Friday, December 28, 2007

Went on yet another snowmobile adventure yesterday. It had been dumping snow up in the Cascades all week, meaning thick powder. We loaded up and hit the road early.

First glimpse of snow, low in the foothills near North Bend. Good sign as we're still fairly low in elevation...( as always, clicking on the pics gives you the fullsize version)
Arriving. The people we were to ride with were already there. Beautiful thick snow in the trees....
Winter Wonderland. The noise from the sleds and our voices would often set off a release of snow from the tree branches, creating a mini-avalanche of snow on anyone dumb enough to park under one. (It actually doesn't hurt, just a bit surprising. But refreshing!)
Yours truly, after 30 hours of no sleep. Worth it.
Playing in the powder. Deep, light, wonderful powder.
Deep powder means deeply stuck if you lose your momentum. If you look down the trail, you can just make out the uptilted hood of a buried skidoo...
Pretty cabin pic shows just how much snow came down recently....
I had plenty of time to compose the previous shot, as I was well stuck myself. I'd run down the trail to another meadow, trying to find a turnaround spot so I could return and help a fellow rider get unstuck. I was cruising, carving through the fluff, snow coming up over the hood.

Crested the rise out of the ditch to the trail, let off just for a second, lost my forward momentum and the track dug itself way way down. Stuck. Chest high snow.
Spent a good 30 minutes pulling, tugging, compacting, kicking, just to get the front of the sled turned 90 degrees. The tail was buried, all the weight of the sled on it, but the track just spun impotently underneath. Impossible for me to lift it out solo. Thankfully, a group of riders stopped and gave me the one final pull that allowed me to get going again, just as my group showed up. Comparing stories, two of them had gotten stuck as well, we were all fairly winded. That's the cost of enjoying such deep powder.
Pretty trees....
"Really, it just jumped out in front of me".....
Could rip along the groomed trails, surfing the deep powder ungroomed sides, then returning to the harder packed path for a speed fix. Everyone's waiting for me to put the damn camera away...
Look at that snow.....
Each rock had it's own little cap...
Leaving, we passed the groomer on its way up....
Coming over the pass in the dark, thick blowing snow, pulling the sleds. Slow and steady. There's a lot of people on the road who have no business driving in snow.
Home, tired, sore, happy. Riding a sled in powder uses different muscles that riding trails, getting the sled tilted over on it's side so it'll carve takes power and balance, my shoulders sure can feel the difference this morning. What a great day.



Read a quote that you know you're getting old when you take a moment to think about your favourite artists and you realize they're mostly fat old white guys...

I don't care. Van (the man) Morrison...

John Lee Hooker & Van Morrison - Gloria...(4:27)

Van Morrison - 'Days Like This' (3:09)

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Holiday toons...

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Best Buy Still Embracing Deceptive In-Store Kiosks

Best Buy still uses a secret internal website to deceive customers, according to the L.A. Times. The website appearing on in-store kiosks resembles Best Buy's official site in every way, except for the prices. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was surprised to hear that his investigation failed to end Best Buy's bait-and-switch, telling the L.A. Times: "We thought Best Buy had addressed this. That's what they said to us. Apparently that's not the case." A tipster in Virginia also reports the continued existence of the secret website...

"Not that anyone should be surprised, but Best Buy is still at it.

My wife spent several hours at home researching digital picture frames online, and Best Buy actually had the best price on one, as well as being the only way to get it in time for Christmas. Last night we went to our local Fairfax, Virginia, Best Buy. They didn't have the frame at first, and I actually have to commend the staff, they searched for about 30 minutes because one of them thought he had seen it somewhere. They finally came up with one, the Kodak EasyShare EX1011. I took it to a different station and asked them to price check it, and it came up at $255.99, well over the $234.49 that was listed online.

We went to one of their public computer terminals and searched it and it came up at the $255.99, no surprise.

iPhone to the rescue. At first it was showing the $255 price on my iPhones browser, then I realized it was connected through WiFi, so they have it blocking the external Best Buy site and feeding the fake one. I disabled WiFi and searched again and bam, there it was, $234.99.

The electronics department said I had to go to customer service for such a thing, and they promptly took care of the price change."

Dirty, filthy, rotten, unscrupulous.

