Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Thirty five year running!

Today, I completed my 35th year of running 5 days a week; this already represents some 29,097 miles (46,788 km)! It all began in New York, in July 1977.

While I remember that I began out of concern that I was going to get fat without exercising, I also remember having discussed the merits of running with Tom Leroy, during a sales meeting in Aspen, earlier that year.

He had then suggested I pick a copy of “Aerobics” by Kenneth Cooper, which I purchased and subsequently read. My first running course was about 3 mile long and meandered between Scarsdale and White Plains where we rented a small apartment.

This morning, as I completed another daily run in the company of my wife, I can certify that all my joints and muscles were in perfect order and still looking forward to running for many, many more miles!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Getting traction in mountain biking

There are two ways of getting familiarized with mountain biking: The gentle one, which consists of taking asphalt bike-paths and initially staying on flat terrain, and what I would call the “full-immersion” program that takes rank-beginners into the heart of the matter, the mountain and its crazy trails.

The first one is good, but can quickly become boring and let's face it, isn't much different from riding a road bike, albeit a much heavier and clunkier one. After purchasing a nice mountain bike, some folks do this at first, but don't stay with it for long; they get bored and don't see the excitement.

Another way is to get directly into the world of mountain biking, either through the avenue of lift-assisted, downhill biking or ease into the single-track cross-country side of the activity (the thing we do.) The age of the participant also plays a crucial role. Teenagers and young adults can ease into mountain biking by learning with buddies and thanks to a combination of grit, good balance, athletic abilities, pride and lots of practice, can learn the rudiment of the sport and improve remarkably fast.

For adults, and particularly those over forty, it's a different matter as time isn't as easily available, falling always hurts, is never a good option and mountain biking it's not the kind of sport that can be easily practiced by the entire family. So most folks get into mountain biking either by accident, special circumstances or just because they want to try something new.

In this group, the best would be to start by taking lessons as there definitely is a technique to be learned and this can save a lot of grief to the newcomer. Also, it's always a smart idea to err on the side of caution when choosing a new trail and practice as often as possible, in my opinion, no less than 20 to 30 times a season.

What got us so much enthused about the sport has been the fact that we could access the trails directly from home, we were retired and had all the time in the world to do it, and since we don't play golf, the only summer alternative for us would have been hiking, but is more time consuming. The morale of a successful foray into mountain biking as an adult is to take lessons, stick to it and do it as often as possible. Enjoy your ride!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Our long and winding trail into mountain biking

Our first experience with mountain biking can be traced more than a quarter of century ago, when we moved from New York to Park City, Utah. The early 80s was the beginning of the sport and we bought two Scott mountain bikes, with fat tires, 24 speed and zero suspension. We used them on the asphalt a few times and I may have tried mine on a real trail and found that it was too much work. From that moment on, the bikes stayed in our garage.

Fast-forward to 1990, our move to a new home and the advent of some form of front suspension; we got rid of the first bikes and purchased two Kästle mountain bikes with a semblance of front suspension. Same scenario. We used them a couple of times, I even flipped over the handlebar in the area where the St. Regis hotel stands today, and through divine intervention didn't kill myself then.

After that, the bike remained hung-up, high in our big garage. We subsequently sold the house, including the unused bicycles. Finally, in 2005, I relapsed and purchased two state of the art mountain bikes (front and rear suspension, disk brakes, the work...) My wife gave me the kind of look that said something like “you'll never learn...” The first Fall season we got our new bikes, we began to use them on the easy stuff, like the rail-trail and made a few timid forays into single-track territory.

We were clumsy but we seemed to like it (failure didn't seem to be a valid option...) The following summer season, I am now retired and we have much more time available. We become more attracted by the world of single-track and – unbeknownst to us – began to pick up more technique and start enjoying it more. Each subsequent season, we added more days, more challenges, more skills and much more fun.

Make no mistake, this is a hard sport and I bet that there are a multitude of mountain bikes out-there that, like our first two sets of bikes are hanging indefinitely in some garage, even though they were purchased with the very best of intentions! In some next blog, I'll try to explain why getting “traction” in mountain biking is so hard; stay tuned...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Overblown Olympics

I didn't watch the Olympics opening ceremony last night and don't plan to watch much of the two-week events. Reason: I've got Olympics fatigue and I'm less and less impressed with more and more “stuff.”

