Ski Blog... Been doing this since 2005!

August 11, 2013

Summer 2013

It has been a long absence from the site but I think it is time I either shut the site down or I start blogging again. I am leaning toward the latter.

Just making preparations for this season. We sold out condo at Brian Head which opens me up for a lot more diverse season this year. I want to make at least a couple Wolf Creek trips as well as hit some of the Summit resorts.

Lots of other good things going. Work is great. Oldest son Jake is 16. Middle Jarrett is 12. Slowly working to turn the youngest into a skier and it is going pretty well.

Wish me luck in my preparations. It is time to start thinking about the upcoming season. Three months left.

Posted by Justin at 02:08 PM

December 30, 2011

Depressing Possible End to Second Straight Season

Explaining my absence from the blog the last year and a half, I offer more info about the sinus surgery gone bad last February. On December 19, I had a second surgery to repair the hole in my skull base that has been causing the headaches and the bouts of meningitis.

Doctors advise me to take the next three months off of any strenuous activity including skiing.

Brian Head is 100% open but with such a sparse amount of early season snow that I am very hesitant to ski without a solid deep base and some soft on top, if I do get out before the three month deadline.

I will post updated info about Brian Head and Wolf Creek as these will be the only places I will likely go this season.

Hope you have a great New Year!

Posted by Justin at 02:10 PM | Comments (1)

September 19, 2011

Life is Finally Stablizing

I have never neglected my site for consecutive months. This was a first for me. Jonathon Lawson at mysnowpro has been posting on his new gear and it has me stoked for ski season to start. I am so ready.

2010-11 was cut short due to the sinus surgery and accompanying meningitis. I am still slowly improving my health and working out trying to get my strength back.

Lots of squats and lunges. Working to stabilize my core and working out hard.

It makes me appreciate skiing so much more after missing most of the season. Thankfully it wasn't a torn ACL or a major injury that would impact me long term. This should be behind me shortly.

Will be posting some more information, stats, and the usual preseason stuff shortly.

Posted by Justin at 11:33 AM

June 29, 2011

Summer Preparations

I am finally getting back to normal after my sinus surgery and subsequent cerebral spinal fluid leak / meningitis. All I can think about is the ski season coming up and getting through the miserable Phoenix summer.

Not a lot new going on, but the Southwest's ski resorts are all in trouble, at least those that got abnormally low precip amounts this last winter due to La Nina.

Pray for the communities including Alpine, Greer, Eagar, and Springerville that are in the path of the Wallow Fire. Sunrise is very close to the fire area, but the containment is almost complete. Over half a million acres.

Posted by Justin at 12:58 PM | Comments (2)

March 05, 2011

Ski-blog Status Update - Health Problems

OK, so I wasn't posting nearly often enough this season anyway, but January was a horrible snow month in the Southwest and I was down with a recurrent Sinus Infection most of the month anyway.

On February 9, 2011, I went in for Sinus Surgery to clean things out and fix a deviated septum. During the surgery, the Doctor cracked the cribiform plate that separates your brain from your sinus cavity and I ended up with meningitis, an air bubble under my brain (pneumocephalus), and a cerebral spinal fluid leak.

So here I am, a little cracked out on Morphine, having headaches, feeling pretty crappy, down 20 lbs, trying to think about what the lifelong impact of having a hole that is tenuously closed solely by some scar tissue keeping my noodle separate from the outside world.

Reality is that there ain't a damned thing I can do by bitching about it and I am going to head to Brian Head for a couple turns next weekend if I can handle the altitude. My ENT Doc cleared me to start returning to normal activity and there is nothing more normal or necessary for me than getting another ski day in.

On the plus side, on Feb 5, we went to Sunrise and it was an Epic day. Best ski day of the year and one of the best I have ever had. Powder and Double Blacks all day with my son, brother, and friend Hayden. Skied til 4PM which takes a pretty special day at Sunrise.

Posted by Justin at 03:54 PM

July 17, 2010

Snow on the 5th of July and Condo Update

We took our annual camp trip to Wyoming and it snowed over an inch on the night of the 5th of July. It was incredibly cold for July, but the good news was the cold almost completely prevented the annual mosquito festival where the kids and I end up with scabs all over from the hundreds of bites we receive.

Spent the better part of a week at Brian Head and have great news on the condo front. We have been working with our lender because the market absolutely tanked in Brian Head. Our condo that we bought for $119,000 and put almost $30,000 in remodel into would be lucky to sell for $90,000 right now. It is worse for the people down the hall from us that bought for $175,000 at the top of the market. They are really hosed.

Fannie Mae slashed our payments by over half and made it reasonable to keep the place. An interest rate reduction combined with recapitalizing the interest and extending the term of the loan.

Brian Head is a victim of the Nevada housing market and employment market that is the worst in the country. Not sure that it will get better any time soon, but now our place is affordable enough we can keep it for the long haul.

I bought the condo as an investment and as a place where we could bond as a family. While it is no longer nearly the investment property we hoped, it has surpassed my expectations as a place where we can spend several weekends a year together with the kids. Summer is almost as nice as winter together.

Whole string of other stuff going on and I have been working a lot lately so lack of posting. Trying to get back in the swing. Love my blog and hate to have it die.

Posted by Justin at 09:27 PM | Comments (1)

June 02, 2010

Annual Wyoming Trip

I am preparing now for our annual camp trip to the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. It has been too long since I have gotten out of Phoenix, but this last weekend I went to Crown King in the new Wrangler Rubicon.

Speaking of which, I broke down and replaced my wife's Passat with a Rubicon Unlimited. It is my dream car and while she was not super stoked about having another vehicle I would take out and beat the crap out of, after driving it for a while, she loves it too.

I went to Crown King via Lake Pleasant this last weekend and incurred some minor damage underneath, the first thing being tearing the Evap Canister off on a large rock. I am in the process of adding skid plates, etc., and of course I went off roading before it was build up right.

Anyway, super stoked about camping. Looking forward to ski season. Got out of Phoenix this weekend which was cool.

Sorry to neglect my baby of a blog, but geez I have been busy and it is not ski season. This season will be far better.

Posted by Justin at 09:05 AM | Comments (1)

August 05, 2009

New Job

I am so stoked to finally start my new job. I am working on a Web Engineering team now which is somewhat of a departure from my last job at IBM, but actually comes full circle from what I started at IBM doing in the first place.

Getting set up in the office and getting moved it. It is nice to get out of my home office for a while. Needed a change of scenery although my change is to a gray walled cubicle.

I am already thinking about the upcoming ski season, but it is tough to think much because both boys just started Pop Warner and school on Monday. I am excited that this year my daughter Lindsey, 4.5, will probably spend her first day in ski school. She is so excited to be a skier like her brothers.

Just waiting for things to get kicked off.

Posted by Justin at 10:18 AM | Comments (1)

July 04, 2009

National Parks Trip

Nothing better to celebrate the birth of our nation than to take in some of the spectacular beauty that makes it so great. So far this week, we have been to Zion, Yellowstone, and Teton National Parks. It is tough to say which is the most majestic.

I will be posting some pics on the gallery shortly.

Enjoy the 4th of July and God Bless Our Troops that are fighting to defend it and spread freedom throughout the world.

Posted by Justin at 05:00 PM | Comments (1)

June 07, 2009

Summer Getting Started - Awaiting Camp Trip to Wyoming

Not a lot going on as you can tell by the complete lack of posting. I am working to sell the condo, we are selling our house, and we are moving to a little more comfortable digs on the outskirts of Phoenix (not that we weren't already in the outskirts).

I am officially out of work as of probably next week and am living off of severance while looking for a new job. It isn't a bad deal and has given me some time to think about and prioritize my life some. Gone is the condo and the overpriced house. Casualties of the housing collapse in Phoenix and Brian Head as well as of my downsizing.

One real plus of the developments has been that I have been able to cut my fixed monthly expenses significantly and this will make it easier for me to travel. I am also unloading the place at Brian Head which will make it more likely that I will be able to ski more at Wolf Creek and in Utah at other resorts.

The economy ain't great my friends. But as will most addicts, I will find a way to get to the slopes as often as time and money permit. The plus side is that I can focus on deals even more... if that is a plus side.

Not much else is new. Just preparing for our annual camp trip to Shell Lake, Wyoming, and watching the snowpack sensors drop every day. Leaving in three weeks.

Posted by Justin at 10:13 PM | Comments (1)

March 06, 2009

Slow Blogging

I am sorry about the lack of activity lately. I have been busy finishing some schooling at the community college and am working right now on preparing for my Masters Degree starting this summer at ASU. I am taking 16 credits of technical work in Linux and Microsoft so it is keeping me busy at the CC during the spring semester. Then the real fun of grad school starts.

Check the Masters of Science in Information Management Degree from the WP Carey School of Business out. I start the first week of June and will probably miss most of next ski season in school. Anyway, I got accepted last week and am busy making plans.

Posted by Justin at 04:01 PM | Comments (3)

January 15, 2009

Season 4.5 of Battlestar Galactica Starts Tomorrow

Just a random note--BSG wraps in 10 weeks. I just finished watching season 4.0 about an hour ago and am stoked for the final half season to get going.

Great Spoiler Site Patriot Resource has a spoiler synopsis of episode 4.11:

The fleet copes with finding an uninhabited and uninhabitable Earth. The leadership struggles with what to tell the fleet after such a huge disappointment. Meanwhile, the Four Cylons start to remember their previous life. Tyrol has flashbacks to a previous life on a populated Earth and the day the Cylons destroyed themselves. Apparently, the four then went into hiding, suppressed their own memories and eventually began new lives in the colonies. Kara finds a burned out ship and something on it (her own body?) that freaks her out. She burns the evidence. Leoben is around so he must have some knowledge of Kara's discovery. D'Anna ends up getting left behind on Earth when the combined fleet leaves. The Final Cylon appears on Earth although we don't know when or who sees them. Our guess is that D'Anna is the one to see the Final Cylon.

H/T Erich for taking season 1 on a ski trip with us three years ago to Brian Head.

Posted by Justin at 01:08 PM

August 07, 2008

Bragging about My Kids

Jake is having quite a year. Won a state championship in Pop Warner. Won the Avondale School District Math Competition. Finished in the top 1% of all students on the AIMS standardized tests. And on Saturday, his position coach called and all he could say was what a hard worker he was, how much he had improved, and how coachable he was. He may start both ways this football season.

Jarrett started Pop Warner this season and is enjoying it and working his butt off. I feel bad because he is a seven year old on a team of seven, eight, and nine year olds. Being young is going to be rough. Especially when your brother is trying to win back to back championships.

I went to Michaels and got three pictures framed of Jake and Jackson:

Jake and Jackson skiing for the condo. Nice 16x20 frames with matting.

Jarrett is just learning to ski and learning to play football. Some big shoes to fill. It is tough to give equal time to both an 11 year old and a 7 year old when Jake is skiing better than I am and is playing ubercompetitive football and Jarrett is learning and playing football for fun on a Mighty Mite team.

I will add that it is a bad idea to call Jake's team a bunch of Mighty Mites. Jarrett's team... maybe. =)

Posted by Justin at 04:11 PM | Comments (1)

Football Season Underway

I am heading to the Cardinals-Saints game tonight and already made my annual trip to Flagstaff to watch training camp. Here is the lowdown on football in the household:

  • Jake is playing Pop Warner - 4 practices per week
  • Jarrett is playing Pop Warner - 5 practices per week
  • Games for both on Saturdays
  • Wickenburg games are on Friday nights and I will be at 8-10 of them
  • ASU plays 8 home games and I have season tickets
  • Cardinals play 10 home games and I have season tickets

Then there are the Suns starting after that and conflicting with ski season. I am booked.

Posted by Justin at 04:06 PM

July 14, 2008

Interesting Developments

I have not done a lot of writing as of late. I have not been busy, just been preoccupied with some work stuff.

Back in October, I posted "Add the title 'Inventor' to my resume" about my first patent issued.

Well, let's add a new title--prolific inventor. Well, not quite since the second one is derived from the first patent, but this is my second approved patent in the last nine months.

I am pretty stoked about it, but have a couple other things going on at work right now that are also interesting. Depending on confidentiality agreements, I might post more information, but as of right now, some big stuff is going on and it has been keeping me very busy lately.

Posted by Justin at 10:44 PM

April 27, 2008

Brian Head Still Has Plenty of Snow

I was at Brian Head this last week and it is amazing that on the 24th of April, the resort could easily remain open.

I spent two nights in Brian Head on my trip to Wyoming, one up and one back. I took my grandfather's body to Lovell for his burial service and spoke at another funeral. We did two funerals since we have so many family and friends that could not make the Wickenburg services. It was a little odd to haul him 1500 miles in the back of my truck, but if you knew him, you would understand how much he would enjoy the mere thought of me and my two uncles hauling him back home.

I spent the last three years hoping to take him to my place in Brian Head. The back of the truck in the parking garage was as close to my condo as he got, but I got his old ass up there.

I am slowly settling in to the groove of things again. Sorry for the slow blogging, but it takes a while to recover.

Posted by Justin at 05:38 PM

April 13, 2008

Donald Asay Blackburn

I haven't written here much recently. I was asked to speak at the services and write his obituary:

Donald Asay Blackburn left this earthly life April 12th at his family home in Wickenburg with his wife Victoria by his side. He was born December 1, 1932, in Lovell, Wyoming to Hyrum and Gladys Blackburn. June 11, 1985, he married his wife Victoria Watson of Chinook, Montana. On February 4, 2003, he was sealed for time and eternity in the Mesa Temple in Arizona. Throughout his life, he showed a deep love for his family.

Don was preceded on his journey by his three sons Steve, Danny, and Lynn Blackburn. He awaits the reunion with his loving wife Victoria; Marilyn Witt and husband Kelly; Jeffrey Blackburn and wife Linda; David Blackburn and wife Velma; Teri Lee Benoit and husband Kenny; Troy Hunter; Harley Blackburn and wife Jodi; Brenda Lorash and husband Eddie; Derk Hunter and wife Katrina; Brent Bowen and wife Alison; grandchildren Natalie Rallo and Justin Blackburn of Wickenburg; and over 60 grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Don grew up in Lovell where he was an outstanding athlete in football and basketball before leaving for Korea as an Army soldier in 1951. Upon his return from Korea, he worked the jobs no one else would. He worked setting concrete forms for the Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona. He owned and ran a large Uranium mine in his mid-20’s. He worked as a salesman for FMC selling agricultural products to some of the largest farms in the US near Stockton, California.

His business ventures included owning and managing various gold mines in Montana, Wyoming, and Arizona; consulting work for the governments of China and Vietnam; Uranium ventures in Arizona, Utah, and Wyoming; Blackburn Drilling that operated across the United States and in Australia; Bear Creek Coal Partners of Montana; Titanium Resources Corporation; Vanadium Partners, Inc.; and other projects too numerous to recount.

His character, humor and personality will be celebrated at the Wickenburg LDS Church at 6:00 PM, Thursday, April 17th, and at the LDS Stake Center in Lovell, Wyoming, at 11:00 AM, Wednesday, April 23rd. All are welcome to attend.

I spent Friday with my grandfather at Chemo in Phoenix and was with him just hours before he passed. I already miss him as do many others.

Posted by Justin at 10:16 PM | Comments (5)

March 17, 2008

21" Last Night at Brian Head

Brian Head got 21" last night which puts the resort over the 300" mark for the year. I got the e-mail powder alert at 8AM as I was heading to chemo. The list of places I would rather be than the VA Hospital is pretty long, but Brian Head is the top of the list.

Things will mellow for me after Easter hopefully and I am going to try to get in one more good weekend.

Posted by Justin at 10:43 PM | Comments (1)

March 04, 2008

Slow Blogging for a While

I am having a slew of things go on right now. First, my grandfather has lung cancer. Thankfully, it is in its early stages, but he is starting Chemo next week or the week after (if he decides to do it). As I aluded to in the other post today, he is the man that raised me from the time I was 12. I spent today with him going to the VA to help him get his benefits and treatment stuff straightened out. A stop by In-N-Out Burgers and a long drive talking was much needed. My daughter Lindsey stayed with my grandmother today while we drove to Phoenix.

Second, Jake is starting another season of football and Jarrett is starting another season of basketball. So I am doing my best to balance all the duties of being a dad with those of being a son (grandson). Boy Scouts. Basketball Practices. Football Practices. Sprinting and Speed Camps. Chemotherapy. School projects and Parent-Teacher meetings. Estate Planning. You know, the usual stuff.

I am going to try to squeeze in a long ski weekend or two before April, but I am pretty booked. I have dozens of ski seasons ahead of me, but have some serious work to do now. In short, things might slow down around here for a while. Blogging and skiing are my release and my way of spending time with friends and family. I have some other business to attend to in the meantime.

Today was Jake's first football practice. He is a completely different kid than in August when he first put on pads. He is officially the fasted kid on his team and the tallest by at least four inches (which I told him did not bode well for his team j/k). He just needs some more meat on his skinny bones. He laid some wood today and then he got to run extra sprints after practice for not cleaning his room well enough this morning (he didn't open the blinds and close the closet doors). The same kind of lessons my grandfather taught me. Perfection. Attention to details. Hard work.

Posted by Justin at 11:41 PM

D&D Founder Gary Gygax Dies

A couple great lines about it from various blogs included this from Ace of Spades:

He will be remembered by many geeks of a certain age for helping making long-lasting painful celibacy seem almost hip and cool (almost), and also, sadly, for undermining Israel's ability to defend herself from her enemies.

So I encourage all of you to take the What Character am I challenge:

I Am A: Lawful Good Human Paladin/Sorcerer (3rd/2nd Level)

Ability Scores:

Lawful Good A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. He combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. He tells the truth, keeps his word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished. Lawful good is the best alignment you can be because it combines honor and compassion. However, lawful good can be a dangerous alignment because it restricts freedom and criminalizes self-interest.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Primary Class:
Paladins take their adventures seriously, and even a mundane mission is, in the heart of the paladin, a personal test an opportunity to demonstrate bravery, to learn tactics, and to find ways to do good. Divine power protects these warriors of virtue, warding off harm, protecting from disease, healing, and guarding against fear. The paladin can also direct this power to help others, healing wounds or curing diseases, and also use it to destroy evil. Experienced paladins can smite evil foes and turn away undead. A paladin's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that they can cast. Many of the paladin's special abilities also benefit from a high Charisma score.

