polemicist: a writer who argues in opposition to others  

A BLOG about science, technology, consumerism, philosophy, higher education, media and other bothersome stuff that makes up modern life...

20080129.0857 No Way Big K

I have done a lot of snowboarding this season.  I have 22 days in so far.  I have ridden in Colorado, Andorra, upstate New York and Vermont.  By far the most expensive place anywhere I have gone this year is Killingtonin Vermont.  US$79 for 1 adult full-day.  I went there on Saturday the 26th.  It was snowing.  There were ice patches.  I rode all day - probably 20+ miles.

No matter where you go in any of the mountains there are crowds.  Riding down a run is often more like standing in line than an extreme sports experience.  Even the back-country spots are well travelled and that says a lot.

By way of comparison we went to Ascutney the next day.  It was snowing again so there was a new thin surface available.  They also made snow which helped to keep the coverage consistent and to freeze out the people on the chairlift next to the snow guns.

The crowds were much more manageable.  This is not to say that the place wasn't doing business.  Every chairlift was full that I saw.  There merely weren't lengthy lines waiting to get on them.

Lift tickets there were also what I would call expensive.  US$60 for 1 adult full-day.  And no, there isn't 1/5 the ridable terrain that there is at Big K, but honestly I find that I don't really need to take a different run every time out.

But to me again - the crowds are what make or break a day for me lately.  The more people there are the more obstacles there are.  Call me selfish but I like having a run to myself.  This is why I truly prefer the mid-week experience, but it's not so easy to make that work out with the job. <shrug/>

So based on all this I say that the best riding to be had is actually at the smaller mountains during the middle of the week, especially after a fresh snow.  The smaller places don't necessarily make snow so natural snow is always the best, but they do often groom pretty well to make up for it so that helps too after a fresh snow.  The bigger places like Big K I think are much better to resort to when you need the man-made snow to actually ride at all.


20080122.1016 Walk It Off

America is obese because we dont walk anywhere. In Europe people take a lot more buses. This means you walk to the bus stop and stand on the bus and walk from the bus stop. It's just that simple.

Overreliance on oil has removed a certain amount of required physical labor and this has been perverted in the name of convenience.  While conveniences like motorized wheelchairs are useful for the handicapped, they are misused by ablebodied people who are lazy and grow fat from dinosaur power, or use them to enable themselves to grow more obese.

It's been proven that if a mall is big enough, people will actually walk out one side of it & drive to the other side rather than walk.

Rare are the cities that even provide places to walk.  San Francisco is the obvious exception.  It seems like everyone there is running or riding a bike.  There are parks all over.

I was travelling back from Europe this week with friends and one of them nearly had a panic attack because the bus driver wasn't going to drop us off directly in front of the airport in Barcelona.  We actually had to walk a few hundred yards.

If you go to BJ's or the Price Club, etc. you might be priviledged enough to see a 400+ lb. person riding on an electric cart, buying junkfood in bulk.

"...when I found you, you were so slobbering drunk you couldn't buy brandy!"
- Vizzini, The Princess Bride


20080107.1344 Access Denied

In preparation for a trip to Europe I went through the modern ritual of calling all of my credit card companies up and informing them that I would be, in fact, in the countries that they are about to be charged from.  To be thorough, I called 611 on my iPhone and told them too and asked about availability & additional applicable charges for Spain and Andorra.

I was told that since the SIM isn't accessible on the phone, they can't unlock it and therefore I can't use it there at all.

Honestly I'm appalled by this notion.  The whole point of going with AT&T is to have global coverage.  Other carriers make you surrender your phone & transfer the SIM to another phone.  Are we saying that the iPhone is designed not to allow this?

I am not completely sure that I actually believe this.  (I thought Apple had announced that Movistar will be the carrier in Spain... Now maybe Telefonica? The more that I research, the more likely it seems to actually be.)  Certainly I will test it at intervals to see if it is actually so.  If so, then I'll be net-stumbling my way across Catalonia, mooching WiFi services and living off of Instant Messenger and email.

20080102.0843 Watts Up

Here's a little present for you for the new year - a new hassle over batteries on planes.

So keep your batteries in little plastic bags.  Keep your <4oz of liquids in little plastic bags.  You might consider actually putting everything in them from now on - just so you don't have to keep up with the rule changes.

I was up to using 4 separate bins plus my half-empty carry on luggage through the machine on the last trip.  Why don't we all just start using transparent luggage and bags like the ones that some retail clerks are forced to bring to work every day?  That way we all get to see each other's dirty laundry...

[..deep breathing exercises..]

[smile]  :-)

Happy New Year. 



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