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Dave’s Rants

Four Words

by on Oct.28, 2014, under Dave's Rants

It’s happened half a dozen times . . . at parties, office discussions, checkout lines. I, or someone who knows me, will mention that I hike up mountains early in the morning for a run (Dawn Patrol). And then I hear the four words. I always hear the four words.

“Is it worth it?” Or, from the funny guys, “Don’t they have lifts for that?”

It is just a simple four word question. But it is never a four word answer. How much time do I have? Do I really want to have this conversation? I mean, don’t get me wrong: I love to talk about Dawn Patrol. But, in a reward based society, people rarely understand.

I usually start out with the short response: “No”. Maybe I even follow it up with, “A two minute run is rarely worth a 90 minute hike”. But, that only causes more confusion: If it isn’t worth it, then why do I do it? Now I have to move to a longer answer.

“I would much rather climb a mountain, then spend 90 minutes on a treadmill. Plus, I get a free run afterward.”

That usually ends things. People even say, “Wow, that’s a good point, I should do that” But, it is still not the truth. It is worth it. It is VERY worth it. But, it is worth it in an almost indescribable way.

Picture this:

You drive up the mountain. The air is cold — sometimes VERY cold. You gauge the chill, and layer up. Sometimes your hands go numb at the car, while getting your gear ready. You pack your bags like an experienced Sherpa: Storage for holding ascent gear (skins, light gloves, hat, water, etc). Gear for the descent (Goggles, helmet, thick gloves). You make sure your headlamp is working, don your ski coat, put your boots on, and stomp your feet. You get your skis or split-board ready, and you hike across the parking lot to the base of the hill.

Finally, you click or strap in and start hiking. A single beam from your headlamp illuminates the white snow. If the moon is out, you can see the silhouette of the mountain. If not, you may be able to see the contrast of nearby trees and rocks, or you may just see your headlamp, bobbing along the path. Your mind relaxes, as your skins slap into the snow, and slide along, creating a rhythm with your heart beat and breathing. The hill is steep, but there are spots to rest. You do rest, particularly when it is steep and you feel like you are going to collapse. Most days, you are not cold — you may even ditch ditch your gloves, as the heat generated by climbing warms you up.

As the monotony of the climb drones on, the stress of life starts to melt away. You focus on your priorities, the trees, solutions to problems, the powder, your heartbeat, the trail ahead.

Then the magic begins.

From the darkness, shadows start to appear. Trees become defined. The black turns to gray, gray turns to light gray or white. You can see the mountain, the rocks, the trees and the snow. You even start to detect shapes and depth in what was once a blanket of white. The stars fade, and the sky becomes gray. You chuckle softly to yourself as your mind makes a “50 Shades of Gray” reference.

Later, color starts to appear. The sky turns from gray to pale blue. The trees start to show hints of dark green, and the white of the snow now starts to illuminate the mountain. You can clearly make out the shape of the mountain in front of you. You turn off your headlamp, since you can see now. (Or turn it to red, so people can see you). And, you continue upward.

Personally, I’m lucky. My climb is slightly west facing. The sun rises behind me, and, occasionally, it will light up the peak in front of me. It looks like the Holy Grail, depicted in a gold mosaic in old churches. The reflection is both blinding and beckoning. I sometimes stop, turn around, and think about how lucky I am. A mountain close enough to hike up before work.

You continue up the hill, as the colors appear. You hear snowmobiles in the distance as the resort workers start to check out the mountain. You finish your climb, but there is no fanfare. There is no excitement. This was not a touchdown. The beauty was in the climb, not in the destination. While you have arrived, now it is time for more tedium.

You strip off your wet gear: gloves, hat. Those are replaced by dry gloves, helmet and goggles. You remove your skins with fingers quickly going numb, fold them, and put them in your pack. You look around at what you climbed, surveying the height, and the views down the mountain. You put your skis into downhill mode, or put your split-board together for the descent, and you head back down.

Generally, the ride down is quick and uneventful. I have started skiing instead of split-boarding. I’m a pretty crappy skier, and this gives me practice. I generally get back down in two minutes on a snowboard, or 10-15 on skis.