Secondary Class:
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

I remember back when I was 12 and had my head shaved and wore Army fatigues, wrote computer programs on an old Apple II-E in basic, and played D&D. It was when my mother shipped my ass off to live with my grandfather that I discovered football and became a more "well balanced" person (read girls stopped treating my like a weirdo and people stopped fearing that I would someday go on a shooting spree).

Posted by Justin at 11:32 PM

February 27, 2008

Sad Day for Wickenburg

I remember wrestling trips all across the state, travelling with Rome, Roxie, Joe and Kristina Glover. I played football with Joe for four years and we both were four year lettermen in wrestling. Christina was always there as a cheerleader or just to support her big brother. The Glovers are a wonderful family. All of them have (had) a sense of humor and personalities that just drew to them. The were magnetic on the both the football field, cheer team, and in the community. We had our 10 year reunion two years ago. I remember walking into the bar with my classmates and she was the first one over to see us. Talked about her nieces and Joe and how well things were going.

It is with great sadness that we remember her passing at age 30.

Kristina Lorene Glover, age 30, passed away Feb. 24 at Wickenburg Community Hospital, surrounded by her family and loving fiance Nate Cooper. She was born May 29, 1977 in Sturgis, S.D., to Rome C. Glover and Roxie D. (Wilsey) Glover.

Kristina moved to Wickenburg in 1983, and this was the town that she justly called home, graduating Class of 1995. She received her bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Montana. Kristina was in her final year of law school at Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Wash.

She is survived by her parents, Rome and Roxie Glover; her beloved brother Joe; sister-in-law Nora; nieces Elena, Ava, and Abbey; her fiance Nate; her grandparents Robert and Lillian (Wilsey) Pegra; 10 aunts; 11 uncles; several great-aunts and uncles; numerous cousins; and countless extended family and friends who will miss her dearly.

Kristina had a spirit and zest for life that touched many hearts. She loved spending time in the wilderness, embracing the closeness of nature. Her life was bountiful in experiences that reaffirmed this love: horseback riding, camping, hiking, and even becoming an experienced fisherwoman in Alaska.

The passion Kristina had for life was always apparent in the high goals she set for herself. Law school found Kristina chairing clubs, participating in competitions on a national level, raising money for non-profits, and achieving honors in her academics. She not only excelled at law school, but also made the time to acknowledge the more intimate side of life.

Foremost in Kristina’s heart was her family and the love of her life Nate. Her love of children was evident in the devotion she had to her three nieces. Kristina had a genuine care for others and was always willing to share her rich life experiences in hopes of enlightening another’s life path.

Just a sad day. Kristina was a year older than Tera and graduated two years after me.

Thoughts and prayers go out to Rome, Roxie, Joe, Nate, and the rest of the family. We lost another member of the Wickenburg family in Stephanie Babcock that passed away less than a year ago at 29. The entire town knew and loved both of these young women. It is just a sad day.

Posted by Justin at 03:28 PM | Comments (2)

February 19, 2008

Jarrett's First Black Diamond

I took Jake and Jarrett out on Saturday at Brian Head. Jarrett is skiing Jake's old K2's which are probably about 10 cm too big at 125. We are working on parallel turns, but he is still in the wedge / snowplow / pizza stage.

It was really incredible for me to take him out this last time. I have had six years of Jake skiing with me almost every trip. To the point where I don't even enjoy going out unless he is with me. We talk trash to each other and make fun of ourselves and other skiers. We both really learned together because when I got started again in 2002, I hadn't skied in 9 years and wasn't that good even then. It brought back a bunch of memories of Jake and I going up to Sunrise so many times. There was probably a foot or so of powder that we took Jarret down and it reminded me of Jake and me skiing Phoenician at Sunrise on our first real powder day together. Both of us postholing down after about the fourth wreck in the first 50 yards.

Jarrett's experience wasn't a lot different than Jake's. I remember Jake crying and saying "I can't. I can't. I want to go home. I just want to go home. I hate skiing." Jarrett had perhaps the hardest wreck I have seen in a while, right onto his shoulder. After he got over the initial shock and back to the chair, I told him that we have to take the chair back up because The Plunge is on Dunes and it requires a lift ride to the top to ski back to the base. By the time we got to the top, I had convinced him to take another run, this time on a blue. And we finished the day skiing groomers with a little bit of packed pow for another half a dozen runs. He got back up and kept going. And went home and told mom how much fun he had.

After we took Jarrett back to the condo at about 2:00, Jake and I skied the rest of the day. We were laughing about Jake and all the stuff we had done when we sucked. =) I spent most of the trip back to Phoenix daydreaming and thinking back about Jake learning and where he is now. And I kept thinking about what it is going to be like when Jake is 15 and Jarrett is 11. When we are hiking and skiing Wolf Creek and Alberta Peak or the Knife Ridge. And thinking about how exciting it will be when Jarrett is able to keep up on a powder day. Then when he really starts getting it. Making parallel turns and using his poles.

And then I got thinking about all my complaints about Brian Head and how Jake and I have graduated beyond what it offers. But how it is perfect for Jarrett. And why I ski. Is it just about a rush and me and pow and steeps? Or is it about having Jake there by my side, riding the lifts, talking, connecting, and bonding? We learned together and we keep learning together. And for the first time, Tera and Lindsey stayed for 3 days and it was enjoyable. Lindsey stayed out of stuff, hung out, slept in a bed instead of the playpen, and didn't want to come home. And it won't be too long before she is skiing groomers at Brian Head for the first time.

Posted by Justin at 12:16 PM | Comments (1)

February 16, 2008

Still Sick with Sinus Infection

I have been slow blogging the last week as the sinus infection has had me feeling like crap. Dizzy. Headaches. Tired. It just sucks.

I am at the condo this weekend and going to put on the skis for a couple hours. Jake said the conditions were great yesterday as the most recent storm dropped a foot on Thursday and today is bluebird and 40.

I got the edges on both my skis and Jake's skis done as well as a good waxing. They were both due. Hoping good conditions hold and that the resort isn't overrun with weekenders here for President's Day. Busiest weekend of the year.

Posted by Justin at 10:47 AM

February 06, 2008

Gym Teacher at Jake and Jarrett's School Arrested for Molestation

Creepy Stuff but fortunately, I don't think we have a lot to worry about with the boys:

A Desert Edge High School girls' coach has been arrested on suspicion of having a sexual relationship with one of her students over the past year, Goodyear police said Tuesday.

Basketball and volleyball coach Susan Jayne Anderson, 28, was arrested Monday night at her home in Goodyear's Estrella community, police said. She is accused of carrying on an ongoing sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl she coached, police said.

"We believe that this started when the student was 15," said John Rowan, a police spokesman.

A probable cause statement filed Monday with the Estrella Mountain Justice Court shows Anderson told police she "chose and targeted" the victim because of the girl's low self-esteem.

According to the document:

• Police found phone records that showed the suspect and the victim were having daily, hourlong talks and had exchanged "thousands" of text messages since December. They were also communicating via the social networking Web site

• The victim reported the suspect had taken her home after sporting events and practices, and that they had kissed up to four times on those occasions.

• The victim told police she had sexual contact with the suspect on Jan..20 at the coach's home.

Anderson had coached for Goodyear's Desert Edge since 2004 and passed a background check when she was hired, according to Eleanor Andersen, an Agua Fria Union High School spokeswoman.

Anderson also is a first-year fitness teacher at Centerra Mirage Elementary School in Goodyear, said Cathy Stafford, superintendent for the Avondale Elementary School district.

Damn dude. So uncool. We got a letter home today about a gym teacher being arrested for sexual abuse or molestation or whatever they are going to call it in this case. Freakin' pervs seek out kids with low self esteem. Long chats on the phone in the middle of the night. Text messages. Myspace... I feel bad for the girl involved. I hope she gets some counselling and this piece of trash spends some time getting a little love from the ladies at a local penal institution. Maybe she can coach the prison volleyball team.

Posted by Justin at 12:33 AM | Comments (1)

January 24, 2008

Converting DVD's to AVI Using Mencoder on Linux

I am no king pimp of bash scripting, but I have been playing around with creating a script to rip DVD's into AVI files using Mencoder. The process needs several things:

1. Get the name of the DVD so that you can name the AVI file
2. Figure out which track to rip (bypass the credits and previews and just rip the movie)
3. Calculate the length of the movie
4. Set the bitrate to ensure maximum quality, but keep the file size under 700MB so that it fits on a standard CD-R
5. Determine the borders to crop off

So this is a collection of various code I found on the Interweb as well my own. I am sure there are better and more efficient methods to AWK stuff down and get the output to look pretty, but this is the net of my work on things. I know this is complete unrelated to skiing, but figured I would post it in case someone is interested in using it to automate the DVD ripping process. I searched high and low to get some code to do this and couldn't find any so I cobbled it together and kept myself occupied for a few hours.

UPDATE: New Code Posted that makes things look a little better

# This program creates an avi from the dvd drive # #

MAXSIZE=700000 # Set the maximum file size to 700mb, which is 716800kbytes
OVC="-ovc xvid" # Use XviD encoding
OAC="-oac mp3lame" # Use mp3lame audio encoding
LAME_OPTS="-lameopts abr:br=128 -af volume=9" # Set audio bitrate to 128 and adjust volume
ZOOM_OPTS="-zoom -xy 640" # Set zoom and size options
XVID_OPTS="-xvidencopts turbo:nochroma_me:notrellis:max_bframes=0:vhq=0" # Adjust Quality
PASS1="$XVID_OPTS:pass=1" # Set options for pass 1
PASS2="$XVID_OPTS:pass=2" # Set options for pass 2
OUT_FOLDER="/DVD_TEMP/AVIs/" # The file to place the output in
DISC_TITLE=`lsdvd /dev/dvd | grep Disc | awk '{ print $3 }'` # Detect Disc Title
OUT_FILE="-o $OUT_FOLDER$DISC_TITLE.avi" # Specify output file

# Determine the longest track on the DVD and the runtime for that track

LONG_TRACK=`lsdvd /dev/dvd | grep Longest | awk '{ print $3 }'`
RUN_TIME=`lsdvd | grep "Title: $LONG_TRACK" | awk '{ print $4 }' | awk '{ gsub(/\:/, " "); print $1 " " $2}'`

# Calculate the Runtime in seconds

declare -i HORAS=`echo $RUN_TIME | awk '{print $1}'`*3600
declare -i MINUTOS=`echo $RUN_TIME | awk '{print $2}'`*60

# Calculate Audiosize and video size
# Audio rate is 128bits/s which is 16kbytes/s


# Detect the crop settings for the DVD image

rm -f /tmp/cropdetect
mplayer -benchmark -nosound -ao null -vo null -vf cropdetect -ss 301 -frames 10 dvd:// > /tmp/cropdetect &
sleep 1
CROP=`tail -10 /tmp/cropdetect | grep "Crop" | head -1 | awk -F"(" '{print $2}' | awk -F")" '{print $1}'`
rm -f /tmp/cropdetect

rm ./divx2pass.log

# Create a test file in /tmp to make sure the crop settings and encoding settings work that begins 60 seconds in and lasts 100 frames

nice -n +19 mencoder $IN_DEVICE -ss 60 -frames 100 $OVC $OAC $LAME_OPTS $CROP $ZOOM_OPTS $XVID_OPTS:bitrate=800 -o /tmp/$DISC_TITLE.tmp.avi

# Run Pass 1

nice -n +19 mencoder $IN_DEVICE $OVC $OAC $LAME_OPTS $CROP $ZOOM_OPTS $PASS1 -o /dev/null

# Run Pass 2


Posted by Justin at 03:20 PM

January 21, 2008

MLK Weekend, NFC-AFC Championships, and No Skiing

It has been a while since I checked in. First, I was gone for three of the past four weekends and as cool as my wife is, I probably needed to chill for a bit. MLK weekend sucks just about anywhere because most resorts get swamped by folks heading up because the kids have days off. Plus there is football.

But all of these things take a backseat to family and personal life stuff. My grandfather is in the hospital and it has been a rather odd last couple of days.

Anyway, I am planning an epic trip starting the first week of February. Looking like two days at Jackson Hole, another day at Big Sky, a day at Alta, and back to Brian Head. Betting on 5-6 days of skiing at four resorts. Including Alta and Big Sky that are my favorite resorts. If things go as planned, this will make trips to Wolf Creek, Alta, Brian Head, Beaver Creek, Big Sky, and Jackson Hole by mid-February. I am already at 9 days and this will put me right at 15 days.

Posted by Justin at 11:27 AM | Comments (1)

January 08, 2008

Reflections on Bus Accident that Killed 9 in Southern Utah

I just drove through Mexican Hat in a blizzard the weekend before Christmas as I was coming home from Denver. My grandfather has extensive business that he does in Monticello and Moab and I have been through the stretch several times. And I spend countless hours and miles driving on snowpacked and icy roads during ski season.

This hit close to home. I thought about orphaning my kids or worse, losing one of them in an accident. Driving on bad road conditions in the middle of the night, tired after a long day of skiing. And the best skiing means the worst road conditions. Blood in the snow. People screaming. No light. Snow and rain falling. Desolate area, no cell reception.

This reminds me to keep my emergency road kit ready. Road flares. Blankets. Flashlight. Bungee cords. First aid kit. Tarp. Some canned food AND THE CAN OPENER. Bottle opener (in case all the beer didn't break during the wreck j/k). Matches. And I love having OnStar. I know it doesn't work a lot of places, but at least it offers far better reception than a regular cell phone.

But the Arizona Republic reported this, which is what makes America, especially rural America great:

Rose June, a clerk at the San Juan Inn, said she rushed to the scene to distribute blankets and towels to people on stretchers. She said many on the bus seemed to be in their 20s.

"They were saying, 'Where's my friend? Where's the ambulance?' " June said. "I tried to keep the rain off their face."...

Danny Palmer, funeral director at San Juan Mortuary in Blanding, about 40 miles northeast of Mexican Hat, came to the scene. He spent two hours helping victims and watching rescue efforts, including those carried out by passengers hurt in the crash.

"People that probably needed their own medical attention were helping those who were more serious," Palmer said. "It was quite inspiring."

Thank you to the people of the Four Corners area that helped save lives and reduce the suffering of those that were affected. Prayers go out to the families, and to the parents of the three high school students that were killed. Erica Sheffey and Marc Rasmussen died at the scene. Joseph DeBolskewas a senior from Saguaro High School.

Posted by Justin at 10:33 AM | Comments (2)

December 11, 2007

Starting the Season and My Neck is Killing Me

The snowstorm that was supposed to dump 2-3' on Brian Head never got completely on track. Turned out to be right around 1'. That said, it helped a ton. BH is about 20% open, not counting the new terrain that cannot open due to the bridge delay. Heard from one of the ski patrol that there is a problem with one of the lift towers on Chair 2 or else Giant Steps would be open providing top to bottom skiing. They are waiting on a part.

I had two things happen that I am not super pleased about. I cut over from Blackfoot towards the Giant Steps run that had not been groomed and had some nice soft pow. Had to take a lower line than I wanted and just raked across a rock and a stump. Nasty gashes. Early season conditions don't like brand new skis. But it didn't get to the core, so a little wax should help.

The second bad thing happened on the last run of the last day. We were coming down and getting ready to grab a bite and roll home. I have a brand new set of K2 Silencer twin tips and was screwing around skiing switch. Almost down the hill. Bam, caught an edge and went down on a man made groomer, backwards. Slammed the back of my head into the slope. And to make things worse, I wasn't wearing my helmet for the first time in forever. Had on a hat instead. I literally saw stars and everything went quiet. My head is killing me and my neck is aching.

The worst falls are never on steeps (unless you are jumping off cliffs or skiing above your ability). They are on groomed greens when you catch an edge. Falling on steeper terrain means that you are hitting the ground at enough of an angle that it is a glancing blow. This was brick wall stuff.

I haven't blogged it so far, but I was 280lbs by the end of last season. I am a naturally big guy at around 6'2" or 6'3". But 280 is just huge. I decided at the end of last season that I was gonna lost 50 lbs over the summer. I started the ski season at 225lbs this year. Last Thursday, I bought new ski pants and a new jacket since none of my old gear fits me. And last season, my K2 Silencer 168's couldn't hold me at all. Way too small. Not anymore. My entire body feels different and I am a whole different skier. I went from XXL pants and jacket to wearing an XL jacket and size LARGE PANTS. And both of these are too loose.

Posted by Justin at 04:32 PM | Comments (1)

December 02, 2007


Just in case you want to see the redheaded State Champion. Please note that these are crappy camera phone pics.

Far West Steelers - #77 Jake Blackburn - State Champions Jr. Peewee 2007

And here he is still in his game pants on the field at Sun Devil Stadium after ASU ends the Wildcat's season.

Jake after the 2007 ASU vs. U of A game - Sun Devil Stadium

Posted by Justin at 08:09 PM | Comments (1)


The Far West Steelers (11-0) faced the Gilbert Monsoon (11-0) at Chaparral High School yesterday. In 11 games, Gilbert had allowed ZERO POINTS. THAT IS ZERO. Generally, it is difficult to beat a team when you can't score. Two things ended yesterday--their string of shutouts and their string of victories. My oldest son Jake played offensive line for the Far West Steelers in the Jr. PeeWee (9-10-11) Pop Warner league in Phoenix. Never played a lick of defense all year. Then the kid that Jake shared time with on offense broke his arm midway through the first QTR. Jake played both ways the entire game after playing a total of maybe 10 defensive plays the entire season.

We played the entire first half on our end of the field and aside from a huge long run, we allowed them to dominate us. Our offense was only on the field for a total of 14 plays in the first half. But at the end of the first half, we were only down 16-7. But they had to kick to us.

The opening kickoff, we punched them in the mouth. 7-8 yard carries, one right after the next. Got the score back to 16-14. We onside kick every time. I was working the chains and guy on one end told the line judge, "You wanna see an onside kick worked to perfection--watch this." And like clockwork, we had the kick back and four plays later, we were up 21-16. That was great until they scored with 5 minutes left to go up 24-21 after we fumbled the ball away to them. They have the ball back and go for the dagger. Run a reverse pass and the kid fumbles the ball. We recover. And then go four and out. The game was over, but they need one first down. Third down and 4. We stop them and call out last time out. 1:13. Fourth down. Either they get a first down and win or we stop them and get the ball back with a minute left. Stoped a half a yard short and now we have the ball, down 3.

