A New Low


They've done it again; just when you thought you were fully Boulder Whole Foods Battle Hardened, these people manage to redefine solipsism. Lemme tell ya what happened. The other day I'm in the BWF, and I roll up to a cashier with my basket. The cashier was just finishing up with the customer ahead of me, counting change, asking if she wanted her receipt, etc. Meanwhile, I started unloading the items from my basket onto the conveyor belt. As the cashier was done with the previous customer, she turned to me and started scanning my items, and she goes: "Thanks for unloading your basket." Say fucking what?! After doing a Lewis Black-style head shake, I begged for clarification. "Do you…

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Elk Insanity


You'd think that after seven years of living in Boulder, CO this shit wouldn't faze me anymore, but, alas. Since there's no way this made the national news, let me tell ya what happened here in our little hamlet of Boulder on New Year's Day. An on-duty Boulder cop shot and killed an elk that was within the city limits. Said elk had been visiting the neighborhood -- which is at the west end of town, right up against the mountains and open space -- for the past few weeks, and apparently the townsfolk had grown fond of the majestic creature. Said cop claims that the elk appeared to be injured, and he euthanized it out of mercy for the…

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Flagstaff


Let's talk about rarities. It's rare that an individual discovers his passion at five years old; it's also rare that an individual follows that passion through high school, against great odds and bias. It's rare for an individual to love a thing, a sport, and a place so much, and yet wait 36 years for him to finally call that place home. I've done those things, and yesterday was a validation of all of it. Yesterday, Brenda & I volunteered for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. First off, let me say it was all Brenda's idea, and mad props to her because I never would have volunteered otherwise, and may have skipped the event altogether, save to watch the peloton…

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Thank You, Contributors!


Thanks to all who contributed to my fundraising efforts for the 2010 Cause for Paws, benefiting the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. About 500 people (plus dogs!) participated in either the run or the walk, and together we raised $50K to help the shelter help animals and their owners alike. Team Hooper (Hooper, Rob & Brenda) did the walk, and it was fairly hysterical to see what amounted to a giant dog walk unfold on the paths around Boulder on a beautiful day. After the walking, there was food, music, dog massage, and Hoop even got to refresh his chops on the agility course, which led to the funniest event of the day. Hooper tried the "chute" obstacle, which is…

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Cause for Paws 2010 Pledge Request


Hi folks; asking for money. It's not for me, it's for the animals. I am raising pledges for A Cause for Paws Doggie Dash on September 11th. Your support will help the Humane Society of Boulder Valley provide food, shelter, medical treatment and behavioral rehabilitation to animals in need. I'm not gonna pull a Sarah McLachlan on you and show you a bunch of doggie and kitty sad-eyes here, I'm just going to appeal to your greater sense of kindness and throw on a heaping dose of guilt. I was baptized as a Catholic, after all. That shit works. Some of you may know that my beloved dog Hooper was sprung out of the Boulder Humane Society a few years…

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For Hikers, and the Merely Ambulatory


Just wanted to point out a great, great article on a "peakbagging club" in New Jersey: New Jersey's undeveloped peaks rise above the rest Yes, you heard me. A club devoted to cataloging and "climbing" the many precipitous peaks in the grand state of New Jersey; high point: eighteen hundred feet, complete with monument to memorialize the majestic magnitude of the, uh, hill. Five of the peaks aren't even mountains per se -- they're called hills -- and one of the more modest, Guerin Benchmark in Randolph, is about a five-minute jaunt from the parking lot. The guys are totally tongue in cheek about it but at the same time it really does celebrate the hiking in NJ, of which…

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Radio Radiance


Last Thursday, I hit the airwaves, yakking about lighting simulation. For some reason the Boulder Green Building Guild was interested in my take on the use of simulation in optimizing the energy efficiency of building designs in the US, on the latest installment of Footprint Radio. It was a thrill to share the half-hour with Kostas Papamichael from the California Lighting Technology Center, and my buddy Mike Plann from Lightlouver. I hope one or two people listen, and are intrigued enough to explore daylighting design, or at least turn off the lights once in a while. The cool thing is I'm now in the iTunes Music Store. Check it out by listening to the show on the BGBG's website, or…