Two or three times, in the last couple of years, I have had an epic powder run on the downhill. (I climb up a resort, since I go alone, and I’d like to be found if I get injured. So, I come down the areas where they are not doing avalanche control. Generally dark greens or blues) On those epic powder days, the run may have been worth a 90 minute hike, even to the people who like to ask that four word question. But, those days are rare.

So, to answer the question, in the most accurate way possible: Is it worth it? For the run: no. For the climb: always . . . let me explain . . .

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Days in the Green

by on Jul.10, 2014, under Dave's Rants, Workout Logs

I thought I’d create this post to tell on myself. Since I decided to Go Green, I thought I’d call myself out when I fail . . .

How long have I been good?

Dave has been green for 1254 days!

Failure Log

  • 2014-JUL-7 – Had to leave early to take kids to Swim Meet
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Going Green

by on Jun.10, 2014, under Dave's Rants

I’ve decided to start bicycling to work every day, instead of just two days a week. So, today, for the first time, I biked to the gym, worked out, and headed into the office. It was much easier than I thought it would be.

Ride

I did drag ass a bit on my squats, and didn’t finish out my BBB, but, the heavy part was easy. Fitocracy Workout

All in all, I think I can do this, and kiss my car goodbye this summer. Hopefully this will help to remove my beer gut . . . . I’ll try anything, besides not drinking beer 🙂

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Heading to Cancun

by on May.13, 2014, under Dave's Rants

I thought we could all use a little reminder of our upcoming festivities!

Heading to Atlanta:

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And, heading to Cancun!

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Protected: List Time

by on Mar.17, 2014, under Dave's Rants

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Travelling Impressions

by on Mar.12, 2014, under Dave's Rants

About a year ago, I was traveling from Salt Lake City to Atlanta. Tammy and the kids had already been there for a week or two, and I was heading to meet them for a vacation. I decided to start my vacation at the airport, and visited the bar. And then ordered a drink on the plane too. I was also traveling very comfortably, in Birkenstocks and a tie dye.

So, there I was, probably reeking of whiskey, sandals off, leaning back, and I started to notice a couple of people next to me talking about a new book on trading stocks. One was going on and on about what a great system it was, and that he was so happy he had bought the book, and so on. Eventually, one of them glanced at me, gave a little smirk, and asked about my “positions” in the market. Then he rephrased, and asked if I had read the book. While I didn’t see him wink at his friend, I knew it was implied, “Watch me confuse this hippy”. Well, he did get my attention.

I glanced from him, to the book, and then back to him, and I said, “Well, it is not too often that altruism and capitalism intersect”. He gave me a stunned look. I could see the gears turning, “Need more time, too many big words”, they screamed. He finally muttered, “What?”, and I repeated myself. This time, he had clearly understood every word, but couldn’t make out the point, so he asked, “What do you mean?” I smiled, glanced at his book, and explained .. .

“I can only assume that the author of that book is a capitalist. He claims to have a system for making a lot of money “Working” the market. Yet, he has decided to share this with the world. Why? Is he also altruistic? Does he just want to better the world? Did you get the book for free?”

The stunned book owner uttered “no” before he could stop himself.

“So, he’s not altruistic — then, why is he selling the book? If he is just a simple capitalist, then he would want to keep his secret to himself, in case his method were blocked once exposed. I think it is more likely that he makes more money on the book sale than on the stock market. And, if that is the case, why would anyone take his advice?”

I think I heard him mutter, “Oh” as I leaned back in my chair, and started playing Sudoku on my phone.

Don’t fuck with hippies.

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Vehicular Musings

by on Feb.19, 2014, under Dave's Must Haves, Dave's Rants

After my car accident, I got to drive a prius for a couple of weeks. And, at the gas pump, I was really annoyed . . . in my Jeep Grand Cherokee, it costs me > $80 to fill the 23 gallon tank. That gets me somewhere around 322 miles of range at 14MPG. The Prius had an 8 gallon tank. It cost me about $20 to fill, and I got over 400 miles of range (450, iirc)

I have thought about electrics and hybrids in the past, and I really want one. However, I have other needs too:

  • I have to have all wheel drive or 4 wheel drive to get up the mountain.
  • I have to be able to pull a 4000lb trailer.