I've never been a huge fan of the Summer version of the event, except for the marathon and a few other foot races. I'm convinced that the Olympics have become overblown. Too costly, too pretentious, too pompous and too monetized.

Strange, I feel like I'm about to have an Olympindigestion. Excuse me, I must go to the bathroom!

Friday, July 27, 2012

The art of shutting up

Just like fine carpenters who measure twice and cut once, great leaders are generally able to think twice before they speak. This wasn't the case for Mitt Romney who couldn't control his delivery and evidently put his foot in his mouth when he saw himself basking in Olympic glory in London yesterday...
This goes a long way to showcase two undeniable flaws about the presidential candidate: The first one is that being rich doesn't makes you smart. The second is that thinking before speaking comes in handy on the campaign trail.

Enough said.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Is mountain biking mostly mental?

Most sports claim their share of mental influence. The best example that comes up is golf; I can buy that argument and as a skier, I have gone as far as saying that skiing too, was around 80 to 90% mental. Today, I'm asserting the same value to mountain biking.

Yesterday was my first foray in my last unexplored segment of the Park City Mid-Mountain trail that connects Canyons Resort to the village of Pinebrook. So with a thirst for adventure and great eagerness for discovery I saddled my bike to make that trek. As I explained on a recent blog, knowing a trail well is essential for mountain biking fun, so when one ventures into unknown territory, there's a lot of apprehension going on.

When conditions are tough, when more concentration is required than usual, the brain and the rest of the body tires really fast and soon good judgment can be severely curtailed. For instance, I once got lost, making the wrong turn up into the mountain (I wanted to save my momentum, so I didn't stop to read the trail sign), at some other time, I was just scared for no good reasons by the huge drop below me. I missed also a bunch of tricky but not technically impossible hairpin turns; in other words, I was, at times, riding like a genuine begginer.

The end of the trail was no piece of cake either, as it ended up into private properties and with a map that wasn't that good, I had a hard time figuring where I should be going, resulting in more anxiety and more strain on my system. At the end of my ride, I was exhausted, even though I only covered less than 10 miles of single trail. This show how the mental side of the activity had drained all juice out of me!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Time for a break...

Like anything else, all things are good in moderation... This season, in addition to running much faster than ever before and still five days a week, we've also been walking more often after dinner under the pretense of digestion and to top it all we've never mountain biked so much.

So, it was no surprise to us when, a few days ago, we suddenly realized that we were exhausted. That's right, we're not in our twenty anymore and we need to save whatever energy is still capable to powering us. We promised ourselves that from now on, we'd be more careful with our batteries and take some time off.

Our problem however is that in trying to do so, we've discovered that we've become exercise junkies!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Theory vs. reality!

Last Sunday as I was trying to re-set one of my electronic weather station, I rushed onto our deck from our kitchen but totally forgot about the screen door. I kicked it out, damaging its two lower nylon rollers. Distraught by my stupid move, I began to do some research on how to fix the damage. I stumbled on that video by Prime Line, the after-market company that replaces these rollers.

Seduced by the smooth and apparently easy presentation, I went to Home Depot to get the parts I needed. My screen door is about 9 years old, so it had seen better days, is slightly bent in parts and no longer in its prime. To start with, I found the two old rollers that needed replacement extremely hard to extract. The most difficult portion of the job however was to replace the new rollers. It took me a good 30 minutes plus some immense grief to get the job done.

At one time a roller exploded and I had to put the hub back in place (I had to repeat that about 3 times). What helped me eventually was to pry open the spring loaded clip a tad more and I was able to have the bugger finally snap in place. Not an easy job for the faint at heart. Fortunately, I didn't have to kick the cat (we don't have one anymore) or say unpleasant things to my wife who was patiently holding the screen door (she would have kicked me if I had!)  All this to say that a smooth lesson in theory can stand miles apart from the grim facts of reality...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Riding solo...