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Hidey Hole


Brenda's been telling me about this tree, this tree they pass on their walks, she and Hooper. Apparently there's a knothole at the base of this tree, where Hooper keeps one of his prized possessions -- a tennis ball. I was told where the tree was, and all I had to do was unclip his leash when we got close and say "go get your ball", and off he ran. He bounded across the tall grass and hooked around the tree I suspected. I found myself running so I could catch up and see where he was hiding this ball, but, too late. He trotted out from behind the tree with a celebratory strut and a faded tennis ball jauntily…

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Now Why Didn't I Think of This Sooner?


Riding home from work tonight, I was struck by the nice dusk light and wondered aloud to my carpool buddy what it might be like to walk up the Shanahan Ridge Trail toward Fern Canyon. She was all about it. She said she often goes trail running around there with another friend. Suddenly it all made sense. I need to combine my evening walks with Hooper and some actual exercise. I don't exercise, even though I should. Hell, these days I want to exercise. I've decided it's time to exercise regularly, partly because I want to, but partly because I need to. I turned 42 last week, and I officially have a "spare tire". Shirts of the "large" variety now…

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BIFF, again


Wow. So, once again, Brenda & I spent part of a February weekend checking out various films at the Boulder International Film Festival, and once again, we were not disappointed. This year, we had a nice manageable program: a movie a day, Friday through Sunday. Two were at the Boulder Public Library and one was at the fabulous Boulder Theater. The surprise of the weekend was that the library has a great theater; we hadn't seen any screenings over there to date, and I was expecting folding chairs and a temporary screen. But it turns out that the Boulder Public Library has a really nice theater, on top of everything else it has going for it. And on Friday evening,…

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Agile Hooper


We've been talking about doing this for months and months, and finally did it. We enrolled Hooper in a beginner's dog agility class at the Boulder Humane Society, starting up in a couple weeks. Hoop spent half the morning running and jumping in the ballfield today, and we've long thought that Hooper would be a natural at agility trials. And even if he sucks at it, we figure he'll have a good time trying to not suck at it. And so, on November 12th, Hooper will show up for class once again at the Boulder Humane Society and hopefully will ace his classes!…

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Blizzard


Been a while, I know. Will have more to say later. For now, we are having us a nice little blizzard here in Colorado. The best part is that my favorite bar is on top of things. Here's an email I received today: From: mtnsun@mountainsunpub.com Subject: Cold Rain and Snow won't close us Down!! Date: March 26, 2009 5:47:49 PM MDT To: rpg@rumblestrip.org Happy Spring Blizzard Phamily and Phriends We ARE open today at the Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery. (11:30 AM till 1 AM) The Southern Sun Pub will be open regulars from 4 PM till 1 AM. The Vine Street Pub in Denver is open from 4 PM till 1 AM.…

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RIP, Brent Graber


Brent Graber was a guy I casually knew, a co-owner of a fun little dog named Delaney. Brent and his brother were regulars at the ballfield near my house where Hooper & I spend many an evening. Last month, while Hooper was recuperating from his knee injury, Brent got hit by a car and had been in a coma ever since. I found out about Brent's unfortunate predicament a couple weeks after the fact, when Hooper & I returned to the ballfield. Ever since learning of Brent's unfortunate turn of events, I had been keeping tabs on him through a website his family had set up, and silently held out hope for a recovery of any kind. But tonight, at…

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Wildfire in Boulder County


A wildfire is raging in the foothills just north of Boulder; it started this afternoon, and really high winds and lots of open (and dry) land have provided the perfect ingredients for disaster. Already, several homes have been destroyed, and people are evacuating all over the place. This was the view from my front door when Hooper & I got home from our walk: This is a view looking northwest; you can see the main line of the fire, and the trail of little fires left in its wake. At that time, the fire line is probably six miles from my house as the crow flies, but it's a LOT closer to the edge of town than that! People I…

