Snowboarding 2012/2013

I’ve been on a few snowboard trips this season.

  1. New Years – Vail
  2. January Colorado Redux – Copper and Winter Park
  3. March – Snowhoe with a giant group
  4. Late March – Wintergreen for an unexpected snow day

Vail was a great trip (but we could have used more snow) with a pretty big group of people. New Year’s Eve in Colorado is a pretty good way to do it. We need to remember though that the better snow seems to come later 🙁

Sun rise on the Rockies.
This is why I’m not answering your email.

 

After the New Year’s trip Brendan said “Hey, my buddy is opening a brewery in Denver. Do you want to go back out?” I said yes immediately, even though I had just returned from Colorado days earlier. I had some vacation time to take. We hit up Copper and Winter Park (moguls can suck it). There are also some shots of Craig’s brewery in here:

View from the Winter Park lift.
View from the Winter Park lift.

 

After a busy January I took February off from boarding an focused on work for the entire month. March rolled around though and it was time for some spring skiing at Snowshoe, WV. The weather was sunny and sometimes warm. The slopes were filled with college girls on Spring Break. We had an awesome chalet to stay in. This was a great trip.

A colorful group of friends at Snowshoe.
A colorful group of friends at Snowshoe.

 

We decided to make one last ditch effort at boarding in March. It was the weekend after a balmy 70 degree St Patrick’s day in Raleigh. We headed up to Wintergreen and were greeted by cold (and SURPRISE) a snow storm. We had several inches dumped on us while we were boarding. Best trip ever and a great way to wrap up the season.

Our group in the late season snow!
Our group in the late season snow!

We even managed to get a video of Kenneth and Pete coming over Lower Cliffhanger. I like Kenneth’s roller coaster technique.

 

Kenneth did mention that A-Basin is open until something crazy like June so maybe there is one more trip left. Who knows?! This was a good season though. I’m much faster than last year and more confident in my ability to haul ass without serious injury.

Farmer’s Market Min Maxing

Heather decided we should hang out at the Farmer’s Market. I’m totally cool with this because it means breakfast followed by the purchase of fresh eggs.

I realized I have the same problem at the Farmer’s Market as I do in major MMOs or RPGs that I play. It’s all about stats and numbers.

Vendor #1 is selling carrots 3/$1.
Vendor #2 is selling carrots 4/$2.

Instant dilemma. Are Vendor #2’s carrots larger or better quality such that the justify this insane percentage price difference? OH MY GOD, THERE ARE MORE THAN 2 PEOPLE SELLING CARROTS. WHICH ONES ARE THE BEST? Short of walking around with a spreadsheet, a scale, and a camera how am I supposed to know which carrots are the best carrots to purchase? WHAT IF I BUY THE WRONG CARROTS THAT AREN’T THE BEST? I’ll be stuck with those carrots and that poor decision forever.

This is similar to why I can’t get too serious into video games with a million different skill options… like Skyrim’s crazy big open skill tree. I only have so many points to spend.. which options are the best. Let me sit down and think about it for 3 hours. I feel like I should min-max every life decision to the fullest extent possible and this puts a considerable transaction cost on certain activities.

Sometimes the solution though is to just buy some fucking carrots and quit thinking about it.

Hiking Pilot Mountain with Wes

I decided to take Wes up on some of our prior conversations where we talked about hiking around various NC mountain spots. We took a Saturday and spent it at Pilot Mountain hiking for about 9 miles.

This was an excellent trip and I’m glad we decided to hike the whole thing instead of just doing the summit loop. Much more rewarding.

Visiting Priya in Birmingham

I decided to keep up the friend visits by following through on a promise to visit Priya in Birmingham, Alabama. This was a great time. Priya knows lots of beautiful girls which is always a nice bonus. Here’s the full photo set of my trip to Birmingham.

We also did a group dinner which was awesome. Priya introduced us to a number of her girlfriends. Everyone was pretty cool.

Group Dinner in Birmingham

We went to a bar where they sang Sweet Home Alabama. This was a lot of fun when you’re actually IN Alabama. Everyone went a little crazy.

Alabama bar (college bar?)

We went to an after hours bar too. That was a little insane because we were out WAYYY too late.

The trip was a success and much fun was had.

DC and Raleigh with Jason, Ashley and Robbie

Since visiting Buffalo in June / July we all decided the crew needed to visit Raleigh. Labor Day worked out to be the best time. On the way down Jason, Ashley, and Robbie wanted to stop in DC. That seemed cool to me so I flew up to meet them there and bummed a ride back down for the long weekend to Raleigh.

Here’s a link to the full DC / Raleigh album.

Since Devon also lives in DC I figured I’d let him know we were raiding his town. We actually wound up staying in his building. Thanks Devon!