There are many tangible stages in a child's physical development. The first steps, the first world and the first bicycle ride without training wheels; “look Ma, no wheels!” or something like this...

Yesterday was Finn's first flight on his own, using the big-boy, small-bike, that his parents just got him. On the final day of the Tour de France, Finn is now part of that large, two-wheeler community.

Good, safe and fun riding!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A hike to Jupiter Peak...

Since 1995, we've done that hike about 14 times. We typically leave the car at Empire Pass and walk up the ridge to Jupiter Peak. The trip is 4.27 mile r/t (6,87 km) with a vertical gain is 1,058 ft (322 m).

The last time we climbed up that way was in 2010. Jupiter Peak towers over Park City at 9,990 ft (3045 m), but the highest point is in fact farther away, behind the Jupiter Chair at 10,027 ft (3130 m).

In recent years, the last eight to be precise, our hiking has suffered a great deal from our mountain biking. We should do more of it!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Nosy neighbor

We happen to have an older, disabled lady neighbor who lives next to our house. Our home is in “A” and she is in “B.” She is 76 and she lives in the home she built in 1981 with her son, daughter-in- law and grand-daughter.  Our houses stand about 135 feet apart.

Earlier this week, my wife brought that family a salad from our veggie garden, so while both visited, the lady talked and said that she could follow our lives from when we woke up, had breakfast, lunch, dinner, worked in the garden, all the way until when I washed our mountain bikes and probably much, much more.

My wife was a bit shocked, but not totally surprised. She knew that lady had been spying on us for the 10 years we've lived in our current home as she spends her entire waking hours peering at us from her kitchen window, most probably with binoculars.

About eight years ago, we rebuilt the fence that had fallen in total disrepair around our house and asked that same lady if she wanted to participate financially; not surprisingly, she denied. Then, earlier this week, she had the audacity to suggest to my wife that it'd be a cool idea if we had a communicating door in that common fence.

Thanks God for the many trees that we have and that are buffering us a bit from that nosy neighbor!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Politics, guns and crazy folks

The three don't mix well at all. How many guns do a person need for protection? this would be a first good question; one per household seems plenty to me.

Another idea (as I read earlier on, as posted on the LA Times) would be to heavily tax gun and ammo, like $500 per round and 200% per gun. Yet another idea, would be to forbid the NRA to contribute money to politicians.

The latter is the best, but am I dreaming, unless of course we ask the families of the 12 Colorado victims...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

London: Den of thieves?

A lot of bad news have come lately from the City of London, which stands as the largest financial place in Europe and the fourth in the world in terms of market capitalization.

Remember the "Big Bang" that saw the sudden deregulation of the financial markets in the UK in 1986? It seems to me that deregulation has been taken so seriously there that any kind of shady trading has become fair game, from JP Morgan Chase latest trading losses to the current Libor rate manipulations by several British banks plus UBS, or HSBC's drug money laundering.

Wouldn't it be time now to tighten a few lose ends on that rogue financial market?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The freeloading habit...

Some people are “born freeloaders.” With them, the activity comes naturally and over time, they generally honed that skill to a degree close to perfection; this becomes their “M.O.”

I personally am not a freeloader and couldn't, even if my life depended on it. Having lived in a desirable place like Park City, has brought us our share of freeloaders. At first, we got caught and eventually we became better at stemming the flow of people trying to stay with us for free and for undefined time horizons.

We still get caught from time to time though, but we're for sure making progress at deterring freeloaders. As a certain Rita Mae Brown once said: “Good judgment comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgment.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

(Re) making America the greatest country in the world...

With most Americans viewing Congress as totally ineffective (16% approving vs. 78% disapproving) it would be hard to imagine that most of its members up for reelection are likely to be re-voted this coming November.

Yet, as Albert Einstein once said, the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” So with that in mind, one would expect that we throw out all these incompetent politicians that are taking their regal paychecks and benefits and are also taking our country down the toilet.

If you're still not convinced, watch this video and if it makes you want to throw up, pass it along...

Monday, July 16, 2012

A new mountain bike trail

Remember June 2? It was National Trail Day and we volunteered to build a section of a new trail. A few days ago, I had noticed that “Ramble-On” had just been opened up and today, straddling our mountain bikes, we made our initial foray into that new single track path.

