Thursday, December 13, 2007

Geek Nerve

So at some point in the last year, I had taken a brave hop into the world of RC Helicopters. I got a "cheap" (its all relative) little electric RC helicopter (eFlite HoneyBee CPpro). Not having much space at home to play with it, I brought it into work (at my old job). Portions of our building where unfinished and had high ceiling (over 15 feet) in areas, so it was good for flying there. Several co-workers had taken interest in my flight attempts, so they'd often come and watch. One in particular was quite amusing in the beginning. He had this crazy giggle caused by every Geek Nerve in his psyche getting hit at once. I just found something that practically does the same thing to me. Its just cool. Some of you may have saw it, as it was a link of Digg. But this thing is great. Kudo's to the Geek Group for inventing and sharing this stuff.

And if you are curious as to how they do it, here's a great explanation.

I want to play!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Heavy Air?

So I figured that I would take some pictures from the open space park that is very close to where I live. The clouds where cooperating, as they often do around here. Interestingly enough though, the air wasn't.

If you look close at the picture above (you might have to click on it to see it in detail), the city of Denver is actually in that picture. That big gray line going across the screen isn't the horizon you are seeing, well I guess it is. I'm pretty sure the lack of clarity is caused by smog. On warmer days it looks better. I've noticed this view on other cold days like today too. Its like the mountains trap that stuff down there, and it has no where to go. Makes me glad I live about 1000' higher, thats fur sure. Though I may be in it too, just don't notice whats in my immediate area. Doing almost a 180 degree turn from where I'm standing yields the following image:

We can see here, another "foggy air mass" coming around the mountain I'm standing on and getting trapped by the mountain range to the west. This cloud seems much cleaner to me though, and I imagine its just moisture in the air from all the sublimating and melting snow ;) That's what I'll tell myself anyway.

So if you are wondering where exactly I live... here's a picture of my house...

Trust me it's in there. If you look bottom center of the image, you'll see a small street sign for a right hand curve... the house that my family and I occupy, is just after the sign.
And because I was bored and trying to make an attempt at being creative again, below is a picture of a snowy plant that I thought seemed kinda cool waving in the breeze. Sorry about the amateur hour photo composition... aka stupid shadow.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Pictures and Stuff

Hi folks, its been a productive week for us. Lots of boxes are being emptied (and then placed in the basement). Work is going well, and I'm really starting to feel welcome where I am at. My first week, and into the 2nd there were some events that really had me a bit concerned, but things are looking up. If you want to know details, catch me on IM sometime, and I'll share. Its not solid yet, but it sure looks like I'll be visiting Punta Arenas, Chili, taking a tour on both the Gould, and Palmer, with a brief layover at Palmer station, Antarctica next March. I'm looking forward to it. I really hope I can get a new camera before I leave though. What I'm getting from my 7 year old 1 MP point and shoot just isn't meeting my standards anymore.

I Finally got around to unboxing my road bike today too. Decided the weather was warm enough (50 degrees F) for a spin, so I took it out to see how lost I could get. Well, not really. I was looking for a way onto the famed Green belt around here. I think it may get me reasonably close to some other trails that will get me to work, should I decide to bike commute the 20 miles to my job when the weather warms a little. First and foremost, I have to give Kudos to the folks over at world cup ski and cycle. They did an absolutely awesome job packing my bike up. I was impressed. It took me longer to remove all the protective wrappings they put on the bike than it did to re-assemble the darn thing. Aside from needing a bath (next rainy day activity), the bike is running just like it did before it was packed up.

As far as the ride goes, what stats I did get from it, definitely shows a slower pace here. I wasn't pushing myself too hard though, but I'd say I can certainly notice the altitude here. Flats not so much, its when I get to climbing... Oh well. I always enjoyed climbing, and I can't say I feel like I'm geared too high, even with being out of shape and 5500 feet higher than elevation. I'm looking forward to finding some nice long rides. There certainly are plenty of opportunities around here. Tons of bike clubs, etc. I'm not sure I'll race again or not. Depends on the group of people I hook up with. So Motion Based stats of my first Colorado bike ride are here.

Okay, so now on with the pictures I've been talking about. Disclaimer. I'm blaming the poor quality on the cheap old camera, and also the idiot behind the camera not knowing how to compose shots very well thus, shadows in annoying places, and inconveniently positioned lens flairs. Anyhow, these are some pictures from one of the hikes we took through Rockey Mountain National Park I mentioned 2 posts ago.

This (above) is a picture looking downhill on the edge of a small ravine. Apparently the trail we are walking up has changed its look in the last 15 or less years. I don't quite remember the signs we read. But a lake higher in elevation apparently flooded out several years ago and carved this new ravine. Off in the distance of that picture you can see all the dirt and debris that formed a little delta of sorts. It was called the "Alluvial fan." Better pictures (or course) and more of the story here.

Another angle on the ravine probably from a different location.

This picture should've been better. I swear those shadows weren't there when I took the picture ;) Again, this is the fall river... I liked the snow capped mountain in the distance. This shot has potential (I think anyway).