First play, we run off tackle for 7 yards. :50 left. The next play our QB throws a 45 yard bomb hits the kid in stride to take the lead back. As soon as he let it go, the game was over. Just a perfect pass. We intercept their desperation pass at the end in one of the best games I have ever watched. 27-24.

Sorry to give you the longwinded version of a Pop Warner story, but we spent the entire drive over and most of the last week talking about what it takes to be champions. Five times in the last two years, he has sat next to me and watched undefeated teams lose their first game in the playoffs. Wick and Blue Ridge this season. Wick, Seton, and Round Valley last season. I have been telling Jake all year that you win the game on the practice field. You win it by preparing. You win it by outhitting your opponent. By out executing them. And when it is 4th down and you need a yard or it is fourth down and you need a stop, you win it by taking it. Round Valley beat Wickenburg by taking the game from them on two 4th and 1's. SL finished off BR by MacArthur taking the game away on 7 yard out on 4th and 5 inside the 20.

Jake wasn't supposed to start and had a terrible game two weeks before. Never played Defense. And all of the sudden, there he is getting his number called and playing every down when his team needs it. And he did it on the practice field. By working hard all year. Hard work and preparation showed up. I was screaming with :25 left at Jake "WHAT PLAY YOU GONNA RUN? WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PLAY?" Victory Formation. Take a knee. When that is the very last play that you run for the entire year, that is the best feeling in the world. Heck of a life lesson to learn at 10. And the kids on his team were just awesome.

And afterwards, he didn't even have time to change out of his undershirt and game pants before we went to ASU for the Devils game.

Posted by Justin at 09:29 AM

November 27, 2007

Pop Warner Update

The Far West Steelers are West Valley Champions of the Jr. PeeWee Division. Over 20 teams in the West, and Jake's team is atop them all. 11-0. Of the top 7 other teams in the West Valley, we have beaten 5 of them (the Crusaders twice) on the way to our West Valley title. We defeated the Grand Firecats last weekend in an incredible game for the West Title. They were 10-0 going into the game.

Here is how the playoffs are going to end. The undefeated Gilbert Monsoon will play the Steelers at 9:00 AM on Saturday at Chapparal High School for the Jr. PeeWee State Title.

Let me give you a little info about the Monsoon. 11-0. Scored 213 points in those 11 games. ALLOWED ZERO. 11 Shutouts. Not scored on this year during the regular season or the playoffs.

Jake has played hard all year and is surrounded by great kids and some excellent athletes. It has been fun watching these kids and this has been a special season. I will update on Saturday and it should be a great game.

Posted by Justin at 03:08 PM

November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

On Tuesday, after not really being invited to have dinner with anyone, we decided to go it alone this year. Turns out that we had been invited to eat with my uncle Brent and grandparents, as we usually do... they just forgot to tell us. Until Tuesday night, right after we had bought all the stuff for our place. I realized that this was the first Thanksgiving ever that we have done as a family of five, without everyone else around. Part of that is that I already had plans. Plans for later today. And if things go as I am hoping, I won't be skiing the week of New Years. I will be in Pasadena.

It is a day to give thanks, not to think of what is coming next. The year is almost behind us. Lindsey is almost 3. Jake is almost 11. Jarrett is growing up and about to turn 7. I spent yesterday afternoon running to Wickenburg with Jarrett and listening to the Suns game. He is ready to try going to another game, even though he knows it will be loud. And he cannot wait to ski with me and Jake. But he keeps making me promise to take him with us, not put him in ski school. He wants to hang with his big brother and dad.

Lots to be thankful for. My kids are healthy. Tera is happy. Our jobs are going well. We get to spend plenty of time together. But two weeks ago, my grandmother went into the hospital with stomach pains and last week had bowel surgery. She has been fighting to overcome an infection and a perforation. I am so thankful that she is here for another holiday with us. We are heading up there for Christmas.

I hope that everyone that reads the site (all three of you) enjoys the blessings of the holiday season and Thanksgiving. I am almost thankful that there is no snow because instead of being at the condo, we were in our home enjoying a dinner together at the table instead of on a bar stool at the counter or on the couch.

Posted by Justin at 03:12 PM | Comments (3)

October 30, 2007

Skier's Thumb Update

OK, so we know that I have a thumb problem. Dr's office said it was a fracture. Almost certain it was a UCL tear and going to require surgery.

Well, good news. It isn't a fracture. It is a tear, but not a complete tear, meaning no surgery. Plus it is already a month and a half since the injury so it is already healed enough that doing an MRI isn't worth it right now. We know it is injured. The joint is now stable enough that it will probably heal.

Here are the options:

  • Immobilize it completely or a short period of time to make sure if finishes healing.
  • Splint it when I am using it to reduce the possibility of further damage.
  • Physical Therapy to strengthen it and increase range of motion.

I told my Ortho that I am an avid skier and his jaw dropped. There is not a worse thing I can do with this injury. I am going with the latter two options and the doctor recommended a custom splint to use while skiing. There is still a pretty significant chance that skiing may reinjure it, but the good news is that this season is saved.

I was so prepared for the worst. This turned out infinitely better than the alternative.

Posted by Justin at 04:18 PM | Comments (2)

Preparing the Kids for the Season

Went to the condo a couple weeks ago with Jake and Jackson. Every year they outgrow their stuff. I keep buying stuff big and even then they outgrow it. Both hit a major growth spurt this year but it looks like both are good on the boots for another year or two.

Here is my gear checklist:

  • Skis - both are in 150's this year with Jake on his new K2 Juvy 150's and Jack on his Salomon 1080 Thruster 150's. Jarrett is gonna either be on Jake's K2 125's or on the 1080 Fish 130's.
  • Boots - Jake has new Nordica Supercharger 26.5's and Jack has a year old pair of Rossi 26.5's. They actually have the same size feet. Jake is gonna be a big kid. Jarrett is rolling in Jake's Nordica GTS 23.5's.
  • Jackets - Question is whether the trickle down effect from Jack to Jake to Jarrett happens this year or next. TBD.
  • Helmets - Jarrett needs a new one, but again trickle down may happen. Jack and Jake both have Giro Bad Lt. helmets and all of us have the Skull Candy headphones to go along with them.
  • Thermals - again, gotta check. We got tons of them, but it depends on how much the kids have grown.
  • Gloves, misc... - All should still work.

I have dropped 45 lbs since last season. I got pretty big at 275. I was a high school O-lineman and wrestler and it finally caught up with me that I needed to drop considerably. I am down slightly under 230. I have been a 2XL guy for forever but went in to Sports Authority and was trying on XL pants and jackets and they were the right size. My 2XL stuff is like a tent. Debating what to pick up, but got the new Skiing Mag with all their gear stuff and I may spring for some new gear... Just that I can't use it.

This is the nice thing about being a regular. Maybe I have to buy a Jacket, helmet or some thermals and I have three kids outfitted. With almost brand new gear. Every year it is a little bit of stuff, but with three of them, hand-me-downs rock. Plus I e-Bay all the equipment in April when prices are rock bottom. That helps. It certainly keeps costs manageable.

I just can't wait to get Lindsey geared up and skiing. Girl stuff is so cool. I hate to say it, but it really is. Even for women. It used to be that everything was unisex or else it was the old school one pieces in hot pink or jackets with huge fur collars. Now, they have more and more cool stuff.

Posted by Justin at 12:42 AM | Comments (1)

A New Focus for the Season

I got borderline depressed last week when I got the news about the hand. I mean literally depressed. I had a psychologist appointment on Friday morning about 18 hours after I got the x-ray done and could see the bone fragment in the film and well before the doctor confirmed what I already knew. Not quite stick me in the hospital depressed, but more like up my dosage of Welbutrin depressed.

So here are the thoughts going through my head over the last five days:

  • If this is the worst God is gonna give me this winter, say a thank you prayer. This is probably the biggest thought. It sucks, but it could suck so much worse. I mean in perspective, this doesn't even suck that much once you get over the initial shock of it.
  • It is my right hand. Sucks to be in a cast. Until I think about my cousin Nat and her husband Jeff who got me into Jeeping. Jeff of the Rubicon that pulled my crappy old Wrangler X out of the sand even though I was sporting the 33" tires, lift, and all kinds of toys. Rubicon means business. Jeff lost his hand in a blasting cap accident when he was 21. We are the same age. He never so much as complains.
  • At least it is not an ACL. AT LEAST IT IS NOT AN ACL.
  • I gotta suck it up and keep making the trip to Brian Head despite the fact that I will be relegated to the lodge or condo. Jake, Jackson and Jarrett deserve that. I can probably sneak in a run or two with them if I am careful and smart.
  • My psychologist has been warning me about overdoing it with all the stuff I have going on right now. Tickets to three major sports. Kid in Pop Warner. Wick in the playoffs. Business stuff. Work stuff. Patent work in my spare time. This is my chance to slow down and get back some perspective.
  • Chicks dig scars. OK, maybe not, but I will surely get better at lying about how it happened. I wish I didn't have this stupid blog that captures things and basically tells the world about my life. Then it would be so much easier to make up something cool about breaking it in Double A right before September call-ups and it ending my dream of playing first base in the Bigs. Something cool like that. My step brother Josh used crap like that to pick up chicks in bars all his life. =) (Jer will confirm that and will probably leave some comments here about it.)
  • How much Vicodin and Percocet can I get for it. Dude, that stuff rocks.

I have an appointment with the ortho tomorrow and I am sure that he will do surgery almost immediately. Cut the damned thing and get me healing. The sooner the better.

Posted by Justin at 12:22 AM

October 28, 2007

How Much is a Season Worth - Skiers Thumb

This article on e-Medicine contains the standard treatment program for Skiers Thumb, or a Ulnar Collateral Ligament tear. Mine is a tear with a fracture meaning they have to do surgery and the cast will remain on longer.

In addition to the 6-8 weeks of immobilization with casting or splinting, the patient should avoid activities that risk reinjury for approximately another 6 weeks. An orthosis can be fitted to protect the patient's thumb to prevent further delay in return to activity.

When properly treated, patients with a UCL injury have a good prognosis for returning to their premorbid level of functioning. A missed diagnosis that delays the repair of a complete UCL rupture leads to a less favorable prognosis.

I have already waited a month to get the surgery. That is strike one. I ski and don't plan to quit which increases the chance of future injury. Stike two. So now, I basically have to write off the next 12-14 weeks of skiing. That is November, December and all of January.

I have a hand surgery consult on Tuesday and assume they will do surgery almost immediately. If they don't do surgery right away or if the injury does not heal well, this is the end of my season before it even got started.

Needless to say, I am beyond bummed. The condo is FINALLY done. Everything is finished except for a tiny piece of trim around the ladder. This was the year I could completely enjoy the place. I am not offering my little sob story here, but it sucks nonetheless.

So here are my choices:

  • Blow off surgery for now and hope it heals. This is probably the worst thing I can do because I type for a living at my computer, love to blog, and am active. This just weakens the joint and is not really an option.
  • Get surgery and try to come back early. Again, increases the risk of reinjury.
  • Take a season off, relax, and get ready for next year.

I am going to have surgery and wear the cast for the early season until December. Then get a good hard splint and tape the living heck out of it. And see where that gets me. I have to play it by ear, but am hoping to be back in January.

Anyone out there had a UCL injury? Had surgery? Had an Avulsion Fracture? Lemme know what to expect.

Posted by Justin at 01:15 PM

October 25, 2007

Add the Title "Inventor" to my Resume

I have never been as proud of an accomplishment as I am of this one:

The US Patent Office has issued Patent 7284165 to Justin Blackburn, Jason Auvenshine, and Chris Jacoby:

A system, method and program for troubleshooting a problem with an application. An application server which is supposed to be executing the application and a database or a server which manages the database are identified. The application, when executing, obtains data from the database to respond to a client request. The application server, database or database server, and a connection between the application server and the database or database server are generated and displayed or printed. Also, one or more hyperlinks to automatically send a hardware, software, or network status inquiry to the application server to test operability of the application server and/or a connection to the application server and automatically send a hardware, software, or network status inquiry to the database server to test operability of the database server and/or a connection to the database server are generated and displayed or printed. In accordance with a feature of the present invention, in response to a selection of the one or more hyperlinks, the application server and database server are automatically pinged. The invention also resides in a system and program for automatically identifying the database or database server by querying the application server, and generating and displaying or printing the diagram of the application server, database or database server, and a connection between the application server and the database or database server.

This is my first Patent ever issued. I have 10 pending... wait... 9 pending. Well, technically 8 pending and one about to be filed.

Now, I can add "Inventor" to my resume. I am kinda stoked.

Posted by Justin at 11:32 PM

Thumb Avulsion Fracture

So not cool. About a month ago, I went to Sams Club and was going to grab a shopping cart. When I went to grab it, I snapped my thumb back and I thought I hyperextended it. Well, two weeks later, it didn't get better so I went to see my doctor. He sent me for x-rays and said that I will probably need to see a hand surgeon. Well, now I know why:

Here is a handy dandy website that explains the strange foreign body that I noticed on my x-rays:

The joint that is affected at the bottom of the thumb is called the metacarpophalangeal, or MCP, joint.Any hard force on the thumb that pulls the thumb away from the hand (called a valgus force) can cause damage to the ulnar collateral ligaments. When the thumb is straight, the collateral ligaments are tight and stabilize the joint against valgus force. If the force is too strong, the ligaments are damaged. They may even tear completely. A complete tear is also called a rupture.

When the collateral ligaments tear, the MCP joint becomes very unstable. It is especially unstable when the thumb is bent back. If one of the ligaments pulls away from the bone and folds backwards, it won't be able to heal in the correct position. When this happens, surgery is needed to fix the ligament.

Sometimes the ligament itself will not tear but instead pulls a small piece of bone off the base of the thumb where it attaches. This is called an avulsion fracture. This can also lead to an unstable thumb joint if the fracture does not heal correctly.

Avulsion Injury to Thumb

Here is an example x-ray similar to mine. It is also often called "Gamekeeper's Thumb" because the injury commonly occurs to soccer goalkeepers.

Gamekeeper's Thumb

When the ulnar collateral ligament is injured, the MCP joint becomes painful and swollen, and the thumb feels weak when you pinch or grasp. You may see bruise-like discolorations on the skin around the joint. The loose end of the torn ligament may form a bump that can be felt along the edge of the thumb near the palm of the hand. A torn ligament makes it difficult to hold or squeeze things between your thumb and index finger.

If the ligaments are only partially torn, they usually heal without surgery. Your thumb will be immobilized for four to six weeks in a special cast, called a thumb spica cast. After that, you will begin to do exercises to regain your range of motion and to strengthen your grip.

Getting treatment soon after an injury to the collateral ligament of the thumb may improve your ability to regain strength and range of motion.

If the ligaments are completely torn, you will most likely have surgery to repair them. A torn ligament cannot fully heal itself. Surgery for the thumb collateral ligaments is usually done as an outpatient procedure, meaning you will probably go home the same day as the surgery.

In the surgery, your doctor will make a small V- or S-shaped cut over the back of the MCP joint of the thumb. This helps isolate and protect the nerve branches running up your thumb. Your doctor will then cut through a sheet of tissue called the adductor aponeurosis. This helps expose the MCP joint and the ligaments. The area around the injury is examined for any soft tissue damage. Your surgeon then repairs the ligaments with stitches that anchor them back to the bone.

Patients who are treated nonsurgically with a thumb spica cast start an exercise program when the cast is removed, usually after four to six weeks. Motion and strength usually improve within another two to four weeks, allowing people to get back to normal activity.

If you have surgery, you will be placed in a thumb spica cast for four weeks. Some doctors will take the spica cast off at four weeks and then place your thumb in an immobilizing splint for another two weeks. Some patients work with a physical or occupational therapist to help regain range of motion and strength in the thumb. Most patients are able to return to normal activity three months after their surgery.

Yeah, so this totally sucks. First, it is going to affect my skiing this winter. Second, it will affect my blogging. Finally, it will affect my job. But I get paid when on disability, so this isn't the worst thing in the world. No Xbox360. No typing. No work.

Now, there is always the possibility that I am misinterpreting the foreign body floating in my thumb x-ray after a valgus force and the accompanying pain that has lasted almost a month. I have a consult with a hand surgeon the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

Posted by Justin at 11:12 PM | Comments (2)

October 07, 2007


Quick update on Jake--

The Far West Steelers are undefeated and unstoppable. All the countless hours of taking Jake to ballgames his whole life are starting to pay dividends. He got his second start this week and is going to be starting the rest of the way at offensive guard.

Today, on the first series of the game, I watched him have an absolute de-cleater block on a kid. Not just a knockdown, but a "what just hit me" moment for the kid. Two plays later, I watched him on back to back plays literally drive his man 10 yards off the ball. It is fun to watch. His playoffs are going to run until Thanksgiving if they make the Championship so skiing will have to wait a little bit.

We had parent teacher conferences this week and his teacher just raved about him. Great student. So now, he has earned the right to miss school by working hard so far. That means my wife cannot yell at me for taking off for 4-5 days at a time to go skiing.

We are making plans for the season. I want him throwing a 360, solid 180's, riding switch, and sticking a switch 180 this year. Nothing major, but that is what we are working towards. Improving his carving, especially when he is intimidated by steeps. He still tends to try to slow down and his form suffers when it gets steep. But I really want to see him and Jacko jib. Just cause when all their buddies that snowboard think they are all cool, my kids will two plank it and do some damage.

Posted by Justin at 12:31 AM | Comments (1)

September 25, 2007

Helping Out with Linux

Got an e-mail from a peer today who was in Linux hell. New Redhat server trying to run mysql and wordpress and for whatever reason the install was not working right and kept blowing up.

My first response--send me a shell prompt and a root login. NOT. GONNA. HAPPEN.

So it is hunt and peck and pray time.

Two hours and a dead phone handset later and we have the server working, but there is something funky about her firewall, internal network, DNS, or something. The server works for me to the outside world and I can get to it, but she is having the page blow up.

Now, I am not asking for help or trying to figure out life's little mysteries. It just made me feel pretty good to do some troubleshooting and some Linux sys admin work for the first time in the last year or two. I sat there and busted out an old dusty O'Reilly book on mysql and was feeding her command line info. Trying to explain what "pwd" and "chmod" and "chown" and "mv" and "ls" were. And she keeps telling me, if you just wanted me to move that directory to this location, I can drag and drop it. Why you keep telling me to mv blah /blah/blah?

Good news is that it is for a new blog up north and I am so stoked to see it up and running. I know the author and read her myspace page and it is hysterical. I will post a link when it comes up.