At first, it was a lot of work, as the extremely dry ground was quite sandy and didn't offer much traction. Eventually it go better, but still, some of the turns remained quite challenging.

Just like fine wines, mountain bike trails take time to mature and get very good. This one will be no exception; we'll do it again, but it needs some aging to show its true potential. We'll certainly return, but not tomorrow!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Learning something new every day!

This Saturday I went to shoot a video telling a story about a helicopter that was brought up to remove an old chairlift in Deer Valley. I knew a few things about choppers, but not much about the kind that came that morning. That one was used for hauling timber, moving lift towers around or fighting fires.

The aircraft in question was a 1998 K-1200 made by Kaman Aerospace Corporation, powered by a 1,500 hp Alliedsign T5317A-1 engine and owned by Timberline Helicopters, Inc. of Sandpoint, Idaho. This model, also called K-Max has not tail rotor but has two main intermeshing rotors. It's called a synchropter and that particularity gives it a very singular look.

The K-MAX offers two primary advantages over conventional helicopters. The first one is an increased efficiency compared to conventional rotor-lift technology; the other is the synchropter's natural tendency to hover. This increases stability, especially for precision work in placing suspended loads.

At the same time, the synchropter is more responsive to the pilot's control inputs, making it possible to easily and precisely swing a heavy load; in fact, it can lift more than it weighs - 6,000 lbs - and while it burns an average of 85 gallons of fuel per hour during lift operations like this one, it remains the most efficient lift-to-fuel ratio of any helicopter in its class. Its cargo hook capacity is rated at 6,000 lb/2722 kg (that's at sea level. At 10,000 feet it's just 5,163 lb/ 2347 kg and at 15,000 feet it's significantly less: 4,313 lb/ 1960 kg).

An impressive machine that I didn't know existed. Don't we learn something new everyday?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bastille Day Parade

This July 14 (Bastille Day) gave us the opportunity to parade through the streets of our quiet little neighborhood in Park City. Following July 4 which is an all-American Holiday, we couldn't miss the opportunity to celebrate what's for some of us another great national holiday.

I must confess that we weren't very many to commemorate the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille. I counted 5 French, 6 American, a Swiss and a “Savoyard.” Suffice to say that despite a limited number of participants the atmosphere of this event was most festive and international. Of course, parading to the rhythms of a virtual marching band always builds up an appetite.

So what could be more appropriate than to follow the march with some cool drinks followed by a nice dinner on the deck with friends and family, listening to the never-ending tunes of that imaginary marching band? The discussions were very animated and continued well into the evening. The dinner was delicious, the deserts exquisite and the liqueurs, as always, proved to be a great subject of conversation.

Now we'll have to wait over 11 months to repeat this remarkable performance!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sports marketing that works!

This is the time of year when I enjoy watching sport on TV. I'm talking about the Tour de France and the reason I enjoy it so much is simply because it showcases France in a wonderful, picturesque manner.

From the motorbikes to the chopper, the filming is exquisite and makes me want to fly to France and visit all the sights that are roll in front of our eyes for hours on end. I wish skiing would be as smart as cycling and use its wonderful, inspiring venues to sell them to the public and get masses interested into winter sports.

Yet, they don't do that and won't do it because a bunch of retards are running FIS (international ski federation) and still believe that showing a racer hitting a slalom gate says everything.

There is plenty of room though for showing the sporting event and at the same time showcasing the mountain resort hosting it. Will the ski industry ever learn?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The incompetent economist

The great American political debate is all about new jobs and everyone would love to see a leap forward in GDP, yet everyone, including the so-called “economists” have forgotten that Americans have been steadily deleveraging since the latest financial crisis.

Back in the mid-2000, the same economists were lamenting that Americans were not saving enough and now that they've been force to do it, our GDP growth isn't nearly as robust as everyone would like it to be. Yet, with consumption that account for 70% of that same GDP, what else can you expect?

If people save more it's got to hurt GDP numbers. Ending any kind of dependance isn't without any suffering; for years, we've added credit to religion as our Nationwide daily dose of “opium.” For every action, there's a reaction and there's no way around this arithmetic truth.