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Glider Flying Over Boulder


So about a year ago Brenda bought me an "introductory lesson package" gift certificate from the soaring school at Boulder Municipal Airport. I finally got a chance to get on the schedule. I have flown gliders exactly one other time before, back on the east coast. A friend of a friend offered me a chance to fly a Schewitzer 2-33 from Van Sant airport in Pennsylvania, and I had a ball despite the overcast day which meant no thermals, which meant we went up, and basically came right back down. Since moving to Boulder, I have pretty much stopped flying airplanes save for a few checkout flights, due to cost and time constraints. But apparently Boulder Colorado, in addition to…

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On Belay, Bitches!


It's been a while, but tonight I finally tried something new: rock climbing. More specifically, I took a belay course at the Boulder Rock Club, that included a little rock climbing. Brenda got into rock climbing about a year and a half ago, and at the time I had no interest in joining her. I was riding my bike around while she was hanging from tiny little pieces of plastic bolted to the climbing walls in the gym (and later, from chinks in the rocks of Eldorado Canyon), and that was fine with me; she had her hobby, and I had mine. Once she started her classes last year, Brenda absolutely fell in love with the challenges: the physical challenges…

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Reel Rock Tour


Tonight was one of those nights I truly felt lucky to live in Boulder. Tonight, at the fabulous Boulder Theater, the Reel Rock Tour kicked off to a packed house, and Brenda, Leslie, and I were there. The Reel Rock Tour is a traveling film festival celebrating rock climbing, in the extreme. Good god, it was fucking amazing. The only thing better than the photography was the amazing skill and daring of the people in the films. Well, that and the rocks; the rocks were amazing. From Eldorado Canyon--right here in Boulder--to Yosemite to Chamonix, France, these places served as playmates to people who tested their limits; their drive, determination, balls and boobs, as they climbed, slept on, and B.…

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Hooper Takes a Dip


Ahh, Boulder. Scott Carpenter Park, just around the corner from our house, has a public municipal swimming pool that keeps the kids cool all summer. Now that summer is over, the pool is officially closed for the season--to people. Boulder being dog-crazy Boulder, that does not mean the pool is yet closed for good to all creatures, though. No, after a de-clorination process last week, the pool was officially open to dogs starting this weekend and extending to next weekend. Yeah (woof)! Naturally, upon hearing of this insanity, we made plans to participate. We arrived at the pool parking lot Saturday afternoon--surrounded by vehicles with filthy pickup beds and festooned with decals like "my Border Collie is smarter than your…

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Mutt Components


So, now we know. Through the wonders of science and marketing, I was recently able to get the final word on Hooper's genetic makeup. Two weeks ago, I had to take Hooper to the vet for his rabies and distemper shots, and I seized the opportunity to have them also draw blood for the Wisdom Panel DNA test. This test, a fairly new offering in the veterinary community, can identify the genetic markers of 134 AKC-recognized dog breeds from a blood sample. The price has dropped somewhat, to a still-expensive $120, but I thought it would be fun to know exactly what's goin' on there in Hooper's genetic makeup. So I said what the hell. The test consists of drawing…

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The Horror of Bike to Work Day


Today in Colorado it's "Bike to Work Day", part of the greater "Walk and Bike Month" promoted by the state and various organizations. (Nationally, this event happens in April or May, but in Colorado there could be a foot of snow on the roads then, so we do it a little later here.) Now, on the surface of things, this is great. a major promotion of the use of alternative transportation, to open your eyes to the wonders of commuting outside of that steel box you drive the rest of the year. In the spirit of promoting the event and rewarding the riders and walkers, businesses all over Boulder set up stands and hand out free breakfasts and free samples…