Outside Devon’s Place

We started in the morning and hit the Metro up toward The Mall. We did the normal tourist walk and checked out The Washington Monument, The WWII Memorial, The Reflecting Pool, The Lincoln Monument, the Vietnam wall.

Still our walk continued, we checked out The White House, and the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. At that point I think it was lunch time and we grabbed some BBQ on 7th.

After BBQ it was the Air and Space Museum followed by a walk around The Capitol Building. That was a hell of a lot of walking. I think we added it up and tallied something like just over 6 miles, maybe 7. We had some smoothies with Devon and Stef and then headed back to Raleigh via Richmond.

In Richmond we met up with a high school buddy Mitch and visited a local brewery for some snacks, a beer or two and a growler. We left the brewery behind and the passengers slept off the pints on the way to Raleigh.

We spent the weekend in Raleigh hanging out and recovering a bit from how crazy our day in DC was.

Here are some more shots taken along the way.

Robbie and I hanging out under the NY section of the WWII Memorial.
Lincoln Memorial was awesome. Spent time reading all the text on the walls.
Copying and iconic shot.
White House shot with the group.

Birthday. Turning 30 and trying to be a better person.

The moral of this post is that Lisa is awesome and will make cakes on demand. It’s better than movies on demand. Full album of 30th Birthday Pics here.

First things first.. I’ve been working on my plate at The Flying Saucer. After much drinking I was finally able to complete the task of drinking 200 different beers. I have a long list of beers, a plate on the wall at the saucer (and a matching one for my house), and a beer belly in progress.

I kind of went a little nuts for the Birthday thing so I spent a bunch of time doing donuts and burnouts in my car for fun, bought myself a new keyboard and bought myself a nice set of knives. Happy Birthday to ME!


While messing around with the car I ran it out of gas twice. Apparently at full throttle going 10 mph sideways you use a TON of gas. Who knew? Pete came to my rescue and Brendan and John Gill watched my hijinks. Thanks guys!

Lisa made me a great cake which I had apparently commissioned at some point. The text is exactly per my specifications. I got a huge kick out of this and I’m sure everyone else did too. Thanks Lisa!

We played some Cards Against Humanity which was fun. Great to have my apartment full of drunk people saying terrible things. Scott even got to read some risque cards. That was a treat!

Even better, we convinced Lauren to come out to the bar. She’s been either pregnant or a mom for so long now that the moment was marked with MANY cell phone photos. Here’s a fun one that captures the spirit of the moment.

Now that I’m 30 I will try to be a better person. So far it’s actually going alright. I don’t believe I’ve done anything despicable yet. Pretty sure. I may have hit on Lauren after that photo was taken – but only jokingly and after much tequila.

Thanks everyone for coming out to my place for the party and following me around for drinking. I also owe a big thanks for all the shots people were putting in front of me. Everything was going so well until the 151 showed up!

Buffalo Family Visit

My sister Jen said “I’m going back up to my HS reunion, and our cousin is having a bachelorette party / wedding shower”. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to combine some family visits with the brief time where the weather in Western New York is pleasant.

Here’s a link to the full gallery of our WNY Visit.

We stayed at my Dad’s and had a chance to check out some of the weaponry. This was fun because Matt (Jen’s BF) had never shot a gun before.

There was also old photo time. Here is me at about 16 years old working construction working with Dad. Super safe use of power tools right?

Also we saw some evidence of the Bread Box mass production line that my Bread Box came from:

Amanda also took out her horse for a little bit of a pond swim. It was pretty warm up there so the horse seemed to enjoy it.

We got a great shot of me, Amanda, Jen, and Matt all at my friend Jason’s parents’ house. Perfect weather for hanging out around a fire.

Jason and Chuck were there too which was awesome. I haven’t seen these guys together in a while so it was good to spend some time with them.

A crazy part of the weekend was helping Don and Tiffany put a roof on their house. Sort of an interesting way to spend a vacation 😉 It was fun though. Here’s Jason tearing off old shingles.

There was a FRIGGING HILARIOUS moment where we needed Jason to move a 24 ft extension ladder from one side of the house to the other. I have never seen someone do THIS to an extension ladder. I don’t even really know how it happened but you could see the gears turning in Jason’s head as we watched and laughed at him.

On a visit up to the old farm I got to see my cousin’s Ashley and Angela. I took a great picture of Ashley post-party where she’s a wreck. She wasn’t too happy that I posted this one on facebook… but that’s what family is for 🙂

You can check out the rest of the pictures. This was a good trip where I got to visit old friends and family. The weather in the WNY area couldn’t have been better. The summers up there really are perfect.

Maybe I’ll go back some day for more than just a short visit.

