CES ’09, Post 3

Going out for dinner while on work travel can be absolutely fantastic. Tonight was a fine example with some nice filet mignon and scallops. It also makes me feel rather gluttonous, not really because we ate that much, but because it cost 4-5 times what a meal really should. But hot damn, I’m not usually a steak person, but that was amazing.

And now, early to bed, because if I don’t, this is what I’ll look like tomorrow:

End of day four of last CES show, day six of work.


Friday night I went to Grand Rapids to help Josh move on Saturday.

Saturday morning, we went to get the truck and Budget had lost his reservation. Crap. Spent an hour or so there, then found a UHaul location with an available truck. Back on track, although behind schedule.

While Josh went to get the truck his brother, a couple friends from work and I moved most of his stuff to the parking lot. We then proceeded to achieve an enviable packing density of stuff in the combination of the UHaul and our various vehicles.

We drove it all to Portland where we got to see and tour Josh and Megan’s new house. I approve, it’s on the small side (which is OK since it’s just two of them) and nice in my opinion. It has a full partially finished basement and a one car garage in back.

We unloaded stuff into the combination of basement, living room and bed room. Various people left at various times, but those of us still around afterward walked downtown for some food. I approve of the town in general – small, so probably not so cultural as East Lansing, but nice. They are very close to the Grand River so he can kayak up and down that. We might be doing a down stream trip covering both the Red Cedar and Grand this summer from my house to his.

I’ll start this off like a persuasive essay, with a universal truth. Not written by me.

The UHaul and most of our crew with Josh’s apartment in the background.

My jeep and the new house.

The new house, untainted by my Jeep.

As I was leaving Portland, still on the freeway entrance ramp, my muffler and remaining tailpipe took their leave of my Jeep. This means my Jeep is now ridiculously loud. I guess I’ll have to be getting a replacement, because driving it in the current state for any more than 15 minutes kind of becomes unbearable and is probably a violation of noise ordinances in any city limits.

Skiing etc.

Life as of late:

Potential plans to go to Mt. Bohemia were dropped this past weekend due to lack of followthrough (not my fault). They have been tenatively rescheduled for next weekend. Since I was here, I decided to go to Caberfae with Doug a radio friend of his Jeff, Jeff’s girlfriend Paula and Mark.

So, Saturday night lab folks gathered at my place to drink and such. We had blended drinks of a couple varieties – the worst of which was some combination of MD 20/20, grape vodka, rasberry daquiri mix and ice. It wasn’t bad so much as it just wasn’t good. Result of the night: I got rather drunk and we all watched Temple of Doom. Doug came home sometime in there and we decided to leave at 8 am for skiing on Sunday.

OK, so I wake up at 6 and can’t fall back asleep. Doug, Mark and I all start to converge and get ready around 7… we pack, etc. and leave about 8:10. We get just past Saginaw on Hagadorn and I realize I have forgotten my coat because I usually wear it instead of packing it and had failed to do so. Meh, turn back to get coat, and end up leaving about half an hour later than planned.

So, we stop for breakfast as planned to meet up with Jeff and Paula. After breakfast we head out in two cars now, Mark and I in my jeep and the rest in Jeff’s Jetta. When we’re just beyond Claire I realize I left my boots at home. WTF! How do I leave to go skiing and forget my boots! Apparently I am a completely mindless twit in the morning without coffee. Annoying, but too far from home to do anything about it, so we continue to Caberfae.

We get to the ski hill, I rent boots, we’re all ready to go skiing, except the second car hasn’t show up yet, and D’s boots are in my Jeep. We fritter about for a while waiting for them. Eventually they show up, having stopped at some gear shop for a while. Great. About 1pm we actually get skiing.

The skiing was pretty good, a little icy in some places but not enough to so ruin the skiing. Doug snowboarded all day and Mark switched back and forth between board and skis. Everyone else was skiing. Caberfae doesn’t have much along the lines of ammeneties. No high speed lifts, no crazy resort, but everything necessary is present and reasonably nice.

At the end of the day we met up in the lodge – Jeff and Paula were going to head out while the rest of us stayed. Upon the communal ready-break, we all went back out to find that Jeff’s poles had been stolen. In hindsight, we’ve figured out that Caberfae seems to have much more problem with theft than most places – probably because of the location. It’s more of a local place than a resort for downstate people.

So, morals of this story:
Remember your shit.
Organize your shit.
Keep an eye on your shit.

If we had been fully organized we could have been on the hill by about 11. Instead we burned two hours with me forgetting my coat, meeting up for breakfast (not counting the time taken for breakfast), then not getting there together anyway because of an unannounced stop somewhere to look at gear.