This said, I hear not one single economist acknowledge this basic reality. Talk about a bunch of incompetent intellectuals!

Slow lifts: Endangered specie?

Not so long ago, most ski lifts were slow. They provided us with a chance to catch up, regroup, think about our technique, rest our legs and even munch on a sandwich or a bar. They also gave us a chance to talk. Talk about anything: From views, to snow quality, to weather, good restaurants or cool equipment; the list could go on forever... In those days, even though chairlifts could be painfully slow, we got to the top without realizing we had spent fifteen solid minutes hanging up in the air.

We had to wait until 1981 to see the first ever, high speed detachable quad in the world, installed in the Rocky Mountains. Since then, that precious “chair-time” has been rapidly eroding; At the best American resorts, high-speed chairlift are becoming the norm. Next winter, what used to be the perfect illustration for today's subject, the Deer Crest chairlift, at Deer Valley Resort, will undergo a total metamorphosis and in the process, will shed its fixed grips, its slow, easy pace, for a brand new detachable design that will whisk skiers, in less than half the time taken previously, to the top of the Deer Crest Gondola. In the process, it will also get rechristened "Mountaineer Express."

Back in February of 2010, I wrote a blog about chairlift stories, set back in a time where most chairlifts hanged to a fixed grip, moved up much more slowly and were the perfect place for telling, trading or making stories, as long as the company was receptive and the weather wasn't extreme. Of course, things have changed a great deal with the spread of portable music players and the proliferation of smart phones. Now, a short life ride is all the time one needs for checking emails, “twiting” or responding to a Facebook post. What I'm trying to say is that today, chairlifts have become more an opportunity to catch up on-line than striking a long and profound conversation. From that viewpoint, the demise of the slower lift might accompany the end of endless chat aloft. So much for long conversations or even for a quick lunch up in the air.

Another big loser in the switch to faster ski-lifts might be our own, tired legs. I can think of many time when finally sitting down while riding up the mountain was a welcome relief! One might argue that nowadays skiers are much more fit and don't generally look for the “rest” provided by a slow moving seat.

I would add that with so many new spas available in and around Deer Valley, soothing options are today more easily available and have become so common-place that a tired pair of legs can soon be pampered and repaired into peak shape after a solid day of hard skiing. On the flip side, one aspect no one will miss with detachable chairlifts is the "bang" in the back of our calves that could be common place if we didn't pay attention or if we skied at places where lift attendants weren't holding the chair for us as they do at upscale ski resorts!

This creature-of-comfort consideration also brings up my last argument: Today, with much faster ski-lifts, the same amount of skiing that used to take an entire day, can be compressed into half that time thanks to these express chairlifts and there's now more time for enjoying all the extra resort activities that have sprouted in recent years. We all know that multitasking doesn't work too well, so why not ski more intensely for fewer hours on these state-of-the-art lifts and use up the extra time for a longer and much more civilized lunch break, some early après-ski, a shopping spree, a spa session or for discovering snowmobiling or a hike in snowshoes?

So, well before the last slow chairlift is slated for demolition, Deer Valley Resort recognizes that some chairlifts should, for the time being, remain in the slow lane if you need to share very long stories or if you want to relax your legs for more than just six or eight minutes. I'm not talking about the few beginner lifts that are found on Wide West or the short connecting chairlifts that are spread all over the mountain, but bigger lifts like Mayflower or Red Cloud. They both run in parallel with a much faster chairlift and will also get you to the top, giving you much more time to catch your breath, enjoy the vistas and smell the snowflakes!

Of course, if that story has made you really nostalgic about slow chairlifts and you can't wait until this winter to experience these slow, classic machines, now is the time to jump on any of Deer Valley's express chairlifts when they're running at low speed during the summer season to accommodate mountain bikers and pedestrians; that way you'll be able to fully enjoy the ride, marvel at the scenery and trade some really good stories, but don't delay, summer will soon be over!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The neighbor was right...