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News: Heartless Bitches can Raise Children and Pets (or, why I want to be a vet)


This shit makes me crazy. The local paper ran an article today about the booming pet care business, especially in dog-crazy Boulder. Here in Boulder, there is a "law" that encourages Boulder pet owners to refer to themselves as their pet's "guardians", not "owners". You know how I feel about this one; I have a receipt. But it gives you an idea of the mentality Boulder residents have towards their pets, and in general I think it's great. Here, our dogs are our kids. They hike (off-leash) with us, they frolic in the many dog parks, they are welcome in many businesses, not just the multitude of pet stores and pet bakeries (yes, pet bakeries), and they are everywhere. In…

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Cake Live at the Chatauqua Auditorium


Last night, my friend Leslie & I went to see Cake play at the Chatauqua Auditorium, as the title of this post suggests. Cake is another one of those bands that thrived when I was in musical denial during the '90s and early '00s, but I guess I discovered them for myself a few years ago. I love their sound, their lyrics and their "whatever" attitude. Their lyrics touch on so many of my cares and beliefs that it's uncanny. They mock music groupies in "Rock & Roll Lifestyle" (and interestingly they probably hurt their own t-shirt sales in the process; read the lyrics, you'll see what I mean), the insanity of war in "I Bombed Korea", and, in what…

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Cause and Effect


Ever since Brenda & I moved to Boulder there has been one glaring omission from our daily lives, and that is settling down to read a good local newspaper. Back in Jersey, the Star Ledger was an excellent paper that originated from the local county where we last lived in that state. We got great reporting and writing, on everything from the international to the very local. The sports page was phenomenal. Molly Ivins' column was printed regularly, and we had almost no use for the New York Times and its holier-than-thou masthead font (and pricing). Here in Boulder, we have the Daily Camera. Now, being a Boulder newspaper, the Camera boasts some interesting and fun features that definitely pander…

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An Evening with the Eels


Last night I went to see the Eels at the Fox Theatre in Boulder. It was my first concert in about ten years! The last concert I intentionally went to was to see Bluetip at Maxwell's in Hoboken, New Jersey (which was great). Once again, as I did when I went to see Bluetip, I went alone; Brenda hates going to shows, and I kind of do too, these days. For a kid who used to see a minimum of three bands a weekend from junior year of high school though college, my last couple decades seem pretty pathetic by comparison, but I have my reasons. I'm an old fart who doesn't like people and crowds, as well as most…

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Line


This is cool. What we got here is the last remnants of the 8" of snow that dumped on Boulder yesterday. The Colorado sun came out in force today, melting most of the white stuff; the final traces are hanging tough here in the shadow cast by the ballfield fence, all nice and neat in a line, while Hooper and Lulu watch in despair as Jeannie and the other woman walk away with their dogs Joplin and Kyla: Just goes to show you what a little shading can do in terms of reducing the amount of direct beam solar radiation that affects a given area. P.S. The bits of snow missing in the foreground were eaten by Hooper. No…

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Briefly...


OK, I know it's been a while. Here is what's on my mind: When you own a dog, you clean more than ever, and yet your place is generally messier. It's snowing on the high peaks. Winter is just about here. While I like the look of the mountains with the snow on them, I'm dreading the thought of a winter like we had last year here in Boulder. The Colorado Rockies (baseball club) are absolutely tearing it up, and they remind me of the Phillies of 1993, another team of lower-paid gamers who ended up playing like a team instead of a collection of overpaid egos. I'll be rooting for a National League team this year in the World…

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Boulder Cruiser Ride(s)


Yeah so last week I wrote a post that purported to be about a cool cruiser bike, but was really a platform for me to bitch about a local bike ride that I felt had fallen into a sad display of Boulder elitism. I railed against these people and their policy of requiring costumes and cruisers on the ride. Since that time, some of the people I was complaining about found my little rant, and posted some seemingly witty retorts; what they really did was show their true colors. Meanwhile, several other bastions of the true spirit of the ride emailed me off-line and showed me the seamy underbelly of the Boulder bikeride/cruiser/chill/hangout groove, and as you…