Posted by Justin at 10:37 PM

September 21, 2007

Jarrett Receives 1st Grade Math Award

So this makes two kids in school, two math awards.

Couple great facts about that:

  • I got a C in Calc I in college and decided I didn't want a Biology or Chem degree because I hate math
  • My mom has a Masters of Education in Math
  • My stepdad has a PhD in Math and is a college professor

Let's hope my kids are brainiacs from Smartron. My love for math and difficult subjects probably explains my Business Degree.

Posted by Justin at 03:18 PM | Comments (1)

Jake Nominated for Pop Warner All-American Scholar Program and Receives 5th Grade Math Award

Details on the program here:

Each year, the most academically accomplished Pop Warner kids compete for Academic All-American status. This process begins at the association level and up through each of the eight Pop Warner regions to the national level. In 2004, approximately 380,000 kids participated in Pop Warner. As our numbers once again reached record levels, 276 First Team members, over 4,200 Second Team members and 900 Honorable Mention scholars were named as Academic All-Americans at the National Level for 2004-2005.

The PWLS All-American Program requires a minimum 96% grade point average to apply for All-American status. After the applications have been processed, Pop Warner determines National First Team All-Americans (35 football, 25 cheer per grade), National Second Team All-Americans and National Honorable Mention Scholars.

The criteria are as follows:

  • Currently be in 5th Grade or higher for the Pop Warner Season
  • Have a 96% Grade Point Average (GPA) from your previous school year's report card.
  • Have a Complete Full-Year's Report Card from your previous school year to prove eligibility

Wednesday, he received the 5th Grade Math Award for his school.

Straight A student. Loves football and skiing. Never swears, ever (I have no idea where this comes from because I am a Arizona Cardinals fan and he goes to games with me). Loves the Suns, Cards, and ASU.

The only negatives I can think of are that he beats the crap out of his brother and has an incredibly sarcastic sense of humor. And based on the way I have raised him, he gets both of those traits from me.

I am pretty proud of the Redhead.

Posted by Justin at 03:10 PM | Comments (1)

September 12, 2007

Why Lindsey's Breath and Nose Have Smelled So Bad

Lindsey has had a nasty sinus infection for the last three weeks. The smell has been unbearable. Nasty discharge. Green and putrid.

Finally, Tera took her to the pediatrician to figure out what it is and get some antibiotics.

Well it wasn't an infection. 9" long piece of string wedged in her nose. Couldn't see it, but the doc said almost instantly when Tera described it "Foreign Body". I guess they get this all the time.

Her breath literally smelled like ass. Like she was eating her own poop. Mints didn't help. I thought she had something serious wrong. This is for all the parents out there.

Posted by Justin at 11:12 AM | Comments (2)

September 11, 2007

Car Trouble

Last week, we headed up to Brian Head. So the Avy has 150k miles on it and had never had shocks and struts redone. So prior to taking the fam on a 1000 mile roadie, I took the truck to the shop. Turns out it also needs a tie rod. $1000 +/- later, but the thing rides much better.

Just as soon as I paid off the budgetted repairs, I get the license plate renewals for the Jeep and the Avy. There is another $800.

On to Utah. The truck is not running real well and is occasionally struggling to climb hills at 75. Weirdness. But we get there and all is well. On the way back, we are halfway between Hoover Dam and Kingman in the middle of nowhere on a 105 degree day and boom. The thing just dies. No power. Dead. I have had this happen to me 100 times before in my old Mustang (ask Tera and Jeremy about what happened). I figure it is the fuel pump and hope... pray... that it is just a bad fuse or a clogged filter. We call Geico for a tow into Kingman.

Nope, not the fuse and it is the fuel pump. The part alone is almost $500. Then there is removing the driveline, siphoning the gas, and dropping the tank. New filter. 5 hours of labor. And to top off the $1050 bill (which I haggled down to $900) is that the part isn't in stock. We spent the night in wonderful Kingman in a hotel with three kids who missed two days of school over it.

So I get back and the tires on the truck are about dead. 45k miles on them and they are rated for 50k. Not in bad shape and have enough tread left that they are still pretty good tires. I figure it is about time to go back to 16 inch rims. The 20's ride like crap because of no sidewall, plus they are hurting the gas mileage. I have a set of brand new tires in a 16" on the Jeep and figure that I can sell my 20's and tires for enough to pay for a set of rims for the Avy. Then I will swap the Jeep's 31x10.50's that are new onto the Avy and put new tires on the jeep (which I have been wanting to do anyway). Net is that if I sell my old rims, I get a new set of rims and tires on the Avy and new tires on the jeep for the cost of a set of new tires. Rims and tires = $2100 (which I haggled down to $1800 at Discount by grabbing price quotes and refusing to pay for their certificates and warrantee and lifetime whatever whatever).

  • Shocks, Struts and Tie Rod - $1000
  • License for Jeep and Truck - $800
  • Fuel Pump - $900
  • Tires for Jeep - $1200
  • Rims for Truck - $600 (less probably $500 for the old ones)

That is over $4500 any way you slice it. In the span of a week. But the jeep now has 33x12.50's and the Avy has new tires and a new suspension and a new fuel pump and both are legal to drive again. And the jeep looks pimped. I will post new pics of it shortly with the new rack on top.

I am heading to the credit union to withdraw from the savings account so that the mortgage doesn't bounce. =)

Posted by Justin at 12:03 PM | Comments (2)

August 08, 2007


So Monday started a new era for young Jacob. Welcome to the world of football.

Jake went to his first football game--a Rattlers Playoff Game (Arena)--when he was 3 months old. In August that year, he went to his first ASU games (several) when he was 8-9 months. That year, he was on my shoulders watching Blue Ridge in the title games against Boys Ranch then later, Payson. The last 5 years, he has been on my hip working the chains in Wickenburg. Add in a Monday night game when Steve Young's career ended and Sun Devils games... yeah, he has seen plenty of football.

Now he is a football PLAYER. He has never seen the work that goes into it. He watches games and has not been through a practice. Seeing him soaked in sweat and seeing Tera watching practice and keep asking me "How many of those running things are they gonna do?" "Isn't that a bit much for a 10 year old?" "Isn't that coach being too hard on them?"

It is so fun to think of him as the six year old crying halfway down the mountain at Sunrise or the toddler on my shoulders at a high school game. 5th Grade started Monday. I feel older every day.

Posted by Justin at 02:52 PM | Comments (1)

July 30, 2007

New Car - VW Passat

Live Earth didn't impact my decision to by a car that gets 32 MPG. Global Warming didn't factor in trying to cut the use on the big SUV down. But gas prices sure did.

That my friends is the free market. Gas prices rise and people have economic incentive to cut back on their fuel usage. Problem is that this means we have three cars instead of two.

So what does that mean for America? More folks like me in the suburbs making a solid upper middle class income are choosing to instead of downsize their big SUV's, to buy third vehicles.

DETROIT, May 25 — With gas prices well over $3 a gallon nationwide, many drivers are lining up to buy small cars.

But hundreds of thousands of consumers aren’t giving up anything to downsize. Instead, they are simply adding pint-size transportation to their driveways, parked alongside their S.U.V. or pickup.

In households that own a small car, the family fleet is close to an average of three vehicles, according to CNW Marketing Research, which tracks industry trends (the national average is just over two cars per household; America was a one-car-per-family nation a generation ago).

These growing fleets suggest an approach to conservation that is more addition than subtraction.

What environmental statement does this testiment to our wealth send? Did I really do the environment a favor to cut gas consumption without cutting the miles that I drive and by having an automaker produce another vehicle that undoubtedly requires far more greenhouse gases to mine the metal, produce the electricity to build, transport across the Atlantic, and eventually save a few miles to the gallon?

I am gonna say that this is a net negative to the environment. Every single SUV that is traded in for a Prius is gobbled up by some family in the suburbs. They aren't retired and recycled. My Avy has 150k miles on it and I have no intention of selling it (but then again, I couldn't if I wanted to with 150k miles).

But all that said, the thing is pimped. Way better than our Jetta. More HP, bigger interior, and surprisingly even better mileage than the smaller Jetta. I will post pics shortly.

Posted by Justin at 01:29 PM | Comments (1)

July 14, 2007

Hacking the RAZR

I have a Motorola V3C RAZR that is pretty cool (though it is kinda 2005 old school now). But Verizon Wireless are a bunch of punks with disabling most of the cool stuff it can do. Can you hear me now?

My buddy Chris at Brian Head turned me on to this site that has all the hacks that are necessary to enable you to create and load your own ringtones from mp3's and to use your PC to sync data files, pictures, music, etc. with your phone.

You gotta get Motorola Phone Tools and do what is called a seem edit which is kinda like what Tera had to do to my favorite Levis last week when they got snagged in the dryer door and ripped. I trust her to edit those seams, but messing with the firmwear on my phone is probably out of her league. But the walk through is pretty simple and well documented on the site.

So now I have created two ringtones, synced up my Outlook calender with all my football games (Wick, ASU, Cardinals) in the phone, and in general played around with it. Ringtones loaded are Judith by A Perfect Circle and Beer by Reel Big Fish. I am still playing, but at $2.00 per pop or more from Verizon, I see why they lock down their phones. I am glad that there are folks out there smarter than me that hack things like that. You can even change the animations when it starts as well as the backgrounds, text, etc., of the main screens.

BUT BE WARNED--Seem edits violate the warrantee on the phone and can hose it for you. Considering that a RAZR is like $75 on e-Bay now, I can take that change as opposed to buying ringtones.

Posted by Justin at 06:43 PM

July 07, 2007

Shell Lake, Wyoming

OK, we took the avalanche to Wyoming instead of the Jeep so this does not go under "jeeping".

Outside of Greybull, Wyoming, you can head into the Big Horn Mountains via Shell Creek Canyon. Right as the creek leaves the roadside and the road curves at the top of the canyon, there is a road to the right side that winds out and around 10 or so miles up to Shell Lake.

Jake and Jackson spent two days decimating the brook trout population with worms. We took out our limit both days and that does not count those 30-40 that we lost back into the lake for various reasons, i.e. came off the hook, flopped away while taking them off the hook, etc. After fishing the lake for about 4 hours today, we were preparing to leave and decided to fish the creek below the spillway for about 15 minutes. Just my dad fishing and us exploring. One cast, one fish. Two and two. And so on. In a matter of 20 minutes, he caught another 20 fish. It was insane.

But then our fun ended. It became Friday PM and the entire world had the same idea we did--to beat the heat and head to the mountains. We passed truck after truck of campers headed to where we had just been.

It is interesting to head up on the Big Horns. I spent most of my childhood up here until I moved to Arizona in high school. I still remember most of the places I went as a 10-12 year old. And now Jake and Jackson are that age.

My grandparents had their ashes spread right by where we camped after they died 10 years ago. My uncle Lynn had his spread at the other end of the mountains near our old cabins. Lynnie died two weeks before Jake was born. He was a mountain man deluxe. Beard. Dirty hair and clothes. And camped constantly. He had no use for the city or most of the comforts of life. Just the mountains. He would camp just about anywhere. But these mountains were his and my grandparents' home.

So we have close to 100 brookies, a filthy Avalanche, some horrible sunburns, about a million mesquito bites, probably malaria and West Nile Virus, and some new memories. Plus a ton of pictures that are forthcoming when I get time to upload them. Jake isn't much of a fisherman and I am about worthless so my dad got to teach his baby boy (who is 32) how to fish again. Well, not quite that bad, but fishing has never been my thing. I spent about three hours doing it with Jake and Jarrett though and most of that was trying to get knots out of Jake's line and trying to keep him from making a mess of things. Not a bad way to spend some time with the kids that doesn't involve skiing.

Posted by Justin at 01:00 AM | Comments (1)

June 04, 2007

Final Season of BSG


The official announcement didn't come until June 1, but "Battlestar Galactica's" executive producers had an idea that the show was nearing its end point several months ago.

"I think it was somewhere around the midpoint of (last) season, when we were working on the story where we'd gotten to the algae planet and discovered the temple" devoted to the final five Cylons, executive producer Ron Moore told reporters Friday. The discovery of the temple led to Cylon D'Anna Biers (Lucy Lawless) catching a glimpse of the final five, and that in turn triggered a beacon that pointed the way to Earth for the human fleet.

"And by the end of the season, we had taken that moment and moved it to the revelation of four of the five Cylons, and one of our characters had actually been to Earth and seen it," Moore notes. "But that was sort of the moment where we started to feel like, if we don't start to pay this off and don't really reveal those secrets and move in that direction, we'd get to a place where it would feel like we're jerking (around) the audience."

Not wanting to do that, and feeling like they could wrap things up in one last batch of episodes, Moore and fellow executive producer David Eick told the Sci Fi Channel that they wanted to bring the Peabody Award-winning, critically hailed "Battlestar Galactica" to a close.

Ironic that this came out today. This entire weekend, I was pretty much lazy and bored with no jeeping and Tera taking finals for school so we were stuck at home. I finished the entire mini-series, Season 1, and all of Season 2.0. Last night I started Season 2.5. Just got bored and there is no new TV on, plus when you buy a TV show on video, you gotta watch it occasionally or you just wasted money. What a great series and it makes it even better when you know who 11 of the 12 Cylons are. In August, Heroes Season 1 comes out and I can take it off the iPod and buy the DVD's.

Now some philosophy on digital media and content. First, I don't pirate music or tv shows or movies. I figure if it is something I like, part of the feedback mechanism to show what we like is TO PAY FOR IT. If quality programming dies because it is not economically viable and trash like Two and a Half Men and Let's Make a Deal and American Idol and Dancing with the Stars is, then I won't have anything worth stealing. I buy what I like. And what is $40 for an entire season of a tv show that I love, uncut, with no commercials worth? Here is my math:

15 minutes per episode worth of commercials = 1/4 of an hour. 1/4 of an hour times $1.99 per episode = $8 per hour. That is what I save by spending an hour watching crappy commercials. Or worse, spending 7 minutes fast forwarding through them and having to rewind because I pass the spot on the TIVO. Or worse, trying to download stuff off of bittorrent and worrying about spyware and hackers and all the other problems with file sharing. $1.99 for a TV show on iTunes is a steal in my mind. Plus it is instant feedback of the sort that worked for both Futurama and Family Guy to get them back on the air (and I own DVD sets for all episodes of both). I have Arrested Development (all episodes), The Office S1-2, Earl S1, BSG 1-2.5, Robot Chicken, and so on on DVD. I loan them out often and it keeps my TIVO from filling up with old episodes that I can watch any time I want plus it saves hard drive space for other stuff. That said, buying music off of iTunes is a ripoff. Paying $.99 for a 4mb MP3 file is retarded, but $1.99 for a 640x480 digital rip of a 45min TV Show compressed down to 500mb is a whole different story.

Just my $.02... or more appropriately my $1.99.

Posted by Justin at 10:15 PM

May 29, 2007

PBS Kids Sprout

Having my daughter home with me gives me all kinds of stuff to keep me entertained. Between Jarrett and Lindsey, most of our tv time involves PBS Kids.

The Good:

  • Jakers - The Adventures of Pigglywinks (love this show)
  • Thomas the Tank Engine (Jarrett's favorite)
  • Sesame Street and Barney (oldies, but mandatory)
  • Sagwa
  • Berenstein Bears

The really not so good:

  • Boobah (makes me want to stick a hot poker in my eye and drown myself in the bathtub)
  • Pingu (what is up with squeeking meaningless noises)
  • Teletubbies (because Tinky Winky promotes the gay lifestyle according to Jerry Falwell and even if he doesn't, Teletubbies still annoy me to death)
  • Gerald McBoingboing (not on PBS, but the most annoying cartoon noises ever)
  • The Wonderpets (also not PBS, the lispy annoying voices are almost too much)

Welcome to my world. I work while Lindsey plays in the background and watches PBS Sprout. I sacrifice a lot of potential earning power by choosing not to change jobs and go somewhere that pays more. It lets me go to the condo and telecommute as well as be home when the kids get here. I am only tethered to a DSL line or wirefi hotspot. Today, Lindsey and I went and grabbed our Starbucks (as we always do), got the mail, mailed a package, went by the bank, and hung out. Next week, I am planning to work from the condo. Being able to watch PBS with my kids (even though Erich says the Republicans in Congress want to defund it and kill Big Bird) is probably the coolest thing about life.

Here is a picture of Jake, Jarrett, Lindsey and Jackson. Note that the only reason they aren't fighting over which two get the Xbox360 controls is because Jarrett has the PSP.

Posted by Justin at 02:57 PM

May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

Remember the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and thank them for their sacrifice. And remember those that fought and died protecting us. We owe them all a debt of gratitude.


MURFREESBORO, TN (h/t wizbangblog)—Heather Southward Golczynski pulled six more letters out of her mailbox Tuesday, sent from across the nation by people touched by her husband's sacrifice and her son's courage.

Her husband, Marine Staff Sgt. Marcus "Marc" Golczynski, was killed in Iraq on March 27. At his funeral in April, Daily News Journal photographer Aaron Thompson captured Marc Golczynski's teary-eyed son, 8-year-old Christian, accepting a U.S. flag from his father's casket.

It was a picture of a moment that moved many Americans and stirred national interest in the Golczynskis' story.

There is nothing more honorable than being in service of others. Our military members don't get paid much (I still remember trying to make ends meet as an E-3). They work long hours. They do dangerous work. And far too often they get called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice.

When you see them, thank them for their courage and remember those that weren't so lucky.

Posted by Justin at 04:35 PM

May 02, 2007

Get Your Lazy Butt in the Gym has a good article on offseason workouts for skiing:

The most efficient and thorough strength workout is on Nautilus type exercise machines. "Nautilus" has become a generic term for any brand of exercise machine that isolates individual muscle groups. These machines are usually grouped so that moving from one machine to the next is a progression, or circuit of working related muscle groups.

These circuit machines have become very popular and you will surely find them if you belong to a YMCA, or most any modern health or fitness club.

At first the machines may seem a little complicated or torturous looking, but be assured after a short while you will get the hang of bouncing from machine to machine for a some good strength training.

Then more info about specific exercises. Worth reading for some generic info about a good all around workout routine for building the muscles that enable stonger skiing.

I have a couple of very specific weak points. First, and I don't know their exact name, the muscles that oppose the calf muscles on the front of the shin are weak. This causes pain and soreness after a long ski day because you are constantly using your lower legs to shift weight on your skis. Second, my quads get fatigued late in the day.