From Here

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Apparently, I could take out 29 five year olds in a fight.



Jimmy Kimmels' Best of...Unnecessary Censorship(3:23)


Just a couple of pretty aurora pics....

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Now thats just rude....


Star Wars LOLcats....

Yep. I'm a geek.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Think gas is expensive?

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A month or so ago, I blogged about this stubborn old lady who refused to sell her home to a development company as they would tear it down to build their condo/retail/parking garage space near the north side of the Ballard bridge here in Seattle. They started building around her. And are still building around her....

Mixed feelings on this, but it'll be interesting to see how it plays out.

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Went snowmobiling last weekend with a buddy, he'd picked up a new sled and wanted to take it on it's maiden voyage. Since it was to be his "fun...don't care about the looks... don't care about flipping, rolling...etc," he had the (already cracked) hood done up in the finest camel hair....
With a little skull for decoration, of course. First, though, we had to get to the snow....
After waiting in a lineup for 30-45 minutes while crews cleaned up a wreck, we finally made it to the trailhead and started up the mountain. Fun stuff. Us at the top....

Sorry, no real riding pics, having to hold on, keep up, turn, spin, blast along at 90mph, and wipe the goggles clear every few minutes mean camera time is limited. Going to have to get that HD videocam afterall.

The tower at the top....

Finished, loaded up, sore, happy. Great way to spend the day.


Mammal expert Martua Sinaga holds a 3-pound (1.4-kilogram) rat that may be a species new to science. The rat was found in the remote Foja Mountains of western New Guinea, Indonesia, on a June 2007 expedition, experts announced yesterday.

Researchers from Conservation International and the Indonesia Institute of Science had previously discovered several new species of plants and animals during a trip to the pristine rain forest region in 2005.

When the team returned to the Fojas this summer, they found the rat along with a pygmy possum that could also be a previously unrecorded species.

"The giant rat is about five times the size of a typical city rat," Kristofer Helgen, a scientist with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., said in a press statement. "With no fear of humans, it apparently came into the camp several times during the trip."

That sure is a rodent of unusual size...

From Here.


Jason Mraz - Curbside Prophet Acapella (4;44)...

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13 deputies disciplined for car chase

Wrecked cruisers and endangered residents lead to 13 suspensions.

BROOKSVILLE - It sounds like a classic scene from The Dukes of Hazzard:

A dozen deputies, lights flashing and sirens blaring, driving in circles for 15 miles as they chase a suspect in a stolen sports car at speeds reaching 117 mph.

One sheriff's cruiser skids out on a patch of sand, colliding with an oncoming vehicle. Another blows a tire and pulls out of the chase. Two deputies, blinded by the dust kicked up by the stolen car on a lime rock road, crash cruisers through a T-stop intersection. One drives through a fence, the other hits a dirt berm and goes airborne.

Except, this script is real. And Sheriff Richard Nugent is not amused.

The sheriff suspended without pay a sergeant and 12 deputies involved in the 6 p.m. Thursday pursuit through Spring Hill and Royal Highlands. He said the risks "way outweighed" the possibility for arrest, especially because the incident only involved a stolen car and the deputies involved knew the culprit. The deputies violated multiple elements of the agency's pursuit policy and endangered many area residents, he said.

Each deputy has read and signed the pursuit policy. The latest memo went to all deputies a week before this incident.

"We are not going to tolerate it," Nugent said during an interview in his office Tuesday. "We are not going to allow our folks to jeopardize the safety of civilians out there."

He called it a "breakdown in supervision" and placed the bulk of the blame on Sgt. Frank Loreto, who oversaw the chase and got a five-day suspension.

Loreto wrote in a newly released report that he didn't believe the deputies violated any pursuit policies. He permitted the chase to continue despite knowing about the high speeds and moderate traffic on the roads.

Four deputies were suspended for multiple days, while the eight remaining deputies who provided backup assistance were each given a one-day suspension.

"They got caught up in the moment," he said. "When the adrenaline gets pumping you tend to forget, you get tunnel-vision ...."