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Best Cruiser Ever


I must have one of these! The Ellsworth "The Ride" is the coolest cruiser bike ever, and I am now accepting donations towards the purchase of one of these bad boys. And I promise to ride it around Boulder and not be an elitist asshole like the local "Boulder Cruiser Bikeride" jerkoffs who have taken their little (formerly large) ride underground (sort-of) and excluded all people who show up on non-cruiser bikes or not in costume (and, let's face it, costumes are, like, totally stupid, even on Halloween). I realize I have not given sufficient back story on the Boulder Cruiser Ride, but I guess those assholes never gave me enough good times to do so. And now you have…

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Live Yankees


One thing I miss out here, having moved 1,797 miles from Yankee Stadium, is of course the chance to see the boys in pinstripes with the white interlocking "NYs" on their chests take the field. Last year was my first full major league season living in Colorado, but the Yankees didn't make it out here for inter-league play. This year, while reviewing the Rockies schedule I noticed the Yankees were coming to town and I suggested to Brenda that we go; she was very non-committal. I should have figured out what that meant, but of course I didn't. I found out on my birthday, when I opened my present, which was a pair of tickets to game one of…

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Gusts!


Holy crap... Forecast for Boulder And Jefferson Counties Below 6000 Feet/West Broomfield County Updated: 9:37 PM MDT on June 06, 2007 High Wind Warning in effect until 12 PM MDT Thursday... Rest of Tonight Partly cloudy. Very windy. Lows in the mid 40s. West winds 25 to 35 mph. Gusts up to 100 mph in locations right near the foothills. Thursday Partly sunny. Very windy. Cooler. Highs in the lower 60s. Northwest winds 25 to 40 mph with gusts to around 100 mph in the morning. I love the "around 100 mph" estimate. You know, ninety, one hundred, whatever it takes... The sliding glass door is already bowing in response to the wind blasts around here, and I…

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Crash


So, my fabulous weekend came to an abrupt halt this morning, quite literally. As I was flying though the air, I thought, yep, weekend's over. Lemme back up a bit. I was riding to work, about to join the Foothills bike path when this dude making a right onto the Boulder Creek Path decides he's just going to use the entire bike path to make his turn. Problem was, I was thinking I might just use the right half of the path myself. We collided, I went flying up and over him and ended up on my back, thinking "what the hell just happened?" By the time I got to the office I was a little light headed and was…

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Bear!


This morning I went for a ride in the mountains, an activity I have just recently started doing and I realize I am remiss in reporting on here. Suffice to say, it's amazing. All the splendor of the mountain scenery that I witness when I go hiking, plus high speed descents and the camaraderie of the road. Opportunities for nature spotting abound; often there are raptors circling high above the canyons I ride in, and occasionally one can see a deer up on a hill, or a squirrel will dart out across the road. A couple of weeks ago I even saw a fox run cross the bike path with breakfast in his mouth. But today, I was treated to…

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B-17 Bomber Over Boulder


About a week or so ago, I received a flyer in the mail announcing the coming of the Liberty Belle -- a restored, airworthy, Boeing B-17 bomber dating from World War II. She was going to be at nearby Rocky Mountain Metro Airport (formerly known as Jefferson County Airport), right down the road. Rides would be available. There are a handful of these flying specimens touring the country at any given time and they serve to remind people of the sacrifices made by the so-called Greatest Generation and to preserve the legend of these magnificent aircraft. The usual deal is you make a reservation to fly in the thing, pay your money (in this case, $450 for a 30-minute flight)…

