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2005/01/31 Kirkwood, I missed you
π 2005-01-31 09:08 by Merlin in Snow

Current Music: AVB - ASOT 159
Current Mood: Good

I really wasn't supposed to go to Kirkwood this weekend, mostly because it wasn't supposed to get much snow, and because I was supposed to take another weekend off to "rest" my sprained rib.
Then, I glanced at the weather reports, ended up seeing two feet of fresh snow, and I just couldn't pass that up. Getting there was more of a problem since it was last minute, and a lot of my tahoe buddies were sick. Eventually, I ended up going with Bob, which unfortunately did mean getting up at 04:50, and only getting there at 11:00 because he had to stop on the way, but eh, it beat not going there at all, or by myself.
Unfortunately, I started feeling like crap in the car, not just tired, but more some kind of sickness. Trying to sleep didn't really help a whole lot, but I think the airborne (vitamins + other stuff) I took, plus another vitamin mix later actually helped, and I miraculously started getting better throughout the day, even if my first runs down were a bit iffy as I could not trust my body and muscles that much.
Most of the powder was kind of gone, both because we got there late, and because well, the real day to be there was friday (and I knew that, I really should have skipped work :) , but still, the conditions were quite good, and I still found a some powder in my secret, maybe slightly out of bounds, spots :)
As for my right rib, well, it probably didn't get better, but it didn't get worse either, thanks to the killer anti-inflamatories (yeah!)

I guess next time is probably not going to be before two weeks from now since I really have to write my conference proceedings for linux.conf.au (due this week I think).

Anyway, pictures are here





2005/01/23 Calveras Drive
π 2005-01-23 16:17 by Merlin in Cars

Well, it was nice outside after noon-ish, so I just had to get out.
By 13:00, I headed out for a drive to Calaveras, and it was mostly empty, which
made for a nice drive.
I'm still learning how the car handles with DSC (dynamic stability control) and deciding whether I ever want to drive it without. DSC is sometimes a bit too aggressive for my taste, but I also know that it can save my butt in ways that the controls I have wouldn't even allow me...

Anyway, it's definitely interesting to drive all that weight around, very very different from the miata obviously. On one side, the car is very predictable, it handles quite well, brakes very well, but on the other side, I can't push it nearly as much in the corners, both due to DSC and the weight...

Either way, I had a good time:





The rest of the pictures is here

Oh, I had a friend asking about the top speed for each gear, so I got some numbers:
1st: 40 mph
2nd: 65 mph (miata: 62mph)
3rd: 105 mph (miata: 85mph)
4th: 140 mph (miata: 115mph)
5th: ? :) (miata: 140mph)
6th: >190mph (one reaches the aerodynamical limits of the car first)
2005/01/22 Company Ski Trip
π 2005-01-22 16:24 by Merlin in Snow

Current Music: Battlestar Galactica - 1x06 Litmus (i.e. SciFi on TV)
Current Mood: Ok, I guess

This was my 3rd company ski trip at work, and indeed the biggest one so far (about 2,500 people). The logistics were pretty incredible. While I had to wake up at 04:45 on thursday, the first bus did leave at 05:30 from Mountain View, and I was on the slopes at Squaw by 10-ish.
That was good news in theory, except that being a good lazy snowboarder, I thought it was better to take the Far East Express lift off the parking lot and board down to the gondola instead of walking across the parking lot to go there directly. I kind of knew that the terrain would be icy and dicy, double black equivalent, but it wasn't the first time I had done terrain like this, and I was ok with it. My mistake however was to kind of set aside the fact that I had also changed my board, my bindings and my stance, and that I was riding with those brand new combinations for the first time. But eh, just to make it interesting, I also took the straight way down the face of the mountain, to where I was going, instead of the longer path around. I'll blame lack of judgement on lack of sleep.
End result, I missed just one jump turn that I overshot due to the new stance I wasn't used to, fell, and rolled once or twice. No big deal at the time, and I went to enjoy the rest of the day.