About twelve years ago, when we still lived in our large home, our next door neighbor was poking fun at our leisurely running pace, saying that we were almost faking it. That wasn't nice of him to say that when he was a bit overweight and his sole sport might have been lazy skiing and lazy golfing; yet, he probably was a keen observer and his comment was quite correct.

We could do better; in fact, we could do much better. In fact, for years, I had been resisting repeated attempts by my spouse to run faster under the pretense that our daily run was just for fun. That search for betterment began about a year ago when I start pushing myself while running alone as my wife just had knee operation.

This spring and early summer however, we decided to get serious about running faster and once or twice a week we're pushing ourselves and have been continually breaking our previous record. Should I admit that a couple years ago, we were sometime running 10 minutes slower than our fastest pace to date? Well, if this shows anything, it demonstrates that we can all do better, I mean, much, much better!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Olympic Legacy

I just heard on the radio today that Beijing's famous “Bird nest” stadium is becoming a white elephant for which no good use is being found and that the $400 million building cost the Chines $11 million in yearly maintenance.

This is just symptomatic of the IOC is losing control on the cost and character of its institution. In many ways, the organization has become too bloated and too crusty to be capable to re-invent itself and stay clean as it moves along.

 Monetizing everything it does it also one key reason behind its current greedy and controlling management style and – mark my words – upcoming demise...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Torn between two (other) loves...

Okay, before all, we're runners and we practice that sport all year round, rain, snow or shine, so there is no question that running is for us to stay in our lives until our joints fall apart or our muscles quit.

Today, I want to talk about our competing affections for two opposite seasonal activities: Alpine skiing and mountain biking in its cross-country form, that is, without the aid of any lift.

I'd probably start by saying that I'm biased towards skiing, because of all the sports that I practice, I've been doing it for the longest time, yet when I push on my pedals, I often realize that alpine skiing really is a lazy-man's job!

This said, while skiing remains my very first love, mountain biking is slowly but surely gaining ground over it and looming large, especially this season, that started so early and that – barring any accident or problem - is shaping up to be my best mountain biking experience in eight consecutive years!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Zen and the art of bike maintenance

Okay, I'm not talking about Robert M. Pirsig's famous book, I am just trying to bring up the subject of dealing with the simple, yet complicated machine that is a mountain bike.

Sure, I can do a few things, like repairing a flat tire or even repairing a broken chain, but when it comes to disk brakes and derailleur, I'm not that good. I should learn though...

 Today, I tried to tune up my wife's rear disk brake, but I couldn't get fully satisfied with my work so I had no choice but take the bicycle down to the shop to get the problem resolved by some more expert hands.

Will I ever be able to fully take care of my bikes? I don't know for sure, unless of course, I take a job as a bike mechanic to really learn how to handle the elusive art of bicycle maintenance...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

LEED leading to eyesores?

Sometime, I wonder if the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), that new way of designing and building high performance green buildings and homes, isn't leading to a proliferation of architectural monstrosities?

Up until recently, most of the new construction around Park City had evolved into a rather pleasant and ornate Rocky Mountains style that had its own traits and personality and compared extremely favorably to other mountain architecture found in the Alps and elsewhere.

For the past months however, some of the new houses being built look more like mini-factories than homes you'd want to live in. That's right, the so-called “contemporary style” is making a comeback, one that, like its predecessors, is unlikely to age well but is guaranteed to make a lasting bad impression in the neighborhood...

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tradition vs. Creativity

As I was talking to a friend, in France, yesterday, we were discussing America, its settlement and its people. Then she said: “I recently saw a TV show in which Americans admitted they were lacking roots and traditions.”

As an American, I kind of took exception to that remark and then, I realized that what makes America so creative and so forward-thinking is precisely the fact that our country and its people are not mired into tradition, in other words America isn't turned inward and into the past, but decidedly facing the future and never missing an opportunity to taking chances.

Aren't those the foundation of a creative existence? Being such a new and diverse country, America doesn't have to drag the burden of the past, filter traditions and of listen to the opinion of too many people. It can act upon what it faces without that extra baggage that never fails to slow others Nations. Traditions and creativity don't mix too well!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Trash stories

Summit County, where Park City is located, is implementing a new and expanded recycling curbside pickup program, beginning this week and their program is totally crazy. We used to have one brown 90 gallon container for our trash and one gray 65 gallon container for the recycling; both used to be picked up once a week.