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Escape


From "The Escape Artist": The road makes a hard bend to the right and then straightens to point directly downhill to the valley floor. If the surface is dry and you are running on good tyres, if the way is clear and you can use the width of the road, if you have all your courage and your wits about you, you can make it round that curve without touching the brakes. You hit forty-five, fifty, right at the apex. You cannot see the exit and it is crucial to pick the right line. If you start running out of road, the camber will be against you, shrugging you off the blacktop. Once committed to a line, it is too…

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Gearing Up


After a long, long, very long winter, I'm here to tell you that spring is on its way, and is settling in nicely. I realize I just marshaled the weather gods to unleash a furious last ditch winter storm sometime in the coming weeks, but I don't care; Colorado is becoming beautiful again! I went for a bike ride today, in 70 degree weather under blue skies (and discovered that my new bike has a really nasty propensity for high speed front end shimmy). Last week I read the latest Backpacker magazine and picked out a few choice fourteener hikes I want to do this year. Brenda and I made some headway on our foyer & landing flooring project this…

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East Coast Trip


Brenda & I went to the east coast this past Thursday, our makeup trip for our postponed christmas Visit. Our christmas Visit was postponed due to weather. Perhaps in honor of that fact, we encountered more goddamned weather. Booked on a noon flight Thursday, our flight pulled back from the gate promptly at 2:15 so we could sit on a taxiway for another 45 minutes before departing. Upon arrival in the NY metro airspace, we commenced a precision hold for another 45 minutes before landing at Newark NJ. Upon arrival, the NJ Transit train we boarded for New Brunswick was horrifyingly similar to the one I left almost two years ago when I finished my tour of duty, but…

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What are YOU lookin' at?!


I came across this very interesting art piece, by way of Kottke's website. It upset me. First of all, this guy is essentially ripping off Walker Evans. Walker did it better, far better, and he did it seventy friggin' years ago. But there's more to this story. The Walker Evans photos from his 1938 project are really haunting because they were taken with a hidden camera; they capture the very souls of New Yorkers trying to endure the daily grind of city life. These Bill Sullivan photos are more in the "caught on camera" vein, which is a little more obvious -- more supermarket tabloid work than photographic art, and it annoys me that this is being peddled as the…

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Fuzzy Bob Steps Down


It ain't exactly "U.S. Marshals". Today, Boulder's local paper ran a fairly well-reseached, honest piece of journalism, yet it reads like something out of The Onion. Ward, Colorado, you see, is in need of some new police. The town's only state-certified lawman, Robert "Fuzzy Bob" Spratford, is retiring -- leaving only two guys named Skinny Pete and Tiny to protect and serve. Ward, Colorado is this quirky little semi-ghost town, a relic from the mining boom. Once the richest town in Colorado during the Gold Rush, it's now populated with folks who thought even Boulder was too conservative and thus headed for the hills. Filled with anti-establishment types and a rather large collection of broken-down vehicles, Ward incorporated as…

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Sled


Repeat after me: "Maxxis Locust CX tires are the greatest thing since coldcuts." After the third friggin' 12+" snowstorm in as many weeks, it was time to get the last of our Christmas packages mailed off since we could not deliver them in person, but today, Brenda had the car. So, with my packages loaded in my messenger bag and my tires pumped to 75psi, I slowly rolled out on the Skunk Creek Path, slipping a bit but generally biting into the slushy icy muck. By the time I was at Scott Carpenter Park, I was passing mountain bikers and plowing through the worst of it, recalling the salient message of my very first bicycle lesson from thirty-three years ago:…

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Enough!


OK, that's quite enough already, with the fuckin' snow. I get it. I live in Colorado. But the shit's only useful in the mountains, which is apparently where half my office is headed today, to ski. I wouldn't know, but hopefully by next weekend I will understand what this snow fever is all about. Right now, to me, all it is is a friggin' nuisance. After dropping Brenda off at the bus and our car off at the dealer to have the damage from last week's snowstorm(s) repaired, I strapped on the gaiters and plodded through the snow to my office. Looks like we got 8-9" here already, and it's supposed to snow most of the day again. It…

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