Sorry about the poor contrast here, the shot seems a bit washed out, and there is a lens flare artifact in it too. I suspect its so washed out because of the sun that is just off the image... You can see the alluvial fan in the valley too.

Here's Geoffrey, being his 4 year old self, climbing on rocks, being hyperactive and worrying the heck (at times) out of his daddy. :) Stop running with that stick son!

Here's my wonderful wife, putting up with me, dragging them all out to Colorado and into crazy high altitude parks.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Suburban Wildlife?

So we've been here for about a week now, and I have to say I'm kind of impressed with the wildlife I've seen or heard around here. Our first day here, we had a fox run around in our backyard. We also found what looks to be fox scat in the yard too. Talking to our neighbors we found out that this house been vacant for about 2 years, so I suspect the fox might have been hanging out here. The fox had made visual contact with Jess that day, so it knows we're here. We haven't seen it since.

2 nights ago while going to sleep, we had some kind of bird hanging out near our house somewhere, making very loud calling noises. Perhaps an owl of some sort. We could't find it visually, so we were unable to make an ID on it.

Last night we had a pack of coyotes howl up a storm for a few minutes. It was almost intimidating. I can't say I've heard them before while sleeping in my own bed. I've heard them a few times before while backpacking in the high peaks region of the Adirondacks in New York state, but thats it. I suspect the pack lives over in the Green Mountain open space park, which we are less than 1/10 of a mile from. My wife likes to read through criags list on occasion, and in the pet section she's found warnings of coyotes attacking cats that people let go outdoors in this area. Needless to say, my cat's won't be going outdoors, not that they ever have.

On the not so suburban side of things, we've also seen Elk while visiting Rocky Mountain national park, and Estes Park, CO. Locally, we seen Mule Deer, and prairie dogs. On my way to skiing, I've seen bighorn sheep along side the road too. They are a little to close to the road for my comfort if you ask me. While skiing I saw some sort of weasel as well. It was white with a little black tip on its tail. Given the description, I suspect it was a long-tailed weasel. I was in the ski lift, probably about 40 feet off the ground, and I didn't have my glasses on. I suspect I would have been barely able to see the short-tailed weasel.

I've seen various new types of birds out here as well. I think my favorite being the Stellers Jay. Others include Magpies, and other small birds my wife is better at ID'ing and remembering than myself. Perhaps someday I'll be able to capture some photos and share. I'm slated to get deployed to Antarctica next March, so I'm saving my pennies for a decent digital SLR camera and lenses. Until then, I'll be using my really old (1 megapixel) Point and Shoot. I haven't unpacked anything to read the memory card yet, so the pictures I do have will be delayed until I can find it in the myriad of boxes around the house.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

There's no place like home

So the new job is going well. I'm getting up to speed with things, albeit slowly, and have been able to make contributions back to the team and be slightly productive, so thats good. On the flip side of things, We've found a house to rent for at least year. It will probably end up being more like 2 years though, as we try and save for a down payment for some other place, etc. It kind of annoys me to be renting again, but given what we've learned, financially, in the last few years, its the best choice. The house is nice, and IMHO in a great location for our interests and needs. The work commute will be a little longer than I would have hoped, but thats okay. It's nice to have a place to call home. As of today though, we are still in a hotel since none of our property has arrived. In fact, I don't even know when its going to arrive, exactly. The moving company hasn't given us a hard date yet. Before Thanksgiving would be wonderful though. Restaurant food is getting old. As much as I love eating out and trying new things, its very difficult to take a 4 year old out every night who only ever wants macaroni and cheese, or hot dogs.

On another note, we visited Rocky Mountain National Park and the Garden of the Gods last weekend. Once again, I was reminded of why I love it out here so much. The Creation is so beautiful. Made me wish I had a decent camera though. I can't deside whether to get a really nice point and shoot, like the Canon Powershot G9, and be done with it, or get a decent, but not overkill for a photo newb like me, Digital SLR . If I did that, I'd still want a lower end point and shoot for times when its not so convenient to pull out the SLR. If you have any recommendations, I'm open to them.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Adventure has begun.

Well, its the end of the first week since I've left the state of PA. I can't say it not been what I've expected. In fact, its been very much what I've expected so far. Not sure if thats totally good or not. I guess it's not bad though. We took 3 days to drive from PA to CO. The first day was okay. I put the wrong address in my GPS so I managed to get us into the wrong side of town in Columbus, OH. Fortunately, the hotel we were staying at was a "Point of Interest" in the GPS in my car, so we were able to quickly figure out where we needed to be.

From Columbus, we went on to Kansas City, KS. For some reason, I remember the Mississippi River being bigger. Maybe I crossed it at a more southern point last time. Who know. Also an uneventful drive. Up to this point its been pretty rolling terrain. I can't say that the Prius does all too well MPG wise cruising down the highway around 75 mph to stay with traffic, especially with a headwind. I averaged in the low 40's. Also not surprising.