The poles getting stolen sucks, and is odd. They were nice poles, but have a separate strap that unclips and stays on your hand. Without the straps, the poles are a fair bit less useful – particularly to the type of person who would want such nice poles.

My thoughts on rented boots: My boots are far too big for me. I rented a 9.5 and they fit as well as could be expected. My boots are a size 11. My boots have a significantly greater forward cant to them. I was finding it difficult to keep pressure on the front of the ski – important if you want the ski to turn all nice. It makes me feel kind of bad for people who want to learn to ski and have the desire to improve but are stuck with rental or otherwise bad gear. In this case, the right equipment can make a big difference.

It also occurs to me that likely no one really cares about the details of my Sunday.

Chris Knight

The concert was quite good. His music is good, although as discussed on the return, it would likely never make mainstream radio and thus he will likely never be nationally recognized. I assume he writes more of his own stuff than the average country star type, which is another plus. Music written by the performer seems more genuine than something picked out of a stack for it’s ability so sell big.

Afterwards food at Bennigans, which although not really inspiring was good and satisfying. Pomegranate martini anyone?

Highlight of the night: Emily getting to see Chris’ crack when he bent over to retrieve his guitar pick. Me, missing it. I think we both think we came out on the winning side.

Low point of the night: Causing strife between Doug & Corrina. Well, I really can’t say as I feel that bad, but if there had to be a low named, this was it.

Thanks to Emily and her “mad phone skillz” for the ticket and invite.

Monday Night Paddling

Last night witnessed the advent of the MJN off side hands roll. I am the shit.

It was shortly afterward brought up to me that ‘off side’ refers to the paddle feather. I don’t feather my paddle, thus I don’t have an off side, and when hand rolling there is no paddle and thus no off side. So, I have a preferred side – which backwards to everyone else, is my left.

Todd brought a pair of gates to the pool so we had the first anual whitewater pool race. I wasn’t going to bother racing, but was pressured into it. My first run tied with Todd and Linda at 23 seconds. I managed to trim a second off, and won with a 22 second run. I attribute my blazing speed to my turns, since my boat is probably one of the slower ones at the pool.

I didn’t realize this until it was all over, but it was decreed that this would get me a free beer. Score! Kathleen then mentioned that someday I’ll have to get out on an actual river. I told her to shush.

For the record, Todd had an 18 second run in boat #2, but touched once or twice at a cost of 5 seconds per touch.

After Pizza House, I went home with aspriations of cleaning. I cleaned a little and then decided sleep was a better idea.

If anyone has Monty Python and the Holy Grail you should either A. loan it to me or B. invite me over to watch it. After dinner I was reminded of how hillarious I find that movie – probably dependent in part on the right audience. I first watched it in high school with Steve & Adam and was warned that ‘You might think this is just stupid and not up to your intellectual standards.’ I then proceeded to see only half the movie because I was laughing too much through the rest.


A. I am so moved by the spirit
B. It has been a while
C. A reminder is always good

And Shepherds we shall be, for Thee my lord for Thee.
Power hath descended forth from Thy hand,
that our feet may swiftly carry out Thy command.
So we shall flow a river forth to Thee,
and teeming with souls shall it ever be.
In Nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.

And, hot on the heels of the killing prayer, thanks again to Emily & her Dad for yesterday’s game attendance and related events.

Cause I Like Killing Cats

You know what’s fun – when people try to tell you what you’re thinking or why you’re thinking something and they are completely wrong. They sit there like they have the whole world figured out, meanwhile you’re left thinking that a box of rocks would have had better insight.

Girl Scouts

Me: “I’m going kayaking with a bunch of girl scouts.”
Al: “That sounds like a very bad inuendo.”

Anyway – this evening I went to Lake Lansing to help some of our kayak instructors put on a class for girl scouts to get their kayaking merit badges.

It started out with Todd and Linda doing some on shore presenting. We then got them in PFDs and boats and in the water. The first thing was having them do a wet exit – which is the most difficult part of the class. But, it more or less has to be done for liability purposes to make sure anyone can get out of their boat if necessary. I got to demo this to the group 😛 not that you see much when someone tips over and the gets out of their boat.

Once they were all able to do that, they started working on the different strokes. Then the strokes are put to use in various games – follow the leader, tag and a race. The class ends with boat walking, which is just the group rafting up and one by one walking across the bows of the line of boats.

For this very last part, I got to use their leader’s D50 to take some pictures. Nice camera. I like the feel of mine better, but I like the review LCD on that one better, and maybe also the status LCD (b/w one) which seems to show more info than mine.

So, the scouts thing was fun. I was a little anxious about helping run things, but everything worked out well.

On the way home I finally got my tour of Domino’s. 😛 I also bought the spicy Korean ramen which I added a few things to and ended up making some very good soup out of.