Enjoyable it was, since I was the only person to show up on time for a ride with two celebrity snowboarders who were there for us. It was definitely an honor to ride with them, and I had extra pressure to keep up with them down the interesting terrain we used (not counting that one of them suggested that I adjust my stance to something less aggressive, which took me some way to re-learn on the way down).


Yeah, don't mind the silly hat, it was a google hat that they gave so that we could recognize one another on the slopes

The day was great, and I had a good time at the Squaw Creek resort chilling in the hot tub at the end of the day, waiting for the evening party.



The party itself was impressive: huge tents in the middle of the Squaw parking lot, with 5 different themes and music. While the beginning was fun, it kind of went downhill when they closed 4 of the tents and everyone ended up in the main one: not only was it a bit too crowded, but the band, which was playing 80s music (fairly well actually) was also playing way too freaking loud, making it nearly impossible to have a discussion with anyone I met there. That was a shame, really, and I ended up going back to my hotel around 23:30, and was in bed by midnight, instead of past 03:00 for the previous years.












My night wasn't stellar due to some pain in my right ribs, linked to my first fall on icy moguls in the morning, but I still made it to the slopes the next morning and had a decent time until 13:00 or so. By then, the pain became increasingly noticeable, until I had to bail, almost an hour early because I was unable to snowboard properly as a result. I still took the unchartered black diamond down instead of the long boring path filled with obstacles (I mean people), and while I made it down, I could tell that I was starting to push my luck and my much reduced abilities. In the end, when I got to the bottom, I walked 2mn to the red dog lift back to my hotel instead of taking KT-22 and some other mogully slope.



While I had a good time during the trip, but the time I got home by 20:30, the pain was bothering me more, and this morning I went to an E.R., where 2H and some X-Rays later, they at least confirmed that I didn't break anything, but that I most likely badly inflamated the connection between my lower right rib and cartilage (which explains why the pain got worse over time)
Recovery time: 2 to 6 weeks worst case, damn. I'm not in huge pain, although lots of movements do strain that area, and daily life will be fine, but sports are out of the question for now I suppose. Well, we'll see how it goes....
Either way, I have no right to complain, with the kind of ridding I do, this is really no big deal considering :)

Oh, and all the pictures are here
2005/01/17 Weekend at Kirkwood.... I mean Heavenly
π 2005-01-17 13:58 by Merlin in Snow

I ended up going to Heavenly this weekend, joining some coworkers who were already going.
While Heavenly was a complete absolute zoo, as I had feared (we weren't on the slopes before 11:30, even though we had left Mountain View around 06:15, and this included almost an hour line to get up to mid base through the gondola), it was still good to go there for a change, not only to spend some time with some coworkers, but also do something different for a change.

I never much liked Heavenly because of its flat spots, which aren't fun for snowboarders, its general lack of snow compared to Kirkwood (and also because the crowds usually ruin the snow they do get pretty quickly), and stuff like a ticket price of $68/day during an MLK weekend (sheesh!), but if you find the right spots, after a snowfall there is still some good boarding to be done, and especially, Heavenly wins for the breathtaking view (they have the best view of all of Lake Tahoe)


I was initially supposed to meet other friends at Kirkwood for sunday, but it was complicated, caused some trouble for people who would have been happy to help, but I didn't want to impose, and all in all, it was nicer to stay with the group I had gone up with.
All in all, it was a fun weekend, even though it was at Heavenly (ok, just teasing :)



Anyway, the pictures are here
2005/01/11 France Wrapup
π 2005-01-11 08:40 by Merlin in Family

Current Music: DJ Tiƫsto - Essential Mix - 2001-09-09
Current Mood: Awake

Since I got up around 03:00 this morning, I've had a little time to sort my stuff out: pictures, Email and so forth...
But let's not forget photos:


the food part was a success. I even sorted the chocolate this time :)
It's always fun to have to explain to the cashier why you just bought a 4th of the store's chocolate, and just got more than $300 worth :)

Apart from that, you can look at the few pictures I took in Paris


An afternoon in Paris with my US friends Jason and Sharon, also visiting


Les Chevaux Du Vent show I saw with my Mom


The Dance Sing show I saw with my Dad.

I also have some family pictures


And pictures with my family in Holland

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