I have decided for a variety of reasons (read my fat ass) to begin a consistent workout routine. Our local YMCA is brand new, cheap, has great childcare, and is a few miles away. I am trying to spend four days per week there. It is a month now and I certainly feel stronger and more fit. I am also walking and biking more.

I ain't exactly serious enough be calling Victor Conti for the cream and the clear yet, but I am hoping that I can build working out into my pattern during the week. It takes some dedication, but I genuinely feel better lately.

Posted by Justin at 03:04 PM

April 20, 2007

4/20 4:20

Just wanted to send a shout out to every unemployed, convenience store, or fast food worker that it is your favorite holiday. Drop out of college, spark up the bong, and grab the snowboard because this weekend is the last of the season at most resorts.

I apologize if this offends any college dropouts, convenience store workers, fast food workers, or unemployed folks by falsely accusing them of having motivational difficulties due to their marijuana use. Certainly, I apologize to any snowboarders who are none of the above... both of you.

Posted by Justin at 04:20 PM

April 17, 2007

Heroes of VA Tech

This is off of Hotnews and is inspiring.

Israeli professor of Romanian origin Liviu Librescu numbers among those killed in the Virginia Tech University massacre on Monday. According to the International Herald Tribune, Librescu sacrificed his life to save his students. He had blocked the access to the his class so that students can run from the attacker.

Librescu, 77, was teaching at the Virginia Tech University for 20 years.

Israeli media also announce the death of Liviu Librescu. The online edition of the Jerusalem Post reports that he was shot to death, while writes that he was killed during his attempt to block the access to the class.

Alec Calhoun, a student who witnessed his death, told the Associated Press that he saw her teacher blocking the door to the class while some of her colleagues were hiding, while others were jumping out of the window.

The professor had been driven to school by his wife less than an hour before he was shot.

AP writes that his wife Marlina and sons Arieh and Joe have already started to prepare for his burial in Israel.

His daughter-in-law Ayala has said the professor was very passionate of his work and a dedicated family man, while University colleagues described him as a “real gentleman”.

Liviu Librescu graduated the Politechnical University in Bucharest in 1952 with a specialization in aeronautical engineering. In 1972, he received the Traian Vuia Award of the Romanian Academy of Sciences.

In 1979-1886 he served as mechanical engineering professor at the Tel Aviv University.

According to, he and his wife were survivors of the Holocaust who immigrated to Israel from Romania in 1978.

That is what a hero is. Self sacrifice to save others.

Posted by Justin at 06:29 PM | Comments (2)

March 13, 2007

Rachael Ray

So at another blog that I regularly visit, there was a friendly discussion of favorite celebrities. I have added some pictures of my favorite from her article in FHM (located below the fold).

Posted by Justin at 03:19 PM | Comments (1)

February 23, 2007

Deja Vu - Why Do TV Viewers Frakking Suck?

Imagine a critically acclaimed show that has legions of hardcore fans, but cannot get mainstream appeal despite moves to different nights and times. Ah, Arrested Development. AD sweated every season that the networks would abandon their show for "Skating with Celebrities" or "American Idol" or whatever crap Fox replaced the best written show on TV with.

Well, the landscape isn't that different for Battlestar Galactica. BSG got picked up for Season 4, but there is some reservation. I am telling you all this because it would suck to cut short the series before it hits 100 and ends up in syndication and has a chance to complete their story line.

For a while, things looked iffy for "Battlestar Galactica." After the Sci Fi Channel last month moved the third-season drama about a human resistance movement against an occupying race of robots from Friday nights to Sunday nights in an attempt to goose ratings, viewership remained stagnant. The network has ruled, however, that the show won't live by numbers alone: The Sci Fi Channel is expected to announce Tuesday that it has renewed the series for a fourth season. At least 13 new episodes will be produced this summer for a premiere next January.

The show's audience has always been modest, especially when compared with those for basic cable's "The Closer" and "Nip/Tuck," which typically reach double or triple the audience of "Battlestar Galactica." Since moving to 10 p.m. Sundays, the science-fiction show's episodes have averaged 1.7 million viewers overall and 1.1 viewers ages 18 to 49, the key demographic targeted by advertisers.

But "Battlestar Galactica" stands as one of the most critically acclaimed series on television. It also won the prestigious Peabody Award and was counted among the American Film Institute's top 10 outstanding TV programs two years in a row. Critics often describe the show in lofty terms, referring to it as a multilayered allegory for a post-9/11 world that raises questions about the ethics and politics of war...

Stern also pointed out that 510,000 additional viewers in the 18-to-49 demographic are watching the show on digital video recorders. They bring the total demographic average closer to 1.6 million, the show's highest numbers since Season 1. Advertisers, however, do not yet pay for the playback ratings because the general assumption is that viewers watching recorded programs fast-forward through the commercials. It could be a crucial point for the channel, and Stern is hopeful that the business model is shifting...

Bringing back moderately rated, critically hailed series has largely been the privilege of subscription-based networks such as HBO and Showtime [why do their names pop up and why does that always spell trouble], which don't make money from advertisers. The Sci Fi Channel acknowledged that "Battlestar Galactica" is the network's most expensive original series, but costs are also offset by strong DVD sales (more than 1 million discs of the show have been sold).

STOP TIVOing THE SHOW AND WATCH IT LIVE (and to a certain buddy of mine STOP DOWNLOADING IT OFF OF BIT TORRENT OR COPYING THE DVD's FROM YOUR BUDDIES). I spoke with my friend and we will refer to him as Mr. E (a reference to Mr. F from Arrested Development) who explained how evil corporations are and that movies and music and software should be free and copyleft and open source and so on. Then he pops in a pirated copy of the best sci-fi drama on TV at the time (and now it is in a tie with Heroes in my book). We watch the pilot mini series and I am hooked. He offers to burn me the DVD's. I went out and bought them the next day (from Walmart which will really piss him off) and explained that I believe purchasing products and watching advertising as repulsive as it may be is how they fund the development of the series and how they choose what to keep on the air. If I don't buy the DVD's and watch the show live, my voice is not heard and the shows I like will go off of the air. [inside note to Mr. E, I am only throwing the bomb of Walmart, corporations, and open source out there for you because we are heading north to ski sometime soon and we need something to pass the time between PHX and Summit]

I don't watch a lot of TV, but the shows that I will not and cannot miss include AD, BSG, Heroes, It's Always Sunny, The Office, Earl, Family Guy, and Futurama. Note how AD, BSG, Family Guy and Futurama all had the exact same stories written about them. Scary stuff.

Posted by Justin at 11:21 PM

February 13, 2007

Valentine's Day Purchases

My wife actually reads my blog occasionally. Tonight she told me that she had no idea what to get a guy like me that is so picky and seems to have everything.

Then she read my blog and said I had a post that had the perfect idea of what she should get me for Valentine's Day.

Dude, I sure hope it is the Ferrari. =)

Posted by Justin at 09:44 PM | Comments (2)

White and Nerdy

Perhaps the funniest thing I have seen in a while. No, wait this is funnier and is the definition of "white and nerdy":

This gentleman is selling his 1984 Ferrari Testarossa on e-Bay. Awesome, but before I buy a car for $60,000 from a dude, I better check the feedback for antiques71. You know, to see what kind of buyer and seller he is. Let's have a look at the last item he bought from eBay user aftenterprises on November 30th...

Please endulge me by going to those links and seeing what Antiques71 is all about. Me thinks that after his November 30th Purchase, he does not need his Ferrari Testarossa anymore. I kept screenshots in PDF so that I have this around for a while after the links die.

Posted by Justin at 01:11 PM | Comments (4)

Green Article of Mine Appears in UK Environmental Site

I wrote an article that appears on the website about environmental issues in America. The last paragraph has a favorite quote:

It is important to separate the fluff that most companies use in their “environmentally friendly PR articles” with the substance of what we can actually do to have an impact on our precious resources. Recycle paper, plastics, and aluminum. It is simple. Teach your kids to do it when they are young so that it becomes a habit. Shut off your lights when you are not in a room. Save water. I can’t fix Green House Gases. Hell, I don’t know enough about them to know how to fix them even if I could. I don’t need to believe that Global Warming is going to destroy the Earth to know that recycling and saving resources is a good idea. Too many folks spend too much time talking about Kyoto and dealing with things at the Macro level that they stop focusing on teaching people about simple things they can do at the Micro level to impact our environment.

I have a hippie uncle who sold everything he owned and built a tree house where he lives. Literally. No joke. Being green doesn’t mean you have to be hippie that lives in a tree house. We don’t have to worry about Global Warming in order to know that saving gas or electricity or water is a good thing. We don’t need impending crisis to convince us to take these simple steps. Simple things are more important than PR opportunities or hysteria.

I am not a Global Warming alarmist. Whether the Earth is warming or not, we just don't have enough evidence to suggest that it is human caused versus being caused by the Sun, and we also have considerable evidence that the Earth has gone through repeated cycles of warming and cooling. I think it is naive to attribute global warming simply to greenhouse gases or to assume a human cause for natural occuring events.

That said, you cannot drive by an old coal burning power plant and think that fossil fuels are good for the environment. You can't sit in Phoenix or LA traffic where visibility is less than 10 miles due to air pollution and think that the H2 next to you with one person in it commuting to work is a good thing. You cannot drive by a landfill and see the products of our consumption sitting atop previous throwaway items. But perhaps worst of all is the pollution we don't see that is happening in China from their powerplants and poor industrial and environmental policies. They are polluting worst of all because of their rapidly expanding economy that serves our growing desire for throwaway consumer goods.

So places like Vail and Aspen sell green tags or use wind power. As if to say that Global Warming is the end of the world. It isn't and won't be. But it isn't the biggest threat we face. We face a very real threat of increasing cancers and asthma from air pollution. We face water shortages because of poor water use and algae blooms from fertilizer and chemical runoff. Our oceans are losing their fertile fishing areas due to pollution. We throw away more and more each year and our way of displaying affluence is to buy bigger and bigger SUV's.

Global Warming (if it is indeed human caused and if it is primarily caused by greenhouse gases) is something that the entire world is responsible for collectively. Consumerism and wastefulness are things that individuals own. Consuming water, electricity, gasoline, and so on are individual decisions that we each have the power to change.

Posted by Justin at 11:26 AM | Comments (1)

February 05, 2007

iTunes, Tivo and TV Shows

I went almost two years without really watching anything but sports on TV. Then about two years ago, during the summer when life is slow and temps are hot in Phoenix, I caught a single episode of Arrested Development on Fox. I added Sunday (and later Monday) night to my schedule and AD to my Tivo.

I am still far from a TV junkie. First, I don't like cop dramas--you know, the CSI's, CSI Miami, CSI New York, CSI Fargo, CSI Bakersfield, Law and Order, Law and Order Special Victims Unit, Law and Order Criminal Intent, Law and Order Minor Property Crimes, Law and Restraining Order, Criminal Intent. Is there a show that isn't about Cops that skirt the rules to make sure they get the right criminal? Plus I can't stand reality TV--Amazing Race, Survivor, Super Nanny, American Idol, Extreme Makeover, Biggest Loser. Dude, TV is just trash anymore. But there are about a half a dozen or so shows that I watch, and several others that are in reruns that I catch whenever I can.

Here is the lowdown:

  • Heroes
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • The Office
  • My Name is Earl
  • Futurama (which is coming back on Comedy Central)
  • Family Guy
  • Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law (Adult Swim baby)
  • Robot Chicken
  • Arrested Development in reruns on G4 and HDNet

Matter of fact, that is what the top shelf of my DVD collection looks like too, save Heroes which is in its first season. These are staples of my entertainment for road trips. Pop in a DVD of six or seven episodes of any of the above and you are 200 miles down the road and don't even notice.

The single biggest complaint I have about Brian Head and my condo is that the cable service there does not have Cartoon Network and my condo is on the north side of the building meaning I cannot get DirecTV.

Note, this is kinda lame to talk about TV, but I want to make sure that if I enjoy something, I pimp for it since I watched AD die because no one is watching. Everyone I have shown the DVD's to had loved it, but no one watched it when it was on. Family Guy and Futurama both got cancelled until Adult Swim revived them.

Posted by Justin at 10:59 AM | Comments (1)

How I Want to Go Out

The Denver Post has this article on the death of a pioneer in avalance study:

Alta, Utah - A world pioneer in avalanche research died Thursday in Colorado while doing what he loved best - skiing.

Edward R. LaChapelle, considered the grandfather of American avalanche science, spent his final morning powder skiing. Within an hour of reporting chest pains, the 80-year-old died.

LaChapelle's legacy will long outlive him, experts said Saturday.

His decades of research on the slopes of Alta ski resort laid the groundwork for avalanche control in Utah. He authored the U.S. Forest Service's first avalanche handbook and developed a beacon to locate buried skiers.

A heart attack after spending the morning skiing at age 80. It is always sad to hear about someone passing. You always hope that you go out on top enjoying your life to the fullest and having lived a long and fruitful life.

Better than most Americans. Dead at 40 because they have a cheeseburger lodged in their coronary artery. Face down in a basket of fries. Spilled 44 oz. X-Large Coke all over the table in front of 'em and it takes 30 minutes for the 16 year old kid to notice they are dead when he finally comes out to mop up the mess.

Here's hoping we all live to 80 and our last day is a powder day in Colorado.

Posted by Justin at 10:16 AM

January 30, 2007

Birthday Line for Jer from Arrested Development

Just for Jer today from Arrested Development, Season 2, Episode 7--Switch Hitter:

Gob: Michael, I'm your big brother. I'll never be impressed with you.

Good times my friend.

Posted by Justin at 03:27 PM

Happy 30th Birthday

My little bro is turning 30 tomorrow. I really enjoyed the time that we spent skiing together and going to ballgames last year. I joke a lot about him working at a convenience store (and even more about getting fired from a convenience store), and I hope that his 30's are the most happy and productive years of his life.

It is amazing to think that Jake is 10 and he is 30. I always mark time by major milestones and a favorite picture of mine is Jake when he was 2 riding on his shoulders with the Arizona Cardinals AWA Jet in the background coming back from their playoff victory in Dallas over the Cowboys. That year, the Broncos won their second Superbowl over Atlanta.

Decades go by fast. It has been almost a decade since the Broncos won a Superbowl. He has seen the lists that I keep of "to do's" that I am constantly updating and crossing off items. I had one for college with every single course I needed to take and the planned semester that I was going to do it. Same thing for projects and patent applications, etc., at work. I look back at them to check my progress and to look at milestones.

Make a list of what is important and what you want to accomplish this next decade. Start checking those items off.

Posted by Justin at 02:45 PM

January 22, 2007

Canadian Wood Spider

My uncle Troy sent me this wonderful video of the Canadian Wood Spider. Thought it merited a post on the website.

Note this is published under humor...

Posted by Justin at 12:14 PM

January 18, 2007

Feelin' All Percy

Yeah, I had a bit of a sinus infection. It has been going on for well over a month, but today I actually was tearing up from my left eye it hurt so bad. I could not look at light and my wife continued to be supportive and try to understand the complexities of being a man by asking the important questions:

  • Are you retarded?
  • Why do you hate doctors?
  • Do you think it is going to get better without you going in?
  • Do you want paper or plastic?

Scratch the last one... I think that was the girl at the grocery store, but honestly, my head hurt so bad and I was in such a fog that it all ran together. I couldn't get in to my regular doctor until 2009, so it was off to urgent care. The Medical Assistant always comes and gets you in the waiting room then takes you through the door that keeps the riff-raff out and up to the scale... 260... geez I am fat. Then it is blood pressure... 114/78... maybe I am not that fat. A quick temperature... 99.0... slightly warmer than the weather at Brian Head this weekend. Then the big question:

What brought you in today?

Well, it is either a really bad sinus infection or a massive brain tumor. I figure either way, I probably get a couple of days off of work and some good pain killers. I think she appreciated my optimism. Turns out it is the former. So some steroids, some antibiotics, and some Percocet later and I am riding the narcotic wave of dizzy euphoria. What better way to enjoy the effects of pain killers? Staying up until 3:00 AM watching Arrested Development Season 2 and blogging.

Posted by Justin at 02:44 AM | Comments (1)

November 27, 2006

Fighting Burnout for the Year

It is always weird to blog about personal stuff, but it has been a crazy year. I have been taking some time off of work with a short leave of absence after some personal issues this year and last (read burnout). Tera had two major surgeries last year as well as some other health issues after having Lindsey. I have been travelling and between my work travels and her medical problems, it has been a seriously long year.

This year, in addition to my regular job, I have been working on several personal projects as well as doing some patent work at my job. I am filing my fourth patent application of the year this week and it will be my seventh overall. Just stressful. Three kids, a job that requires travel, health problems, two homes--it gets you down.

That is part of why I love having the second home and a hobby that gives me a reason to get out of Phoenix and the grind and get into the mountains. After a fresh snowfall, the snow dampens the sound and if you find a nice run through the trees away from the gapers, everything is muted. It drowns out the life that most of us work to pay our bills and take care of the day to day. It is easy to envision living there and dropping all the cares of the world to work a night job as a waiter at the resort and ski everyday. It is a nice dream, but I got it pretty good with my work. I can't imagine taking a vow of poverty for the religion of skiing. I mean taking the vow to be a priest or a Jedi or something--yeah, but not to be a ski bum. I want freaking mind tricks and light sabres or wine and alter boys or something. I get enough powder days as it is.

So don't expect a ton of blogging over the next few. Football season is over for Wickenburg, it is too early for the Suns, ASU doesn't play until the bowl season, the Cardinals suck, the Broncos waived the white flag on the season by benching Jake, and all in all, I am just regrouping and trying to close out the last few things I need to do this year and prep for my next trip north. Waiting for the season to kick off and to close out 2006.

Posted by Justin at 01:15 AM | Comments (5)

November 23, 2006


It is always good to remind yourself what you have to be thankful for.

  • First and foremost, my family and wonderful wife and kids. Tera lets me do almost anything and has endured 10 years of marriage to a guy that has spent the better part of our marriage at sporting events, skiing, jeeping, in school, or working multiple jobs. The kids give me someone to pick on or go skiing with.
  • Our health. Tera got quite a scare last year after having Lindsey and it puts into perspective that life is fragile.
  • Our jobs, our businesses, our home, and our finances. We don't have everything we want all the time, but we live a blessed life. We don't long for anything we need and have an abundance that we are able to share with others. We try to give back as much as we can and display gratitude and charity for our good fortune.