And, if I’m going to bother with an electric, my goal would be to use zero gas to get to and from work — but, it needs to have range, and, at a minimum, a gas backup plan.

So, I have a vehicle worth about $30k, and I need to buy two vehicles, since the above criteria does not exist in one vehicle.

Looking at available used hybrids / electrics, I think the are the way to go. They have a plug in option, and can go 11 miles on electric alone — my commute is 4.1 miles.

Cost of a used one: ~ $25k

And, then there’s the truck. . . I can’t afford a $70k nice one, so, just something that’s 4×4 and can tow something decent is about the same $15k. So, the question becomes: is it worth $10k to save the planet?

Now, the hard part — the truck.

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First Ski Day: Hike up Snowbird! 2013-11-21

by on Nov.21, 2013, under 2013-2014, Dave's Rants, Workout Logs

Had a great hike up Snowbird this AM. Got to try out my new (used) Oakley jacket, chest mount on my go pro, and my new helmet . . . all toys worked flawlessly!

My cardio is crap — here’s the garmin info:

garmin

And, finally, here’s the video. Enjoy!

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Math is Fun!

by on Nov.18, 2013, under Dave's Rants

Recently, this viral video has been spreading around the internet, showing how to heat a room for $0.15 a day. But, is that really cheap?

So, time for some simple math. But, first, I have some questions that I’ll need to answer first, in order to do the math:

  1. What does the average room cost to heat?
    1. Cost to heat an average home per year: $1,400 (I found a reference, but lost it — you can google)
    2. Size of average home: 2392 sqft Census
    3. Size of average room: 64-144 sqft Google’ed it

So, how much per day to heat an average room?

Cost per year to heat a room is:

So, how much per day?

So, using candles is about the average people would spend, by turning on the heater. Not quite as impressive as it sounds. Plus the added fire hazard . . etc. And, I picked high heating bills . .

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Amy’s New Toy

by on Sep.11, 2013, under Dave's Rants

I found a Telecaster for Amy on KSL yesterday, and went and grabbed it. All I knew was that it was a 1999 Mexican Telecaster, in really good condition for $350. And, they were throwing in a “Slightly bigger than a practice amp” Marshall.

The Tele was in perfect condition. One small mar on the body, that the owner claimed was on it when he bought it new from MusiciansFriend. Given the lack of belt blemishes, I believe him! Knobs work perfectly, has a great setup, and a smooth clean tone. It feels and sounds every bit as nice as my American Standard Stratocaster. I guestimate it’s new value at $500, and used at $300-$350, so, price was dead on.

Tele 1

Then I looked at the amp. Seemed ok, and plenty loud for Amy. Plus, it had CD in, and I’ve been trying to get her to play more with music. Had an “ok” clean tone . . didn’t mess with the dirty till I got home. One of the chorus knobs doesn’t work, and there’s a mar on the body, but, other than that, it seems fine. It’s a Marshall G215RCD, a 15 Watt x 2 amp. The double amps let it produce a nice stereo chorus. I googled the value a bit, and it seems to be about a $200 amp. But, it’s a very rare model. Personally, using the Tele, I didn’t like the dirty channels. Not warm enough, and not enough overdrive for a Tele. But, I haven’t tried pushing it yet with a humbucker — or overdriving the power amp — I’ve only heard it quietly.

Tele 2

And, if that and a soft case wasn’t enough, the guy tossed in a Zoom 505 right at the end. He thought it might work with a power cord (I don’t think he knew it took batteries, too :)). While that was only worth $30, it’s awesome that Amy now has her own little digital effects pedal.

So, to summarize, Amy now has:

  • Mexican Telecaster ($300-$350)
  • Gig bag
  • Marshall Amp that does not suck ($200)
  • Digital effects pedal ($30)

I can’t wait to see what she does with it!

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