Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cross-Country Skiing is Painful!

So yes, cross-country skiing is fun. But it's also painful the next day! I swear, all of my muscles hurt. Even my triceps. Silly little triceps. Every time I move, something aches. I think I'll deal with this by reading about skiing, rather than actually skiing, at least until next weekend. :)


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cross-Country Skiing is Fun!

In college, Forrest and I went downhill skiing... once. I quickly discovered that I disliked the adrenaline produced from zooming downhill with minimal confidence in my ability to recover if anything went wrong. So Forrest has been angling for some cross-country skiing instead. This weekend, we finally made it up to the snow!

Jerry came along with us. Neither he nor I had ever been cross-country skiing before*, so we signed up for the beginner's lesson. We meant to get there in time for the 10:30 lesson, but we took too long at the grocery store getting supplies and wandering around looking for a gas station, so we missed the lesson. We mentioned this to the lady doing registration, and she hooked us up with Betty, one of the instructors, to do a private lesson for us at 11. Very awesome, since we were only charged the standard rate.

Cross-country skiing was much easier than I was expecting! Granted, this is probably in large part because we were learning on groomed trails with convenient little ruts to guide the skis. Even so, I had a lot of fun figuring out the right amount of effort vs glide.

I only fell down 3 times, and all those were within a 5-minute window until I figured out that looking backward while moving made me fall. At which point I stopped doing that, and I didn't fall any more. Jerry can't say the same, falling a total of 18 times throughout the day. But his center of gravity's higher than mine, and his skis were longer and more difficult to deal with, so he's got some good excuses. Forrest fell too, so no one was immune.

After our hour-long lesson, we tracked down Forrest, ate a light lunch, and headed back out on the trail. The only green (aka easy) trail we could get to was the Cold Creek trail, since the lifts up to the upper trails were taken out during a recent avalanche. Including the lesson, we probably skiied about 4km, or 2.5 miles. Not to shabby for our first day, eh?

Not quite true: When I was a kid, my family once went cross-country skiing in the Sierras. But my memories are very dim and mainly involve patches of thin, muddy, half-melted snow. Those memories do not even vaguely resemble the thick, well-groomed trails I skied on today. So I don't think it really counts.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Us: 1, Rats: 0

A couple nights ago, Forrest went into the pantry/laundry room and discovered a rat staring back at him from atop the water heater. So over the weekend we spent the better part of a day moving all the pantry food into the kitchen or throwing it out (Pasta Roni from 2003, I miss you!). As far as we could tell, the rat(s) had only gnawed on a bag of rice.

We bought some nasty-powerful rat traps and baited them with peanut butter (per my dad's suggestion) for a couple of nights without arming the traps, so the rats would be complacent and unsuspecting. Last night, Forrest finally armed the traps for the first time. Around 1 AM, Forrest woke up, saying that he'd though he had heard a commotion and a rat-squeal from the pantry. It being 1 AM, he decided to go back to sleep and check the trap in the morning.

As you can see from the photo, we got the sucker! Please note that both Forrest and I had rats as pets when we were kids, so it's not that we hate rats indiscriminately. We just don't want rats living in our pantry, or worse, infiltrating the rest of the house.

We're hoping it was just this one rat — it's a small female, so maybe it was working on setting up a nest. We're hoping there isn't a colony of rats ready to move in to our pantry. But we'll be setting more traps tonight, just in case.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Songsmith Ad: Must Been Heard to Be Believed

Ahhh, Microsoft. You make such great software, and ads to sell them! I like Videogun's commentary on the terrrrific ad for Songsmith:

[T]his REAL commercial for Microsoft's new Songsmith software (you sing at it and it creates horrible musak to accompany you) is completely insane. Not only is it apparently earnest and not a parody, self- or otherwise, it seems like it comes from a bizarro parallel universe where irony was never discovered.

See for yourself. Don't forget to turn up the speakers! ;)

Update: Forrest points out that this is from Microsoft Research, not the commercial arm of Microsoft. Still, the Cheese Factor is just to much for me. :P


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Almuerzo Español

Fui a un reunión hoy, durante el almuerzo, de hispanohablantes. He sabido sobre este grupo hace algunas meses, pero cada vez que occurió la reunión, me acobardé de ella. Esta vez, fui; ¡me alegré de ir!

Hubo un hombre, Rene, de Cuba, que es el líder del grupo. Él organiza las reuniones, manda los emails al grupo, etc. También hubo una mujer china de Ecuador (que nació en Nueva York) que se llamaba... Celestia? No recuerdo exactamente. Y un poco después, nos acompañó otro hombre, pero no se presentó.

Rene me dijo que mi pronunciación es buena, y (como me habían dicho otros hispanohablantes) mis Ses parecen españolas. :)

Google can translate for you. :)