There are so many other things. Our condo, twin tip skis, Wickenburg Football, good snow... But without your family, your health, and some good fortune, it is difficult to enjoy them.

This year has been very interesting. My brother lived with us for 8 months after seperating from his wife. My wife and I celebrated 10 years of marriage. We spent countless days and hours remodelling our condo and skiing while we were there. I enjoyed my first full season as a Suns season ticket holder. My first season owning a condo. Spending a winter with my dad and my brothers Jeremy and Jackson. We took a wonderful vacation and spent even more time at the condo whenever we could.

I firmly believe in something that coaches have said over and over in football--you create your own luck through hard work, dedication, being in the right place, and preparation. I have spent the better part of the last ten years in college and working sometimes two or three jobs at the same time. Sacrificed time with family and friends and doing lots of the fun things that my peers got to do. I haven't owned a boat or quads or a toy hauler. I don't smoke or have many bad habits. I don't gamble. I believe that these things help contribute to our health and prosperity, but that there is a little bit of luck involved. You submit to a higher power and recognize that you can only control so much. But you make sure to control the things that you can.

It has only been in the last year that I have really come to realize that these same sports philosophies apply to life in general. Some people have the luck to marry well or inherit from the hard work or fortune of others. Just like some people have natural athletic talent and others have to work every single day to get better. We have to create their own opportunties through hard work and preparation. I am thankful for the grandparents that I had that taught me how to work. It is difficult to enjoy life sometimes when there is still work to be done. The holidays always provide that opportunity. I can relax, take my vacation time, ski, and prepare for another year of hard work.

Enjoy the holidays and enjoy the time with family. I enjoyed spending yesterday with Jake and Tera and Jarrett and Lindsey. I enjoyed today with my uncles and cousins watching football and eating turkey.

Posted by Justin at 11:38 PM

October 30, 2006

Why I Am Glad I Have a Tivo

I blogged a ton last year about Arrested Development and how disappointed I was that it went off the air. Well, I have a new crop of things in my Tivo and while they don't replace the Bluths, they certainly give me something to do on road trips and in between ski trips.

  • Heroes - This show is just awesome. Started this year and every single episode gets better.
  • Battlestar Gallactica - Now in its third season. Humans at war against Robots. Hot robots. That look like humans. Only they are robots. Genocide. Secret Tribunals. Death Squads. And awesome special effects... yeah, got all that.
  • The Office - Now in its third season. Quirky and off the wall. That is why I like it.
  • My Name is Earl - Redneck trying to fix past mistakes because of Karma. Good times.
  • How I Met Your Mother - More mainstream than the others, but certainly worth watching. Some good quirks and fun characters.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - No new episodes for a while, but this literally made me want to pee my pants a couple of times. Favorite episodes include "The Gang Goes Jihad" and "Underage Drinking: A National Tragedy".

That pretty much covers what I Tivo for later viewing. Rumors are Swirling that BSG may move to Monday nights after Heroes on NBC in High Def. That would pretty much be heaven. I take old BSG, Arrested Development, My Name is Earl, and The Office on roadies with me for viewing on DVD in the car with friends. Helps pass the time.

Posted by Justin at 09:02 PM

October 26, 2006

Strange Days the Last Few Weeks

It has been a strange couple of weeks lately. I have become absolutely addicted to 3A Arizona Football. Wickenburg is 9-0 with one game before the playoffs. Assuming that we win our first round game at home, we get Blue Ridge High School which has beaten us something like 5 times in the last 7 years in the playoffs. Wickenburg is buzzing about the new coaching staff and possibility of a state title.

Phoenix Suns season is kicking off on Halloween. Got my season tickets, but already sold 23 of 44 games so that I have time to ski. Cardinals and ASU seasons are winding down with ASU having 3 home games left and the Cardinals having 4. Neither has been particullarly exciting, unless you consider disappointing last second losses exciting (Cards) or blowouts by Oregon and Cal exciting (ASU). Plus, I have my Jeep and have been taking a monthly trip with it on the Arizona backroads. Add in 8 straight weeks in California for work, and I am finally completely burned out. Literally.

I am taking some time off work to recharge. Bump up the anti-depressants, sleep in some, and get ready for ski season and high school playoff games. I am trying to get the condo ready and bit off another big remodel project two weeks ago. It is enough to wear a dude out. So if the posts get light, figure I am chilling to get back to normal. Posts will pick up in November.

Posted by Justin at 12:16 AM

October 16, 2006

More Remodel Fun at Brian Head

I am up at the condo this week doing some remodel work with my dad. We are taking out a closet so that we can install some new closet organizers from Ikea.

I am thinking that the new closets will be much more organized then the current setup, plus we lose part of the existing closets because there is a bunk bed in front of one of the doors. We are doing a little bit of drywall work around the place and buttoning some things up before the season starts.

The upper mountain has a skiff of snow on it and it looks good. I love how it looks with snow on it. Praying for a good winter with lots of early snow.

Posted by Justin at 12:42 PM

October 09, 2006

Yankees Season Ends in Detroit

The Yankees have a special place in my heart right next to the Dallas Cowboys, Osama Bin Laden, Vanilla Ice, and New Coke.

And for another year, I can celebrate the Yankees not winning a championship. I remember the first time they did not win a championship after their last title. And every time they lose, it reminds me of that time when they lost...

Mark Grace against Mariano Rivera. Choke up. Get a hit to start it. Gonzo. Choke up. Get a hit to end it. It has been 5 years since the 2001 World Series and every time the Yankees lose, it seems like just yesterday. So here is a thank you to some of my favorite recent teams:

  • Diamondbacks
  • Angels
  • Marlins
  • Red Sox
  • White Sox
and now Tigers.

Bye Bye boys. Enjoy the offseason. Maybe there is some other $20M a year player you can sign... how about Bonds? He can play in the same outfield as Schef and you can negotiate a package deal for Giambi, Bonds, and Scheffield on The Cream and The Clear from Balco.

Posted by Justin at 01:03 AM

October 06, 2006

Catmus is Today--h/t Adam at Highly Obsessed

Shout out to Adam at Highly Obsessed for pointing out that today is Catmus:

Totally off-topic: Today is Catmas, also known as "Post a Picture of a Cat to Your Blog Day", referring to the cliche that people always post pictures of their cats on their blogs. This holiday is also known as BlogACatMas. Frankly, I'm upset that I have to be at work on such a special day.

Here is a picture of Mittens playing with Lindsey. Mittens is MY cat and pretty much hates everyone else. I am the only person she will let pet here and that is fairly rare. Our other cat, Fat Kat, is more lovey dovey. I don't name them, I just own them. The kids are not particullarly creative.

Posted by Justin at 03:19 PM

Reading Old Entries--How to Fill Time Between Ski Seasons Part II

I was doing some site clean-up and deleting the spam trackback and comments when I decided to go through some of my old entries. One that was particullarly awesome was from November 2005:

It is getting tough as hell to write about skiing during mid-November when I still have ZERO days on the snow for 2005-06. My Brian Head season passes for the family look wonderful hanging on their lanyards with my ski equipment but are doing me no good. Last year, I already had close to 10 days in November alone. I am working on my condo and getting some extra football time in this year while waiting for the snow to fly in Utah.

I took my dad up to the condo with me to help paint and remodel and it was so cool to talk about 15 years ago when the two of us would go skiing. Bad back and all, I am trying to get him to throw on my cruisers and last year's boots and spend a few days on the mountain with my sons and my baby brother. On a personal note, the trip really reminded me that a huge part of why I love skiing so much is the fact that it is usually with friends or family. And you spend several hours in the car or truck together talking on the way up and way back. Maybe it is sharing a hotel room or having a nice dinner after a long day skiing, but even without getting to ski at the condo it was so cool to spend three days with my dad. It reinforced that I spend almost every weekend with my sons building and strengthening our bond and ski season is the best time of the year.

This was before my brother Jeremy moved back all of the sudden in early December. Turns out that the winter was even better than I had hoped. Dad made at least 4 more trips up north and got in several days of his own with my son, brothers Jeremy and Jackson, and me. It is odd to think that I can go back almost exactly one year ago and I have a journal of my life. So you can pick up the entries from a year ago and see what I was doing and thinking, then look a year later and see the progress that I have made.

One thing that is missing this year is the newness aspect of running the blog and fixing up the condo. I had a vision of how I wanted things to unfold and now, the condo is basically done. I am literally looking for projects to work on there. Moving around a closet. Rerouting an electrical outlet. Putting in a Washer and Dryer. Changing the upper loft around. But these are minor changes, especially compared to the complete gutting that we did last winter.

Maybe this is the best part of blogging. I get to remind myself of the things that I accomplished since I started the site. The condo and the site as well as the ski season just seemed to turn out even better than I had originally planned, and a huge part of that is because of the people that helped me with all of them.

Posted by Justin at 12:08 AM

October 02, 2006

The New Digital Age of Wrong Numbers and Product Promotion

I got a wrong number series of text messages about some woman named Jen today:

Jen is trying 2 make me jealous. I don't want 2 b with her.

OK, so that is awesome because now Jen is going to be single. Unfortunately, the person sending the text was not Jen, so no dice.

Then I got the following:

I am riding with Jen now

So I have a digital text message soap opera going. I am waiting to see if Jen is going to end up with whoever.

Now here is what is sad... I figure this is a legit text message that is just to a wrong number, but it seems in this digital age, companies are using stuff like blogs and text messages and e-mail threads to promote movies and other products. They start a blog about some 16 year old and her problems with her boyfriend to build buzz around their story, then it turns out that the whole thing is actually building up a new movie that is coming out.

I guess that is not as bad as blatant product placement in TV shows and movies though. In one of the season ending episodes or How I Met Your Mother, the gang was talking about how good some crab at Red Lobster sounded, then it showed them going into Red Lobster. Then after the break, Red Lobster commercial for their new crabfest. Notice how the Pepsi can is always perfectly lined up for you to see it is Pepsi in movies nowadays... It is most certainly intentional and it would be nice to see what the price of these things are.

Posted by Justin at 12:18 PM

September 25, 2006

Liquids Ban Partially Lifted on US Flights

This just in from the TSA on the liquid restrictions for US Flights:

WASHINGTON - The government is partially lifting its ban against carrying liquids and gels onto airliners, as long as they are purchased from secure airport stores, and will also permit small, travel-size toiletries brought from home, officials said Monday.

A total ban on such products, instituted after a plot to bomb jets flying into the United States was foiled, is no longer needed, said Transportation Security Administration chief Kip Hawley.

"We now know enough to say that a total ban is no longer needed from a security point of view," Hawley told a news conference at Reagan National Airport.

He said that most liquids and gels that air travelers purchase in secure areas of airports will now be allowed on planes. He called the new procedures a "common sense" approach that would maintain a high level of security at airports but ease conditions for passengers.

That means that after passengers go through airport security checkpoints, they can purchase liquids at airport stores and take them onto their planes.

I have literally left a can of shaving cream and some hair gel in my desk at the office in California because I got sick of spending $5 on it every time I came out since I could not bring it with or take it home. Travelling was hell at first, but actually has been kind of nice lately. All of the women that used to bring on massive carryons have been checking their luggage with their makeup, meaning that the overhead bins are not full and people get loaded into the plane sooner.

I have a locking cover on my Avalanche and we drive through Las Vegas and across Hoover Dam to go to Brian Head. They make us pull over and open the back before we can go across. More security stuff. It is a new world that we live in. But some restrictions are just plain overboard. When someone figures out how to down a jet with a tube of toothpaste or a bottle of perfume, get back to me. I am down with the caution, but I am also pleased that logic and common sense took over.

Posted by Justin at 06:26 PM

September 10, 2006

September 10th, 2001

The Arizona Republic has an excellent story about September 10th, 2001. Here are some highlights:

The big news of the day in the Valley was the new Cardinals Stadium. Not the now-opened shiny spaceship in Glendale; the new Cardinals Stadium in Tempe that never was.

Construction had been halted two months earlier when the Federal Aviation Administration declared the Tempe site a risk to planes on final approach to Sky Harbor International Airport. Impatient to move ahead, the state Tourism and Sports Authority voted 7-0 to resume construction and order $2 million worth of steel trusses - trusses that never would be used.

The Cardinals were practicing for their season opener. They'd had an unwelcome bye the first week of the regular season and were eager to get going against the Redskins in Washington next Sunday. The game would be postponed to Jan. 6, 2002, with the Cardinals losing 20-17. Pat Tillman would make seven tackles and have two assists in that game, his last.

Hani Hanjour had waited for tomorrow for a decade, since 1991 when he settled in Tucson from Saudi Arabia and tried to learn English. He was miserable at it. Hanjour had a 0.26 grade point average at the University of Arizona.

He was just as bad trying to learn to be a pilot. He received a commercial pilot's license in 1999, but two years later, instructors at JetTech flight school in Phoenix told FAA officials they couldn't imagine how Hanjour passed the tests. His English was still horrible. And as one instructor said: "He could not fly at all."

On the eve of destruction, while Piestewa was wrapping up another day of training at Fort Lee, while Tillman, Roque, Bird and most of us were moving through a serenely normal evening, the man with broken English who couldn't fly at all was checking into Marriott Residence Inn in Herndon, Va. The hotel was close to Washington Dulles Airport.

Hanjour wanted to be at the airport early tomorrow morning. He and 18 others were bent on destruction.

September 10th, 2001, was just another day. For almost 3,000 people in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, it was their last. Remember the victims and their families and remember the bravery of the men and women that died heading up the stairs in the towers that day; rushing the cockpit of a hijacked flight to stop the plane from killing someone else's mother or father; parachuting into Afghanistan weeks later. I hope they are at peace.

Posted by Justin at 11:58 PM

August 28, 2006

Final Blog Entry About Arrested Development

Tonight at Midnight the moment comes. The very last time I get to buy an Arrested Development DVD. Season 3 is here and I can finally erase it from the TiVo and move it into my DVD collection.

I promised I wouldn't cry, but reading the reviews, I am all choked up about ending the weekly viewing of my favorite TV family, the Bluths. I will never see airport stairs the same way again. I believe that I will be watching my AD Season III DVD's as a giant marathon despite watching the over and over again off the TiVo.

Everytime it gets near the end of a Suns game or in overtime, they play Europe's "The Final Countdown". I smile and nod and usually nudge Jeremy in tribute to GOB. I can almost see him and Buster and Tony Wonder at the Gothic Castle. Or better yet, in perhaps my favorite TV Episode of all times, Pier Pressure.

For those that just didn't get it, you missed out. For those that did, get the DVD's for all three seasons and be thankful that we got 51 episodes to enjoy. That is almost 20 hours of pure viewing pleasure. Enough for the round trip to Brian Head and something to do when I get back from the hot tube at night.

Posted by Justin at 09:25 PM | Comments (1)

August 19, 2006

Bay Area Visit--I Wish it Wasn't Work Related

This last week I had a major customer project in Northern California. Spent the week working with some very cool guys including Francesco from Italy who was in town to assist with some software issues since he was one of the writers of said software. I got the opportunity to show him around San Francisco.

Well, we were in the East Bay and decided to come across the Bay Bridge, head down Market, by the Embarcadero, head out the Golden Gate and come back across from Marin. I got lost on all of the major parts of this, including a very scary trip through downtown Oakland that reminded me of the opening scene of Office Space, as Michael Bolton acts all hardcore singing to rap music until he pulls up next to a black man in his car, rolling up the windows and locking the doors. (BTW, possibly my favorite movie ever) But I had our guest in the car and didn't want to freak him out, so I played it cool. You know, like Fonzy. What's Fonzy like? Well, the fog was coming in and I got disoriented and ended up finally realizing that I was on the south side of SF when I was trying to get to the Golden Gate. Finally, I proceeded to get lost in Marin.

Franceso kept suggesting we ask for directions. How decidedly un-American, and one better, how decidedly un-American Male. That is admitting weakness. I use Texas Diplomacy in these parts. As long as we don't run out of gas or get killed, it is "an adventure".

Well, long story short, I am heading back to the Bay on Monday to do some more work. I have been crazy busy the last week, hence the lack of postings. But I am working with several companies to provide more information on the site as well as do the site upgrades at the same time as doing my day job. Plus I have other things going on, and on top of it all, it is football season and I have a monthly jeep trip to take. And all of it is just to fill time until ski season when I can start blogging full time again about you know, skiing?!?!?! I am counting the days.

Posted by Justin at 10:49 PM

August 06, 2006

Filling the Arrested Development Void

Alright, AD is not coming back. Maybe in some kind of Fox "Oops, we killed the best show on TV moment" like when they brought back Family Guy and Futurama, it is possible, but not any time soon. However, I am willing to cut Fox some slack. Seems that FX has two of the best shows on TV--Rescue Me and my new favorite It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

I downloaded Seasons 1 and 2 on iTunes last night and did the marathon of the ones I have not seen. The Gang Goes Jihad may be some of the funniest stuff I have ever seen. My wife and I were almost doubled over laughing.

Start watching Sunny. It gives me something to put on the iPod and take for the road trips to Brian Head. BTW, iPods rock so much. I have a 30 GB Video and load it up with movies, TV shows, etc., and have an interface for the DVD head unit in the truck. Haul any TV show with you without even using DVD's and download your favorites from iTunes. Love BattleStar Gallactica, It's Always Sunny, and The Office.

Posted by Justin at 12:19 AM

July 12, 2006

World Series of Poker Tonight

My first management job was 7 years ago at a helpdesk and tech support section of an Internet Service Provider in Arizona. I started answering the phones and worked weekends and nights mostly before they promoted me to manager. Most weekends, including the weekend of the Music City Miracle, I was working with a 15 year old kid that became one of my best friends--Nick Hill.

So Nick and I did lunch on Friday and he said he was gonna pony up $1000, which is no small feat for a 23 year old kid making $25-30k a year, and head to the World Series of Poker Tournament on Sunday in Vegas. Him and like 2900 other people.

Well, the results are in. Nick finished in 16th and I have been glued to the Internet trying to get results and chip counts all day. It went something like this:

Tue Jul 11 23:18:00 PDT 2006 Hill Eliminated Nick Hill calls from middle position, Matthew Palmucci raises to $40,000 in the small blind and is called by Tom Hawkingberry in the big blind along with Hill. The flop comes J73. Palmucci checks, Hill goes all-in, Hawkingberry calls. Palmucci folds and Hill Turns over KJ, while Hawkingberry has Q10. The turn is a blank, but the river is the 5 giving Hawkingberry his flush and eliminating Hill.

