badly, we could end up with a situation where same-sex marriage is imposed in every state in the Union.
It would be just like in 1973, when Roe v. Wade swept away all state laws protecting unborn children from abortion.

That abomination led to decades of conflict and tens of millions of children being killed—and the fight is far from over.
We must do all we can to prevent another abomination from being imposed on our nation.

That’s why Catholic Answers has been vigilant on this issue, because there’s one truth we cannot ignore . . .
We’re on Our Own . . . So It’s All Up to Us!

Though both Prop 8 and DOMA were duly voted into law, state and federal officials have refused to defend them in court.

That’s right. The government officials whose job is to execute the laws of the land have refused to defend the laws—or at least these laws.
  • As early as 2010, then-California attorney general Jerry Brown refused to defend Prop 8 in court.
  • In 2011, the Obama administration announced that it would refuse to defend DOMA. In fact, in his recent inaugural address, President Obama pledged to fight to legalize same-sex marriage, saying, “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.”
Our elected officials have refused to defend the law—and basic morality—out of their desire to please the homosexual lobby.

That means the defense of these laws falls to people like you and me. We must do what we can—what the courts allow us to do—to protect these laws and to protect marriage itself.

What Catholic Answers Is Doing
Catholic Answers has been active in the defense of marriage for years. We’ve monitored what’s going on with same-sex marriage, even when it’s not been in the public eye. When the Supreme Court took these two cases, we spoke with our attorneys about filing what’s known as an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief.

This is a special type of legal document that “interested parties” can prepare to advise the court about the issues in front of it, to make sure that important parts of the subject are discussed. It helps the justices to have the potential consequences of their decisions painted in vivid detail, and that is why our attorneys are filing the brief.

It focuses on the disastrous effects that imposing same-sex marriage would have on religious liberty in America. Here’s what would happen. . . .
A Nightmare Future
As the brief to the Supreme Court bluntly puts it, anyone who upholds true marriage will be treated like a bigot, regardless of his faith:

“To be a devout Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, Muslim, or Orthodox Jew will become the moral equivalent of being a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Furthermore, our brief points out:
“The Court would correspondingly consign traditional religious beliefs regarding marriage and the family to the same circle of constitutional hell as racism and sexism.

“Thus, simply by accepting the principles that their religious groups have publicly supported for thousands of years, tens of millions of religious believers in the United States would be branded as the legal equivalent of racists, a result that will subject believers to such burdens and acrimony that many will be forced to hide their faith.”
Those burdens will be felt in all parts of society.  
How You, Your Children, and Your Grandchildren Will Be Punished

If the Supreme Court imposes same-sex marriage on the U.S., the machinery of the state will be used to punish you and everyone you care about.

The punishment will take several forms . . .
  • Employers will fire people—or not hire them in the first place—if they speak out in favor of true marriage. (Some are already doing this.)
  • Lawsuits will be brought against small business owners to compel them to provide services to homosexuals as married couples. (That’s already happening, too.)
  • Public schools will indoctrinate children against the beliefs of their parents—and against the Catholic Faith itself—in a way that dwarfs what’s happening in the school system today.
  • The “right” to same-sex marriage will be used as a weapon against free speech and freedom of religion, with the aim of pushing the authentic Catholic Faith completely out of public life in America.

Pressure will be put on everyone to support same-sex marriage or be shunned as bigots in every walk of life.

That pressure won’t be applied only to you and me, it will also be applied to our children and grandchildren—forcing them to choose between their faith and being a social outcast. That’s a recipe for disaster in a world that already puts so many barriers between young people and the faith.

That’s why Catholic Answers has leapt to the defense of true marriage.
Because of the brief we’re filing with the Court, we will make sure that the voice of faithful Catholicism will be heard in these cases, and it is your generosity that makes this possible.

But there’s a problem . . .

We Need Your Help!

As you know, making a difference in court is not something that can be done on the cheap.

The fees to prepare and file this brief could mount as high as $30,000 or more, and with the current state of the economy, giving is down for charities like Catholic Answers, and we’re already in a cash-strapped state.

That’s why I need to ask for your help—and in a special way. I really need to ask our supporters to go above and beyond with their generosity right now. [Click here to donate]
This Is the Last Chance for Marriage in America

The crisis in the Supreme Court is so grave that we simply could not sit on the sidelines.
This is “it,” folks. If we lose these cases, it will be “game over” for true marriage in the United States—for the rest of our lives.

The Church will be dealt a blow from which it will not recover for generations (if ever).

Yet it could not have come at a worse time for Catholic Answers. That’s why we urgently need your help today. [Click here to donate]

Whatever amount you can afford, you have my sincere thanks.

The hour is late. May I hear from you today?


Karl Keating
President, Catholic Answers
P.S. We must fight the battle for marriage on other fronts as well. That’s why, as a thank you for your gift of $50 or more, I’d like to send you these two new books that will help you defend true marriage in your own circles and provide powerful answers that crush the arguments made by advocates of homosexual “marriage.”
  • Getting the Marriage Conversation Right: A Guide for Effective Dialogue by renowned moral theologian William B. May
  • What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense by famous Catholic legal philosopher Robert P. George, and his co-authors Sherif Girgis and Ryan T. Anderson
These two items are our way of saying thanks for your support to this apostolate. Please accept them with our best wishes. [Click here to donate].
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  • As early as 2010, then-California attorney general Jerry Brown refused to defend Prop 8 in court.
  • As early as 2010, then-California attorney general Jerry Brown refused to defend Prop 8 in court.
  • As early as 2010, then-California attorney general Jerry Brown refused to defend Prop 8 in court.
  • As early as 2010, then-California attorney general Jerry Brown refused to defend Prop 8 in court.


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