Today, they're asking us to change things around by putting the recycling in the trash container and vice-versa. They even gave us stickers to place on the containers, but if you happen to place them on the right cart (a feat in itself) they don't adhere to the plastic. To complicate things even more, our recycling will only be picked-up once every two weeks.

So this morning when we went running we could see that two-third of the neighborhood got it wrong and couldn't follow the pretty confusing instructions they received. This is pretty much what my wife had predicted would happen. Only retirees like us, who have a lot of free time available and have an IQ well-above average could make sense of the new confusing rules.

I'd be curious to see how the person who thought up that ridiculous new policy looks like...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Would I emigrate today?

Last night we were discussing the topic of emigration and wondering if the thrill (?), sacrifices and work behind it might have truly been worth it. Of course, not an easy question with no easy answer. Was it in fact fate more than circumstances that dictated the move? 

Why in the world would I live one of the most beautiful region in the world? Would we recommend, let alone support the idea, if our own children wanted to repeat what we've once done? Not so sure... Is moving around part of the new human destiny as opposed to spending a quiet life in one's place of origin?

A rich, disturbing subject that I intend to develop in a near future. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Biker and (loose) dog

It happens all the time, or at least that's the way it feels these days... As we were barreling down “Rusty Shovel” on our bikes yesterday morning, I came in sight of an errand dog, followed 50 yards later by his thirsty-something master on a mountain bike.

I yelled “dog!” to my wife who was following me, and she barely avoided the animal. She told the guy she wasn't happy, he stopped, we told him about the leash law, he said he was quite responsible with his dog and that in turn, we should be ready to stop in any circumstances.

I replied again, "there's a leash law,” he said we should be aware of any moving thing on the trail and the young man's ranting went on for five minutes. He absolutely had to be right, and above all also needed to have the very last word in the exchange. In a nutshell, he tried to assert what he thought was his unalienable right to go out on his mountain bike and take his dog along (unleashed, of course.)

Finally, after enough back-and-forth and seemingly fruitless exchange, the guy admitted: “I know, I'm in violation of the leash law...” He had had the last word and also admitted he was wrong. Acceptable to all of us; we pursued our ride.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Backing up a small trailer

We just bought a new barbecue grill. Since that one was already assembled, I made the momentous decision to go fetch it, with my two-wheel trailer, at Home Depot. We obviously seldom use that little trailer, so it's always a big deal to get it out, hooked up to the car and the rest.

This time, my wife and I did a remarkable job in getting it hitched-up in record time. The only problem of course with trailers, at least for those of us who seldom use them, is baking them up into the driveway when we return home. As usual, I struggled, jackknifed the thing several times and finally gave up when it was half-way up the driveway. I knew of course that lightweight two-wheelers are a lot tougher to back-up than heavier and more rigids four-wheelers.

That's when I decided to do some research on the subject and where else to go than YouTube, of course! Well my search didn't yield the wonderful results I was hoping for, but I still got a great video with the most essentials tips: Start with your vehicle and its trailer lined up straight, pick a point of reference, only use your side mirrors and take your time.

That made a lot of sense to me but, in my view, missed three important points: Practice, practice, practice... Next time I get this little trailer out, I'll first go to one of the Deer Valley Resort parking lot to practice my skills in that domain!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Always relevant?

As I was talking with a friend yesterday, we touched on the subject of staying relevant. We have many friends that – at some point in their career – occupied some top spots in their industry. Today, however, because they were eventually laid off, took retirement or went off their intended trajectories, they seem to suffer from not being relevant anymore.

 This, of course, begs the question, can we remain forever relevant? I'm not so entirely sure and it depends for what... At some period of my career, I was relevant with certain ski equipment products like bindings or boots. Today, I'm much more relevant about landscaping with rocks and native plants, I'm also pretty much on top of recreational mountain biking...

Videos producing? I still may need a few more year at it. So, for me, relevancy changes, just as the color and density of my hair has drastically evolved over the years. I still feel very much relevant, but in totally new and different domains!