His reward for two hard days worth of work? $22,099. Just about a year's worth of salary.

But he owes me the first $400 of it from December still. Now I know he has got it. If you read the blog Nick, I will be stopping by with Erin and having a little conversation about Chiefs and Indians.

Posted by Justin at 12:30 AM

July 10, 2006

Don't be a Wi-Fi Mooch

The Boston Glob has an interesting article about wi-fi mooches. You know them. They find a free wi-fi hotspot and camp out. Maybe it is a cafe that has free Internet Access. They show up, buy some token item if anything at all, and stay all day using the Internet.

Some wireless users sneak in their own food with their laptops. Others buy one cup of coffee at 9 a.m. and surf the Net until closing time. And the truly audacious sit for hours without making any pretense of a purchase.

In and around Boston, cafe owners who installed wireless signals to draw customers say they also are drawing Internet users who tie up seats for hours, buy little or nothing, and make coffee shops feel like the office as they tap away at their laptops. Now some owners are fighting back by charging for wireless access, shutting off their signal at peak business hours, or telling loitering laptoppers to shell out or ship out.

``There comes a time when you have to tell people, `Look, you've been here for three hours, and you've bought only a cup of coffee and it's time to move,' " said Adam Goldberg , owner of Emack & Bolio's in Jamaica Plain. ``We had points in time when people would sit for six or seven hours and not buy anything."

Well, it gets worse. In California, a cafe had a guy arrested over stealing their signal outside their shop. (sorry no link posted)

Posted by Justin at 11:14 AM

July 03, 2006

Frye, Bender, and Leela to Return to Comedy Central

My favorite show on Adult Swim is set to return to TV in 2008. Ala Family Guy, Futurama is slated for another round with the original cast of characters to return:

20th Century Fox will produce at least 13 new episodes of the animated series Futurama, scheduled to air on Comedy Central in 2008. Futurama, an animation from The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, was canceled by FOX in 2003.

Comedy Central has recently acquired the rights to the back catalogue of 72 Futurama episodes and any eventual new episodes.

“We are thrilled that Matt Groening and 20th Century Fox Television have decided to produce new episodes of ‘Futurama’ and that Comedy Central will be the first to air them,” announces Comedy Central senior vice president for programming David Bernath.

Voice actors Billy West (Fry, Professor Farnsworth), Katey Sagal (Leela) and John DiMaggio (Bender) are all contracted to return.

Fox has two great series that they have cancelled and have made it back on the air. Please bring life back into Mitch Hurwitz and the Bluths. Teach Fox a lesson, George. Please teach them a lesson.

Posted by Justin at 11:59 PM

June 24, 2006

Retarded and Uneducated Trolls

I just got back from the condo. Jeremy and I were heading up to Montana to do some fishing and camp out for a few days, but got to BH and stayed at the condo and decided to come home. I have a bunch of stuff to take care of including completing another patent review meeting and getting another patent idea approved for search and hopefully filing. This will mark my eighth patent application in the last five years at my job. Again, background on me, I have eight patents either in process or pending at my day job, own this site and blog, and have several other business interests, etc. I graduated top of my class in business with a 4.0 GPA and am working on an MBA.

I got a note from an occasional reader and annoying troll the other day who stumbled onto my blog and stated the following:

By the way, good website, but you should quote the entire contents of the articles that you discuss, that way you can report a true unbias story! Journalist or writers write on both sides of the story not narrowed minded. Not just the opinion of a schooled boy, but as an educated adult!

It is obvious this person is first, retarded, and second, has no clue what my site is about. So just in case, I am posting the wikipedia definition for all of my readers of what a "blog is:

A weblog, which is usually shortened to blog, is a website where regular entries are made (such as in a journal or diary) and presented in reverse chronological order. Blogs often offer commentary or news on a particular subject, such as food, politics, or local news; some function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. Most blogs are primarily textual although many focus on photographs, videos or audio.

The first blogs were known as "online diaries", and started in 1994. The term "weblog" itself was coined by Jorn Barger on 17 December 1997.

Sometimes, you laugh at people. I got the e-mail and will not identify the source, but will tell you that it indicates a complete lack of comprehension of the way that the Internet works, what blogging is, and what my site is all about. I know who the person is and that she is scouring my site for personal information, much like a stalker going after people on myspace. I put personal information on the site and the person reads my site to keep up on personal information. But come on. Don't call me a "schooled boy" and then talk about "narrowed minded" journalism and "unbias story" and then attack my education. Learn how to speak English and figure out that in my "schooling" I learned the terms are "narrow minded" and "unbiased story".

The Internet is full of trolls, but if you are going to attack my site and my education, at least do it with some kind of intelligent comment and good grammar. Especially if you are going to read my site only to scour for personal information.

BTW, this is how I spend my time in the summer when I am waiting for ski season. I was up in Brian Head checking on my second condo's building progress and working on investment loans. The place is coming along nicely, but I have to pony up 10% of the $400k to finish the contract and get the mortgage for the new condo approved. I am debating on whether or not to buy the place still, but the construction looks very good. I am stoked to see the framing done, and not just the foundations poured.

When will football and basketball season start so that the snow will start falling again? It is almost July, so the countdown is around five months now before Brian Head should open.

Posted by Justin at 03:19 AM

June 19, 2006

Some Much Needed R&R

My wife and I celebrated our tenth Wedding Anniversary this past week and we took a short vacation--hence the lack of postings.

Not a lot going on right now, but got to watch Lefty double bogey 18 yesterday to lose the US Open. I am not a huge golf fan, but will watch the last round of most majors. We flew on a Delta 757 home yesterday that had TV's in the seat in front of you. Unfortunately, the connecting flight later was a 737 with no TV and I missed the Miami-Dallas game. I bribed the captain and stewardess to give me scores, so I found out just before landing how it turned out.

It is sad that I am a sports junkie. There must be a 12 step program for it, but it is getting closer and closer to ski season, and I can quit any time, right?

Posted by Justin at 12:26 PM

May 27, 2006

Memorial Day

A three day weekend in May. Time to go out on the boat or barbeque in the back yard. Get ready for the kids being out of school. We lose touch with what the holiday is about and I thought I would take a quick moment to remind you that while many disagree with the current administration, Memorial Day is not a day to protest Wars, but rather to remember those that fought and died in them.

I was in a restaurant last week and ran into a "boot" Navy kid and his two recruiters. He is headed to Japan in a week. I went over and talked to them for a few and let them know that I am a former Corpsman who worked with the Marines at MCAS Yuma and Camp Pendleton. Thanked them for their service. I remember working 80 hour weeks and living in crappy barracks in the desert. Making $1500 a month including clothing, food and housing allowances.

I now have a job where I make good money, am starting a business (in addition to the two I already own), and get to ski 30 days a year. It isn't because America just randomly came into existence. WWII, WWI, the Civil War, the Revolutionary War, and dozens of other incidents have occurred where America has responded including Somalia, Gulf War I, Bosnia-Serbia, and dozens of other peacekeeping and humanitarian missions as well as protecting Japan and Germany for a half a century and then some.

It has happened because kids like me and my buddy Jake and my shipmates and the Marines I worked with, and others like Pat Tillman and my grandfather, and so on have made the sacrifice to protect us. It isn't glamorous or fun most of the time, but I believe our country and our freedoms are worth it. As an ASU Alum and Cardinal fan, PT was my favorite player going back to him winning the defensive player of the year award in the Pac-10 and to the 1996 Rose Bowl. He represents part of what this weekend is about.

So barbeque and take the boat out and enjoy the extra day off. But take a moment if you see a Veteran or Active Duty Sailor, Soldier, Marine, or Knee-Deep Coasty or Air Force Flyboy, to thank them. They appreciate it. And we all should appreciate what they do to keep us safe.

Posted by Justin at 03:57 PM

April 11, 2006

Chevy Tahoe Commercial for the Apprentice

Check this out:

The New Chevy Tahoe has a contest for Commercials to be submitted and this may be the best commercial I have ever seen. Titled "Die Hippies Die".


Posted by Justin at 02:37 PM

Note to Today's Youth via Comment at Willisms

(A note to kids today: Date goth chicks, they expect to be disappointed and unhappy. With that as a startingblock, you can do no wrong.)

What can I say about this quote. This in the middle of a blog post about growing up and discovering the coolness of the stuff your parents were into as a kid. As a child of the 80's and early 90's, I remember when I first started discovering the coolness of my parents. But then again, the premise of the article is basically retro-coolness for geeky kids of the 1990's. That pretty much describes me. The 70's and 60's had some great stuff. Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Monty Python, Mel Brooks, etc. Let me add the Stones and Star Wars. Possibly old school SNL.

A great post, but it makes you wonder what parts of the 1990's will be retro-cool to our kids in like 20 years. I am quite sure it will not be American Idol or Skating with Celebrities or Britany.

Posted by Justin at 02:24 PM

April 05, 2006

More Business--Blogging from NYC

I got a call yesterday for an emergency business meeting in New York tomorrow AM. I am travelling and staying on the Hudson right across from Manhatten in Weehawken, NJ.

I selected my Arizona Cardinals Season Tickets yesterday and am in the 7th Row of the upper deck in the North End Zone on the Goal Line. Suns Playoffs are about to start. I am about to start my MBA in Utah. And I have been home for three days in the last two and a half weeks, between Brian Head, Dallas, and NYC. So I am staying busy.

It is snowing at BH as we speak and if the temps don't get all crazy, the snow might be pretty decent this weekend. I am debating another quick trip up north, but am about to crater from exhaustion. We shall see.

Oh, and to my boy Wil, "Why you gotta be right about Amare?" I read about it on ESPN when I got off the airplane, but trust me, all is not lost. The Suns are not done, but the road gets more difficult now without one of the best players in the league back. But Nash is the reigning MVP and is proving it again this year. Wil knows where my seats are and has an open invite to come down for the playoffs, but don't pull some crap of calling me right before Game 7 of the Finals to take me up on it. =) BTW, and don't call me for Cardinals playoff tickets either. I did drop my Devils tickets due to schedule conflicts with school, which kills me, but we have U of A and SC on the road this year.

Posted by Justin at 06:20 PM | Comments (4)

April 03, 2006

Winding Down and Summer Plans

I am starting to get ready for summer and hopefully shortly the start of the 2006-07 Season... Ah, November. A little too early to begin plans for next year, but certainly time to start preparing for Summer.

I am getting ready to start school and finish my MBA, planning a cruise to coincide with Tera and my tenth wedding anniversary, and trying to figure out what to do with three kids during the summer while I work from home.

I will probably be posting a season recap shortly, but 2005-06 has been awesome. Bought my condo at Brian Head. Skied 30+ days for the second year in a row. My son Jarrett spend his first real ski day at Brian Head. Jake is working on new tricks and improving greatly. Spent three awesome trips with Erich and/or Tim and/or Taufiq. Spent several trips with my little brother Jackson and my Dad who didn't think he would ever ski again because of a bad back. Got Tera on skis a few times and spent those days coaching and skiing with her. Threw and landed a 180, improved my switch riding, rode a rainbow, improved in the pow, met some great new people (Wil and JP who blog from Colorado, among others). All around, a productive year.

I will be posting throughout the summer about my adventures at Brian Head that will probably involve a new Jeep (still selling Tera on that), camping and fishing, mountain biking, and enjoying the summer in Southern Utah away from the heat of Arizona.

I may not be done skiing this year, but as of right now, things are winding down. Hope you have enjoyed the year and look forward to doing it again.

Posted by Justin at 04:17 PM | Comments (1)

March 24, 2006

Work Trip to Dallas

Posting might be sparse for the next week or so as I am taking a roadie to Dallas to teach a class on the software I work on. I get to help set up a lab for the class and teach a five day course on provisioning products.

I have trips to Dallas, New York City, and Poughkeepsie lined up for April, so I should be good and busy. I am just wanting to pass this spring and summer by and can't wait to move to Brian Head full time and start school.

Posted by Justin at 12:46 PM

March 23, 2006

Montana Meth Project

Probably way off topic, but stumbled onto a great article in the Arizona Republic today about the Montana Meth Project. A billionair, Thomas Siebel of Siebel Systems fame, is funding the program to reduce meth usage among teens in Montana.

The commercials are graphic, but so is what Meth does to people. Well worth checking out both the article and the website.

Posted by Justin at 12:07 PM

March 16, 2006

Taking a Much Deserved Weekend Off

I am still recovering from the stupidity of this weekend (shoulder and knee still hurting). Last night, I watched the Suns destroy the Clippers and in all probability, finish off winning the Pacific for the second season in a row.

Today starts the single best three week run in sports. MARCH MADNESS. And again, for the 7th time in 8 years under Rob Evans, ASU is not dancing and the Wildcats are. While Men's basketball at ASU has been disappointing, the Sun Devil Women are playing a first round regional game in Tucson and had one of the best seasons ever in ASU Women's History. I am not much of a fan of Women's basketball, but I am considering making the drive down to Tucson to cheer for my Devils. At least one team from ASU could win a game at McHale.

Brian Head has snow on the way this weekend, but as the season winds down, I need to heal a little bit. I am hoping for one or two more good trips before Easter and summer starts. Enjoy the Tourney and cheer for the USA versus Mexico today in the WBC. Not a bad weekend for sports, huh?

Posted by Justin at 09:28 AM

March 09, 2006

Some Good News on the Health Front

This Article provides some good news for folks like me. I try to stay away from politics, religion, and money on the site, though these are the favorite topics for us on our drives up skiing and have occasionally led to near fist fights (note to self: Pat Robertson and Wal-Mart cause controversy). But this is definely good news:

WASHINGTON - Cigarette sales hit a 55-year low in 2005 and have fallen by more than 21 percent since state attorneys general negotiated a landmark settlement with the industry eight years ago, newly released figures show.

The National Association of Attorneys General said Wednesday that the 378 billion cigarettes sold in the United States last year marked the lowest number sold since 1951, a time period in which the U.S. population more than doubled.

I am a pretty militant non-smoker. Jeremy is on the patch and trying to quit and I keep trying to convince him that it is almost mandatory if he lives in Utah that he quit smoking. It drives folks up north crazy. Plus living at 10k feet, you need all the oxygen you can get. So I guess this is a time to give my little bro some props for being part of the decline in smoking and for busting his butt and enduring my ridicule and scorn. He isn't completely broken of the habit yet, but making good progress. Down to 5 per day or so.

BTW, it is crazy snowing all weekend at Brian Head. If you can get up there, this is the perfect time to get in some powder days.

Posted by Justin at 11:49 AM | Comments (1)

March 08, 2006

How I Spent My Kids' College Fund

I just renewed my season tickets to the Phoenix Suns today. Not a tough decision. The victory over Dallas on Sunday (which I skipped an icy day at Brian Head to watch in the condo clubhouse), the 11 Game Win Streak, Amare, Nash, Marion, a 62 Win Season last year, and the fact that my kids love going to games with me convinced me. So here is the deal:

I paid $1200 for two seats in Section 211, but got free parking for the season (worth $8 per game or almost $350) and an iPod mini (worth $100). Works out to $25 per game and now that doesn't even cost parking, which is less than taking a date to see Brokeback Mountain.

I am actually delaying a trip to Utah for a sick powder day to spend Thursday night watching Phoenix vs. San Antonio. In addition, I am renewing my ASU Season tickets for football and just bought cheap seats for the Cardinals.

I am certainly not rich. My skiing habit and my condo, combined with my tickets to ASU, the NFL, and Suns, as well as my love for electronics is going to mean my kids better be dang good athletes, National Merit Scholars, or desire a job in the janitorial arts. But hey, I went to community college and look how I turned out. And you don't need a degree to be a ski bum, you just need to know how to ski drunk like Bode. I am hoping more like Jeremy Bloom myself.

Yesterday I took Jake out of school to watch USA versus Mexico in the World Baseball Classic and he is going to miss part of Friday to head to Utah and ski. You don't need to be literate to tell the difference betweek black diamonds and green circles. He knows his shapes. Shape recognition was the most difficult part of the application for me to get into Arizona State.

Posted by Justin at 06:40 PM | Comments (1)

March 07, 2006

This Week's Forecast--SNOW, Next Year's TV Schedule--AD on Showtime

If the rumors are true, my week suddenly got brighter:

The New York Post's Page Six gossip column reports that cable network Showtime has picked up 26 episodes of the canceled cult sitcom Arrested Development. The show was axed by Fox after three seasons of Emmy-winning hilarity due to perennially low ratings. Neither network had anything to say officially.

Add that to this little nuggest at

Tuesday--80% chance of light occassional snow in the morning tapering off to showers the rest of the day. Accumulations from overnight and through the day 5-10" possible.

My season of anguish may be over. A week straight of snow showers and the possibility that the Bluths will return this fall. Add in that my Phoenix Suns are on an 11 Game Winning Streak, and I am buying some lotto tickets and heading to Vegas because I am on top of the world... =)

Posted by Justin at 08:00 AM

February 11, 2006

The Bluths Didn't Disappoint

Alright, if it is done it is done. I have 40 episodes on DVD and another 13 on the Tivo. When a TV series is so well written and humorous that you can watch episodes literally dozens of times and still find something funny or quirky each time, they are doing something radically different from what the rest of TV puts on. And different is not always what people want.

In case you don't know, last night was the season (and without Showtime or ABC's help the Series) Finale of Arrested Development. In a two hour flurry, we had Lindsey throwing herself at her brother Michael, Nellie (Justine Bateman) working as a prostitute and throwing herself at real life brother and suspected TV brother Michael (Jason Bateman), GOB dating his nephew's ex-girlfriend that he seduced when she was a beauty contestant at the Church and State Fair, GOB hitting on (adopted sister) Lindsey to get back at Michael for telling George Michael that he had stolen his girlfriend, and George Michael and Maebe getting married. Throw in some crossdressing bodybuilding hookers, a puppet named Franklin, a bunch of Saddam look-alikes, the CIA, a fake WMD from homefill, Judge Reinholt, and Stan Sitwell who cannot grow his own hair, and you can understand why people just don't get the show. You can't be a casual viewer and get how funny this really is.

Perhaps the best line of the entire two hours was almost completely missed. I missed it the first time I watched the finale. Maebe is on the boat trying to get her family to sign the release forms so that the studio that she con'ed a job at can rehire her and make a made for TV movie about her conning her way into a job. She is walking around with a clipboard and asks Buster if he wants to sign a petition to make TV better. He responds, "I kind of like Skating with Celebrities." Ah, the irony. Perhaps the best show on TV was cancelled this season so that Fox can bring us "Skating with Celebrities". Replaced on Monday nights and discarded for another reality show. From the network that brought you who wants to marry a millionaire.