The incident involved busy roads including Mariner Boulevard and Sunshine Grove Road and ended in the Royal Highlands area where the driver, Roy Reffuse of Dade City, crashed his red sports car. Reffuse, who admitted he was high on methamphetamine, hitched a ride with a neighbor but was caught at a checkpoint established near the scene, reports said.

The three deputies who wrecked their patrol cars could face additional sanctions from an internal review board that will convene in early January. All have previous accidents in patrol cruisers, internal Sheriff's Office records show:

- Deputy George Loydgren, 44, who initiated the chase after seeing the stolen Mazda 6 and later crashed and went airborne, was involved in two preventable accidents, one in December 2005 and one in August 2007.

-Deputy Christopher Croft, 33, who crashed through a fence at the intersection, was involved in a non-preventable accident in November 2005.

-Deputy Derik Deso, 28, who hit an oncoming Lexus SUV, was involved in an August 2002 traffic crash.

Nugent said he personally reviewed the data on the chase and met with the entire group Tuesday to express "how disappointed I am in their actions." The agency intends to pay to repair the damaged Lexus and to replace the broken fence.

"The way I explained it to our guys is: Is it worth your life or the life of one of your family members to catch some guy who stole a car?" he said. "And everyone of them shook their head no."

Nugent asserted that the chase was atypical for the agency. "The majority of pursuits are terminated immediately," he said. "This is so far out of the norm. That's why it took some extreme measures."

The sheriff said he is not recommending further agencywide training on pursuits because "we have done almost everything humanly possible as it relates to pursuits and controlling them."

He said there are few, if any, circumstances to continue chases, such as murder, bank robberies or other violent crimes. "You can't say never on pursuits," he said, "but you have to be able to justify it."

Suspended list

A sergeant and 12 deputies were suspended without pay following a 15-mile chase through Spring Hill during rush hour Thursday. Below is a list of the deputies disciplined in the incident and the extent of their involvement

Five-day suspension:

- Sgt. Frank Loreto, who supervised and authorized the pursuit

Three-day suspension:

- Deputy George Loydgren, who Initiated the chase and reached 103 mph before he wrecked his car at an intersection and went airborne

Two-day suspensions:

- Deputy Dustin Mormando, who reached 112 mph as one of the lead deputies following the stolen car

- Deputy Christopher Croft, who topped 110 mph before crashing his car through a fence at an intersection

- Deputy Stephen Miller, a canine officer who drove 117 mph to respond to the scene of the chase

One-day suspensions:

- Deputy Seth Kern, who provided backup and participated in the chase

- Deputy Derik Deso, who crashed into oncoming car as he responded to the stolen vehicle chase

- Deputy Matthew Spooner, who provided backup and participated in the chase

- Deputy Brandon Cox, who provided backup and participated in the chase

- Deputy Richard Noberini, who provided backup and participated in the chase

- Deputy Wayne Peterson, who provided backup and participated in the chase

- Deputy Sean Reynolds, who responded to chase but didn't participate

- Deputy James Smith, who provided backup and popped a tire during pursuit


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Man survives six story fall into trash compactor

A man who fell six stories into a trash compactor that activated when he hit survived the ordeal, Moline police said.

The incident occurred at about 5 a.m. Saturday at the Hillside Heights Apartments, 825 17th St., according to a news release issued Tuesday by Moline Police Lt. Jerome Patrick.

Police were called to the building by a resident who could hear a male voice yelling for help near the elevator shaft, Patrick said.

Building maintenance responded, released the trash compactor and pulled the man out of the bin, he said.

Patrick said that Alfonzo Gomez, 26, explained that he was at a party on the sixth floor when he went to throw some trash out. As he threw the bag into the chute, his hat fell off his head and went into the chute.

Gomez reached into the chute to retrieve his hat, but could not see or feel his hat. He climbed into the chute feet first believing he could reach his hat. But he slipped and fell six floors to the compactor.

When he hit the bottom, the compactor activated and compressed two pressure plates against Gomez, Patrick said. The plates held the man until the compactor was turned off.

Gomez told police he was in the compactor for 30-45 minutes yelling for help. He had no feeling in the lower part of his legs for several minutes and was advised to seek medical attention.

Patrick added that it was not known if Gomez retrieved his hat.

From here.

A HAT? You went down a garbage chute for a HAT?

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Thats MR. orange peel to you...

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