From Kansas City, we pushed onto Denver the next day. I was surprised how long it took for Kansas to turn into the flat open fields that I remember from Sunrayce97. The moment I saw Pikes Peak appear out of the haze that was in the atmosphere that evening was I sight I was very glad to see.

The next day (Saturday) we visited several houses to rent. We think we've found something and have applied for it. Hopefully everything will work out. Its a little further from my job than I would really like, but my wife likes it, and thats more important than a few extra minutes of commute each day. I'll post pictures if/when we move in. Great views, mature landscaping, near mtn. biking trail, etc.

For those of you wondering about the new job. Well, the first day was full of orientation, and lots of introductions, and just getting to know how things work, filling out paper work for access, etc. Today I think I spent more of my day in meetings than anything else. I figured that would happen moving into a larger sized company like this, so again... nothing unexpected. I don't have enough exposure to everything yet to formulate any opinions on things, but all of my direct colleagues are smart and hard working.

I think thats all for now. Just wanted to give everyone an update.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Goodbye Cruel East coast

Well, I suppose its not all that bad. I'm gonna miss where I live now. It has a certain appeal that will always make it nice to come back to. I think if I ever do come back, it most definitely will not be the same. There's to much urban sprawl going on around here.

So for any of you folks who might actually read this to find out what I've been up to, I've accepted a new job Headquartered in Denver, CO, where I'll be working a majority of the time. I'll get the chance to travel to other various countries and continents for 4-6 weeks a year as well.

In retrospect, its been a good summer here. I've raced my bike in several races, was ranked 2nd in PA for Cat 5 Crits for a while, and overall had a ton of fun doing it. My work schedule caused my fitness to slack towards the end of the summer, and I didn't do so hot in the last races. I think my first race I did this summer, I was in peak condition, and it only got worse. Oh well.

I'd also say its been a good last 7 years, since I've graduated college. I found a good job that taught me a lot, and had some really awesome people to work with. I most certainly wouldn't be where I am today professionally, if it weren't for the people I've worked with and learned from. I just feel its time to move on to something different. The fact that I get to that in Denver is certainly a bonus. I told myself I'd at least retire in the front range some somewhere.

Probably the hardest thing about leaving though is giving up my Fire Dept. activity. I'm going to miss that. Long term, I hope to move to an area that at least has a combination Volly/Career dept. I'd also like to join the ski patrol at some point, but I've gotta get a lot better at skiing to pass their tests.

Oh well. I'll try and update this thing more, with my moving experience, and such as things get on. Here's to jumping into a new adventure! Cheers.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

official results

I believe I said I would post the official results from my race last sunday, so here they are.

I also uploaded the data from my bike computer too. You can see that here.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Well Satisfied

Well, its one month and one race later. I raced yesterday, Sunday in the 2007 Cargas Criterium. I'd link to the site, detailing the race but there really isn't much to be seen there. It was held in Lancster, PA at the Greenfield Corporate Center. I was in the Cat 4/5 Race. I was initially VERY nervous about this race, being that it was my first major race of the year, really. I was also racing with Cat 4 folks, whom I was pretty sure would be able to put me into a world of hurt early on in the race. We had 5 folks from my team racing in this race, 2 of which had raced in earlier races. My goal was to just stick with 2 of my teammates who have done extensive racing this year already. I figured they certainly knew what they were doing, and by their results, they certainly did. Two of our guys got pulled out early in the race due to being near the rear. There was a decent climb (for a 1 mile Crit course) that I think hurt them pretty good. So it was just my 2 teammates and I. The other 2 guys also happen to be the ones that raced earlier in the day. The race was good, and I hung in there with them. Only scary thing was the wreck that happened next to me. When the went down, they kinda slid in front of me, and I ended up running over some guys bike. I was glad I stayed up. The only frustrating part was the constant breaking before 2 of the turns. The course was really only 2 90 degree turns and on sweeping downhill to round it out. So anyway, last lap comes around and I manage to roll in 12th out of 45+ riders. I'm very happy with that. My teammates placed 6 and 7. Money spots! Brilliant riding by both. I have the utmost respect for them. When results are posted online, I'll post a link.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bring out your dead!

Sorry about such a long time since the last post. I have no excuses, and I won't try to make any up. I just haven't had the desire to post anything.

So to go along with some previous posts. I had my first bike race of the year this past Sunday, May 20th. It was the South Mountain Mass Start Hill Climb, which was near Shippensburg, PA. You can see my results here. Not a great time. I was hoping to be sub 30 minutes. Oh well. They run this race once a month, so I have a goal to work towards I guess. I was 4th in my Category, out of 12 people, so I'm happy with that. I thought I would be a lot worse. I can say I didn't have anything left at the top of the mountain though, and gave it 100% of what I had, so I can't be upset about that. Not sure what I'll be racing next, but I look forward to it. My work schedule has been chewing into a lot of personal time that I would normally have to ride, which doesn't make me very happy, but I race to have fun, not to make a career out of it, so I can't complain. I just doubt I'll be able to get all the races I need this year to be eligible for reimbursement from the team.