Sorry to blog so much about a TV show, but trust me, the first two seasons are mandatory viewing material for the uninitiated when taking long road trips. You can't help but get addicted.

Posted by Justin at 12:07 PM

February 07, 2006

Please Don't Be the End

Another shameless plug for the funniest show about to no longer be on television. Friday will have a two hour marathon of Arrested Development and may be more than just the last shows this season, but rather the last shows ever.

Showtime continues to negotiate to bring AD over to the pay network and I would be the first to line up and plink down $10 per month simply to see my Bluths.


Posted by Justin at 11:42 AM | Comments (1)

February 06, 2006

Super Bowl Highlights from Venemous Kate

Yesterday was the big game and it is clear that if Joey Porter is going to claim the refs wanted Indy to win three weeks ago, they just as damned sure wanted Pittsburgh to win yesterday. Some of the worst officiating I have ever seen. But this blog entry by Venemous Kate makes it all worthwhile.

My husband’s always seemed to prefer my absence during football games, possibly because my presence dampens his enthusiastic displays. I’m the kind of wife who keeps a quiet but watchful eye on the number of empty beer bottles piling up on the coffee table. The kind who doesn’t care how far off a quarterback’s pass was, it’s still not an excuse to knock potato chips and dip all over the carpet. And, yes, I’m the kind who loudly shushes her spouse whenever he’s screaming at the top of his lungs over a lame-ass play: “Dear, they can’t hear you. Stop screaming!” ... And then it happened — that thing that Hubby has been secretly praying for throughout the past 9 years we’ve known each other. I became a raving, screaming football fanatic.

It started when a ref called an offensive pass interference on Darrell Jackson, overturning a touchdown, when the ref clearly had his head too far up his ass (or maybe up Chris Hope’s?) to see the game being played right in front of him. And, although Jerramy Stevens broke my heart more than once, I wasn’t so bitter as to overlook the B.S. holding call on Sean Locklear that took the thunder out of Hasselbeck’s pass to him. Having it all topped off by a gimme to Ben Roethlisberger’s diving leap to the endzone — despite the ball never actually breaking the plane — well, it was enough to send me into a screaming frenzy that made Hubby sit back in mute awe and admiration.

Luckily, the Big-Eyed Boy was in bed long before they called a “block below the waist” on a tackler, because I think I actually managed to teach Hubby a few new swear words that time.

The refs in this game were so bad, that they turned a normally mild mannered woman with only a passing interest in football, into a raving, swearing chip spilling idiot to match her husband. VK is now a football fan and if she can build on this performance, she may just get an invite to our place to join the rest of us idiots and teach my wife a thing or two about proper conduct during a ball game.

Note to Kate--loud, profanity laced tirades are less appropriate for women during the regular and pre-season, and if you use the outside, stadium voice too often, it loses its effect. But this game was clearly appropriate for almost any phrase or volume level that you could have used in describing the shafting that the Refs gave the Seahawks.

Posted by Justin at 12:25 PM

February 05, 2006

Super Sunday is Less Super This Year

Last night, I figured I would fire up the Xbox360 and play a game or two of Madden when my 9 year old said, "Let's play two player." I told him I wanted to play single player just to chill and practice. He offered up this little nugget:

"I promise I will take it easy on you."

That was code for, "Dad, now you don't have to act like an adult and my father and build my self esteem." I went Joey Porter on him with the taunting and trash talk and by the third quarter had him using the teapot tone--why can't I tackle him--and eventually throwing the controller and crying. I added more insult by running out the clock by taking three consecutive knees on his goal line instead of scoring--which happens to make it even worse.

Today officially ends the 2005 Season, but in all honesty, it ended for many of us two weeks ago. Last season for the Phoenix Suns ended the same way as the Bronco's season--on the verge of the finals, but not quite there. ASU Football had USC down big at half and LSU all but beaten on 4th and 10 from the 40, but couldn't close the deal. On the verge, but just not able to close the deals.

After today, I can look forward to two more months of skiing, the NFL draft, Baseball spring training, the NBA playoffs, and the start of training camp. Superbowl talk will be over on Monday and we can start looking forward to TO signing with Denver, Ricky Williams playing at Mile High... wait, is that at Mile High or "a mile high"? And please send snow down south. PLEASE!

Posted by Justin at 11:48 AM

January 31, 2006

Even More New Challenges

This morning I woke up to a wonderful e-mail. "Justin, please ping or ring me when you get this". This coming from the hiring manager for a new position for which I had recently applied.

Long and the short of it is it appears that starting February 15th, I will have a new job developing education materials for new product releases. Building training classes, manuals, etc. And occasionally teaching a class or two.

All of this from the comfort of my home. I mentioned to my new boss that I spend considerable time at my "second home" in Utah. Turns out my boss is a skier himself.

This is the opportunity I have been waiting for. Work from home. Doing education. Working on new products. Cool team of coworkers. And it is going to free me up to finish my MBA since I have a stable work at home job.

I am on cloud 9 right now and can barely contain my enthusiasm. What a great day. Happy Birthday Jeremy.

Posted by Justin at 11:14 AM

New Challenges

Today is Jeremy's 29th birthday and I bought him a new pair of Burton Ruler boots for his freakishly large size 13 feet. I had an old K2 board with clicker bindings and boots that I bought from my friend Tim who ironically also has freakishly large 13's himself, so Jer has been riding some old gear that has probably seen its day. I happened on a pair of size 13 Burton boots this weekend while coming through Vegas and figured I better jump on them.

Problem with going from clicker boots to regular boots is that you need matching bindings. So here I am explaining how you need both to my wife and by the end of the conversation, I decided that the deal on boots was good enough that I am going to buy me a pair of snowboarding boots and the matching bindings too. Finding size 12 and size 13 boots late in the season is hard to do. Next thing you know, I have two pair of boots and new bindings. Well, what part of the combination is missing? Yep, grabbed a board. Don't ask how my mind works, but sometimes, I have an idea and figure I better just roll with it.

My wife is learning to ski, so in the meantime, I am going to learn right alongside her to snowboard. Jeremy is going to learn to two plank it. I am heading back up this weekend to give riding a shot while Jeremy and Tera cut some teeth on skis. I know that it won't make for entertaining reading to hear about crowded lifts on the bunny hill. When Tera is up with us, now we will all have a good reason to ski/ride together on runs called Hansel and Grettel or Powderpuff. =) Nothing is worse than when your friends abandon the beginner so they can go have their fun. Women just love that.

Posted by Justin at 01:29 AM | Comments (1)

January 07, 2006

Workin' to Pay the Bills

I am heading to San Francisco (actually Concord) for three days next week to work on a customer engagement. I love the Bay Area and had hoped to throw skis in and hit Tahoe on my way back to Brian Head. HA HA HA! Except that I left my skis in Utah for the first time ever since I have to be there next Friday to get my countertops installed.

Can I ever win? For that matter, I don't even have a jacket or gloves in Arizona anymore since Brian Head is supposed to be my base of operations.

The Weather Pattern looks pretty much the same for the upcoming week--sunshine and lots of it. High temps and sun make for pleasant days for the kiddies, but not much fun for me. I am going to be skiing next weekend at BH and may take a trip further north to Snowbird if the conditions warrant.

Posted by Justin at 02:00 PM

January 02, 2006

Starting 2006 Right

It has been 9 years since ASU went to their last Rose Bowl. I can always keep track of the fact because my son Jake was born two days later. I bought him swome PS2 games and cabled up the Avalanche with all the stuff so that he can play PS2 or Xbox in the backseat during roadtrips on the monitors I just installed. Happy birthday, little man. Another bowl season winds down this week and I am probably going to be planted on the couch watching Notre Dame and Ohio State today and eagerly anticipating the USC versus Texas matchup that is coming this week. But all of these are just appetizers to get me in the mood for the NFL Playoffs.

2005 was a great year. I skied powder so many times I am spoiled. I barely want to leave the house unless there is a 100" base with two feet of fresh. I had a great year at work. Had my third child and first baby girl to spoil and turn into a princess. Bought my condo in Utah. The Suns went to the Western Conference Finals and I was there for every game in the Second and Third rounds of the playoffs. My Sun Devils teased me with the most exciting first half of football I ever saw live against USC and an equally exciting, yet disappointing game against LSU. And the Broncos... well, they gave the Jake haters in Phoenix a taste of their own medicine with a 13-3 record.

I am planning an epic road trip starting shortly to include stops at Sunlight Mountain to meet up with John, Steamboat to ski with Wil, Big Sky to ski with Dax, and maybe a little bit of pass skiing at Loveland if JP can get free.

Thanks to all of the folks that read the blog for coming by and thanks especially to the wonderful people that I have met through the site already. I have a full two days of skiing in for November and December, but I have been able to avoid depression by watching videos JP posts or reading about Wil living large in the pow at Steamboat.

Posted by Justin at 11:03 AM

December 25, 2005

December 25th, Enjoying Christmas

The ham is in the fridge since we did our big dinner last night. I leave on Tuesday with my baby brother Jackson (10), my son Jake (8 and by the way calling a 10 year old uncle is kinda weird), my brother Jeremy, and my dad Jeff, to head to the condo for a couple of days of skiing and to finish up the floors and cabinets. "J" names confuse the hell out of everyone.

I bought my Christmas gift to myself and my sanity by putting in headrest monitors in the Avalanche and a DVD player up front. We are still installing the monitors in the back and wiring everything up, but blew a fuse last night. This brings back my fondest memories of my brother Jeremy and me installing car stereos as dumb teenagers and occasionally having the puff of white smoke and the smell of burning electrical components.

All in all, my kids and family had a great Christmas, but I am glad that the holidays are ending because it means shorter lift lines (if we get any snow) when we head north. I can't wait to get some skiing in this week and it has been a month since my trip to Alta. That is just plain sad, but Mother Nature is not cooperating down south. Here's hoping for fresh tracks in 2006.

Posted by Justin at 12:54 PM | Comments (1)

December 22, 2005

So You Taught Me a Lesson Not to Teach Lessons?

There are few things that I look forward to during the winter and it has been since probably Seinfeld that one of them was a TV Show. Buzz around Hollywood is that Arrested Development may not be dead quite yet. Fox is showing double duty on Monday nights with "All Time Classic" Episodes following the new runs of the 13 shows that they ordered for 2005-2006.

It appears that Showtime and ABC are both interested in picking up the Bluths for next season. Take the time to Tivo the show or if you really can't catch up with the characters, buy the first season on DVD.

Few things in life are as funny as watching a one armed man teach kids lessons such as "Always leave a note", "Don't Yell", or "Never teach lessons". But the best lesson of all is not to use people missing limbs to teach lessons. Thanks Buster!

Posted by Justin at 10:48 PM

December 11, 2005

Crazy Week at Brian Head

I was planning on leaving for the condo on Tuesday morning and making preparations for the trip Monday afternoon. All the sudden I get a call from my grandmother in Montana's house. Imagine my surprise when answering to find out that my little brother and his wife are on the outs (again) and he was needing a place to stay.

Long story short, he flew in on Tuesday AM and has been working like a dog at the condo with me. I keep his snowboard and boots in the downstairs closet for such emergencies as his wife and him fighting, so he is down with some holiday skiing. He worked off most of a season pass doing floors and drywall in the condo this week.

The blogging has been light because we have the entire place torn up and have been working 12-16 hour days doing remodel work, but the lift just opened to the top of Giant Steps today at Brian Head and the snow looks... well, adequate. We are waiting for one good storm to come through and get things kicked off.

I will be posting some new pictures shortly. We tore out the old toilet upstairs and for lack of furniture, were using it for a coffee table. The place was a total disaster, but the clubhouse hot-tub sure felt nice after a hard day's work. It is a good thing the conditions are so crappy, or we would have gotten nothing done. I am heading back up with my brother and dad on Tuesday for some more work.

Posted by Justin at 01:52 AM | Comments (2)

December 01, 2005

Slow Week Blogging about Skiing--So Quick Note to Save Arrested Development

Right now, the nearest snow is over 7 hours away, so this weekend will probably be spent chilling at home again. The only thing on my calender for the upcoming week is on Monday when new episodes of Arrested Development return to Fox. Gotta throw in a quick plug here that short of a miracle, the best show on TV is going to die in only 8 more episodes. One of the three shows that I Tivo religiously, AD, the Office, and My Name is Earl.

Until you have seen a fake drug bust meant to scare your child straight because you think he is trying to buy pot perpetrated by a group of Male Strippers called the "Hot Cops", you have no idea what you are missing. "So you taught me a lesson not to teach lessons?" is second only to "So this is how you repay me for how I repay you?". In case you need to get ahold of me, I will meet you down at the "Big Yellow Joint". For those of you road tripping with me this year, prepare for a heavy dose of AD on the drive since you are captive audience.

Where is my winter? Welcome to December 1st, and I have exactly one day skiing so far. Instead I am talking about a Fox sitcom. Geez.

Posted by Justin at 04:15 PM

November 25, 2005

Wish I was on the Mountain--But Glad I Didn't Miss the Broncos

In my previous posts on gear, one of my favorite devices for skiing is not actually for skiing at all. Rather it is for the umpteen hour trips back and forth between home and the mountain. I broke down and bought a Sirius Satellite Radio add on kit for my Avalanche over Thanksgiving weekend last year so that I could listen to the Broncos versus Raiders game while driving home from Big Sky to Arizona after Thanksgiving last year.

This Thanksgiving weekend, I didn't have to listen to the game and annoy the hell out of my wife and expose my children to profanities that would make my former Navy shipmates blush. And the Broncos gave me little reason to use profanity with a 24-21 win over Dallas. On the one hand, I wish I were skiing, but on the other, it was nice to spend Thanksgiving at home with family.

Last year, I was at Big Sky instead of in Tucson for ASU vs. U of A, so this year, I am spending the day at Sun Devil stadium watching more football and may catch the 3A State Championship afterwards despite my team being eliminated last week.

Moral of the story is that despite suck snow, I still have football. And when I am chasing powder during December and January, I still have football. Oh, yeah, and I am in so much trouble my first couple of days on the mountain this year because I feel so fat this afternoon. BLAH!!!

Posted by Justin at 12:57 AM

November 23, 2005

More Geekdom Contained

Alright, so today started like any usual day. Wake up late, but just in time for another lame conference call. Fire up the good old computer. And bam! Nada. Kaput.

It took me about two hours to fix a Windows Registry "HIVE" that had outgrown the legal limit of 16MB that it will load and was 37MB due to some software installs and downloads recently as well as some attempts to rip a DVD and condense it down to 320x240 iPod resolution and load it on the new iPod 30 GB Video that I just picked up.

But good news is that I am back online and have my machine working again. I thought at first I had a Virus or something from the e-mails about Paris and Nicole that I kept opening last night. I was so pissed. I just blog about asshats opening e-mails and spreading viruses and then my machine goes down. But no such luck. It was Bill Gates and his shoddy engineering again. I never seem to have these problems with my Linux machine. But then again RedHat has not come out with the RedBox 360 either, so maybe in their infinite evil, there actually is good inside Redmond.

Posted by Justin at 11:49 AM

WARNING--Computer Geek Stuff Contained

Damned script kiddies will not stop writing these stupid worms that try to trick dumbasses into opening zip files in spoofed e-mails.

New variants of the Sober worm are taunting users for the second time in as many weeks. This time, the worms are trying to dupe people with fake messages from the FBI and CIA, and a promise to display new photos and videos of "Simple Life" stars Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie.

Tokyo-based AV firm Trend Micro said in an e-mailed advisory that Sober-AG has been spammed in e-mails written in German and English. It scans the version of Windows running on a target machine and, if it detects GMX as the domain, installs one of the German versions. Otherwise, the firm said, it installs itself as one of the English versions.

"The worm has no automated capabilities and must therefore be inadvertently executed by the user to install," Trend Micro said. "To entice the user to do this, the author utilizes classic social engineering techniques, such as promising pictures of celebrities, or alerting the user to illicit behavior."

Now my mail box is completely filled with e-mails inviting me to click on an innocent looking .zip file and get some hot Paris videos or some such crap. Note to self, no matter how tempting Paris Hilton may be, don't open e-mails from strangers. Oh, wait, maybe the stern sounding e-mail from the FBI or CIA is important enough to click on the zip file.

Every time this crap happens, I get calls from work that the dumbass-o-meter is pegged on one gillion because some asshat keeps opening file attachments. If I could find a bathtub big enough to hold all the idiots that open these attachments and fill it with water, I would love to throw a toaster in it.

Posted by Justin at 12:21 AM | Comments (1)

November 18, 2005

How to Fill Time Between Ski Seasons

Tonight it is official. My high school team was eliminated from the state playoffs 27-20, one win shy of making the title game. In addition, ASU is 5-5 with one game remaining and must beat Arizona to make a bowl game. I have season tickets to ASU football and to the Phoenix Suns and tonight had to give away my Suns tickets so that I could watch a high school game. Now, depressed, I have lost my Friday night filler and have no snow to look forward to. Being an ASU grad, Phoenix native, and ***former*** Cardinals Fan, my Sundays are at least entertaining because I have finally fully converted to a Bronco's fan. Again, Sirius Radio is so awesome as I can listen to the Broncos as well as the entire NFL every road trip we take during ski season.

It is getting tough as hell to write about skiing during mid-November when I still have ZERO days on the snow for 2005-06. My Brian Head season passes for the family look wonderful hanging on their lanyards with my ski equipment but are doing me no good. Last year, I already had close to 10 days in November alone. I am working on my condo and getting some extra football time in this year while waiting for the snow to fly in Utah.

I took my dad up to the condo with me to help paint and remodel and it was so cool to talk about 15 years ago when the two of us would go skiing. Bad back and all, I am trying to get him to throw on my cruisers and last year's boots and spend a few days on the mountain with my sons and my baby brother. On a personal note, the trip really reminded me that a huge part of why I love skiing so much is the fact that it is usually with friends or family. And you spend several hours in the car or truck together talking on the way up and way back. Maybe it is sharing a hotel room or having a nice dinner after a long day skiing, but even without getting to ski at the condo it was so cool to spend three days with my dad. It reinforced that I spend almost every weekend with my sons building and strengthening our bond and ski season is the best time of the year.

Posted by Justin at 11:23 PM