Cisco Live 2012 in San Diego

Another catch up post here about a trip to San Diego straight from Hawaii for Cisco Live 2012. Seems like the weeks and months have just been melting away recently so I’ll do my best to keep things brief on summary while hitting the high points. It’s nice to look back and remember all the good times. Even better to jot them down for posterity.

I was headed out to be a backup speaker for a session on SIP Trunking (as mentioned in a previous post).

The first order of business on arrival was to take brewery tours of Green Flash and Stone, followed by dinner at Stone. This turned out to be a great idea.

We crammed a whole bunch of TAC engineers onto a bus and headed for beer town. This was a pretty cool cross site team bonding event!

Yep, it’s beer

The octopus was cool. No idea what that’s really for though.

Part of the Jeeping crew on the West Coast

Tons of people on an Escalator headed for the opening day of the conference

The CCIE party was on an air craft carrier. Pretty much the most bad ass place I’ve ever had the chance to drink a beer… sitting in a helicopter on the deck of an air craft carrier.

The we gave a presentation

The customer appreciation even was Weezer. They somehow topped the air craft carrier

I ran into Liz who I hadn’t seen in a while, but kept bumping into throughout the week.

The grass in the outfield of PetCo park feels pretty good!

Cisco Live 2012 was a really fun event. A week of hanging out with colleagues, attending training sessions, meeting with customers, and presenting our own session. This was an insanely busy week that required some time to recover from.

Excellent Hawaii Trip

This is a super belated post about the trip I took to Hawaii back in June with 7 awesome friends.

I have to admit being invited in the first place was quite a surprise to me! Heather told me there was an extra spot and that the collective decided I could be allowed to come along. I heard there were bets placed on the sort of debauchery that I’d be up to when stranded on an island with so many nerdy girls who fit my M.O.: Ex GF, Someone Else’s Wife, Someone Else’s GF, and prior.. whatever that was. Apparently I have a reputation for indiscretion.

You’ll be happy to hear that in the theme of “me becoming an improved person” there was no havoc wreaked of any sort whatsoever. I’d like to claim full responsibility for this, but I think the reality is more mundane in that my reputation is over hyped. I sound like some lady killer when instead I’m just a lonely dude who sometimes finds love in the wrong places.

ANYWAY – on to stories of incredible vacation!

Justin managed to swing a super sweet place to stay on the West coast of The Big Island. I arrived very late after a full day of travel. Everyone else had booked airfare before I was invited, so I wound up traveling about 20 hours by myself. I enjoy the alone time so this is cool. I rented my own car at the Kona Airport and drove the 30 minutes up to the house. It was about 10:00PM local time, so about 4AM Eastern time. Everyone was passed out!

The next morning Heather gave me a tour:



The best part about this place was that every single area was large enough to accommodate a group of 8 people in that endeavor. Breakfast for 8? No problem? Hot tub for 8? No problem! Outdoor meal for 8? No problem. Movie time for 8? No problem.

We enjoyed a day of relaxing and exploring the local area. We woke up crazy early since we were on East Coast time, 6 hours ahead. We had group breakfast in the bag by 8AM and were ready for a day of just vacation.

One of the first exploration items was Kona Brewery, right down the road. If you love beer this is a highly recommended destination!

Everyone got a sampler (except for me). There is a nice distinction in Before and After pics. See if you can spot the difference. Heather is the outlier here. Sorry for posting that terrible before pic of you Heather!

After Kona our house was well stocked for games and socializing. The group is very game centric so we brought games with us as important travel items:

We also explored the whole island. To me the most amazing part was that the West side was barren desert lava wasteland.

The East side was lush tropical rain forest. When you crossed over the crest it was cold fog and wind!

There is a lot of stuff we fit in here, so I’m going to start the abridged version. Use your imagination to fill in the story.

Waterfall group shot

Funny times instructing people to be whacky while I take photos

Crazy lobster claw plants that secreted a super slippery fluid that was worth touching

Snapping a cute candid of Heather BECAUSE she hates being photographed.

Everyone in the group!

Triple waterfall

Great view from the pool deck at our house.

Jesse had an AMAZING idea that we should get a keg from Kona for the house.

Ostensibly the trip was to capture the Transit of Venus. Justin did that. I helped with SD card rotation and moral support when everyone else was like “Are you still fucking with that camera?!?” 😉

Hawaii has sunsets

We hiked across a volcano crater. It was hot and there was still steam coming up in spots.

Double rainbow nearly caused me to crash the minivan in excitement

I photographed well

Hawaii has great signs

Things got a little saucy when we pretended to be adults and dress up for a fancy dinner. This one wasn’t my fault.

Hawaii was the best vacation I’ve ever been on. Things were pretty much perfect and I couldn’t ask for a cooler group of people to go with. Would definitely go back.