Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Snow Day

Originally uploaded by empyrean_squire
Last Thursday ten of us went up to Mountain High to go skiing. The trip had been planned for two weeks and we weren't going to be stopped by the stormy conditions we woke to. The snow levels had dropped to about 3,000ft the night before, and the white frosting nearly touched the valley floor. I checked the snow conditions online, and the resort's website reported that they'd received 18 inches of fresh powder the night before and were expecting another ten inches to fall during the day. Perfect. I arrived at the D's around 8am, and after testing out a pair of snow chains we loaded the fifteen passenger van and headed up the mountain. The drive up was absolutely amazing. The snow lay lightly in the branches of trees and delicately covered the other desert plants. The way the sun hit the embalmed plants made it seem like they were covered in tiny pieces of glass. About halfway up we had to stop and put the chains on the van, and before we reached the top the sky had clouded over and more snow was coming down in big thick flakes. The wind on top of the mountain was blowing about thirty miles per hour, making the 28 degree temperature feel more like 5. We were all dressed for it though. The wind whipped over the summit and carried the powder snow with it in thick clouds. In the mid afternoon Mario and I took the tram over to the East resort and found it all but abandoned. There were only half a dozen other skiers up there, which meant we had the 1.3 mile run all to ourselves. It was quite an experience, as the wind was blowing even harder up there, and sometimes the powder clouds would completely envelope everything, reducing visibility to about 5 feet. It also made it impossible to tell how fast I was going. There were a few times I was blasting along at almost the same speed as the flying snow, and watching the eddies swirl in slow motion around my feet like an affectionate house cat. All of a sudden a pinecone would appear on the ground some feet in front of me, and just as quickly it would be lost in the mist behind like it had been fired from a catapult. The brief reference point would give me an idea of how fast I was actually going. Fortunately no one got hurt. I was sitting at the lodge later that afternoon watching a tractor clear the snow away from the picnic area. Mario had gone inside to get a drink, and as I waited for him to come back out the deep resonating sound of the tractor suddenly made me think of the Discovery channel programs I'd watched on avalanches. I remembered the big avalanche that happened above Devil's Punchbowl a few years ago. I hiked up there with Jed and Levi a couple of weeks afterward, and we were all amazed at the field of rubble that lay all around us. Big chunks of snow and ice interspersed with tree branches and logs over forty feet deep and more than a half mile long. The whole mess was permeated with sawdust. A reminder of the trees that had been ground to pulp beneath the weight of it all. I reassured myself that if there ever had been avalanches at the resort I would have heard about it. It wasn't worth worrying about. The rest of the day was wonderful. The next day on the news they reported that there had been two avalanches up there and three people had been killed.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A New Year

I’m discovering just how much can be fit into a week. I’ll just hope this last week doesn’t characterize the year to come. School started again on the 2nd, and I’m already bogged down by upcoming due dates. Modern British Lit is going to kill me. Not only do I have more assigned reading than I’ve ever had in any one class, but it’s authors like Joyce and Woolf. 20 units this quarter, then burn-out.

Does the sentence “I ran a marathon” contain a transitive verb or is it prepositional? The proposition is implied. Where did you run? I ran in a marathon. Apparently “marathon” can be used to describe a distance as well. What did you run? I ran a marathon. Context. Stupid descriptive grammar.

Work has been slow, which is nice. The manager is out of town and there hasn’t really been anything to do anyway. We tested out the new projector system and laptop by watching I’m Reed Fish in its entirety. It seems to be working well, but I think we should watch a few more movies on it just to be sure. Meanwhile I’ve been spending most of my time in the back playing Jin and reading Crome Yellow. It’s difficult getting back into the 9-5 groove after the holidays.

I filed my grad app yesterday. I can’t believe I’ll actually be finished in June. It’s been too many years coming. Everything is lined up…well, except for grad school. It’s a little late in the year to be filling out grad school apps, but I think I’m going to try anyway. For the past month or so I’ve been thinking about what to do next- grad school aboard, grad school out of state, grad school at home- or no grad school at all. I’m entering another of those “major transitional periods.” Ironically, we’re reading The Road Not Taken in Modern American Lit this week.

A couple of days ago I built a lightbox for doing still life photography. Now I just need to find something to photograph other than Campbell’s soup cans.

Thanks to Kritter, Colby, the Jimminks and the Pedersons I’m steadily becoming not only more interested, but noticeably better at both Volleyball and Ping Pong- both games I’ve always been terrible at, and consequently, uninterested in playing.

Last night I received an anonymous comment on one of my entries, and so I logged into sitemeter to see who it might possibly have been. I was surprised to see that I’d already received nearly 50 hits that day. (I usually average around 2 or 3 per day) Looking at the referrals page it appears that almost every single viewer had been googleing the lyrics to Broken by Lifehouse and google had been sending them to the Broken Clock entry on my blog. It’s really nice to suddenly get so much traffic. It would be even nicer if more people stuck around and read some of the other entries. Thank you to those of you who do.

Let’s see, what else? Oh, a new word worth mentioning:

Widdershins – I believe is Scottish Gaelic for counterclockwise.

That’s all for now.