, , Wednesday, April 8, 2009 3 comments

I tend to feel pretty compassionate toward animals. Maybe you could even call me "soft." I say "please" and "thank you" to the dog when I give a command. In fact, I view my signals more as requests than commands. I'd be a vegetarian if I could just stop eating meat, but I loose the power of my convictions at the dinner table.

Nevertheless, I have never understood killing for pleasure, i.e. hunting. I could never see hunting as pleasurable. I can understand getting out in the woods and chatting over beer with your buddies, but I'd just take a picture when the deer comes by. I'd have no inclination to shoot it with a gun.

I was surprised to see this partial deer carcass at my favorite hiking spot today. It's in a city park, so I have no idea what it was doing there. It wasn't much of a carcass, just a lower leg, but I hope nobody is hunting in this park that's popular for hiking and biking.

Perry doesn't share my worries. He neither cares that we are in potential danger of gunshot, nor has any remorse about the animal's demise. He was happy to replenish his protein needs by snacking on any remaining meat. I suppose it's as good as a Zone Bar, but it doesn't fit in your pocket. No matter, Perry doesn't have any pockets anyway. He still has diarrhea from eating too much pond scum a couple of days ago, though, so I didn't let him snack for long.

Surf Dreams

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 0 comments

As a 44 year-old living in Minnesota, do you think I can still learn to surf? I tried when I was in Hawaii, and could hardly paddle into the waves. But it looks so fun, and the music in this video adds to the appeal.

GPS Mania


Hardly a day goes by lately that I don't use a GPS device. I recently mapped out our trip to Florida using a Garmin GPSMap 60csx with their City Navigator NT software. I kept my eyes glued to the device for too much of the trip, but since I didn't do much driving it helped keep my mind occupied.

The City Navigator software is pretty nice, and the device will give turn-by-turn route directions which makes navigation a snap. And there are thousands of POI (points of interest) data points loaded into the software, which is really handy as well. As we approached Nashville I used the information to try to find a hotel for the night. I could sort the hotels by distance to travel, and call the number listed to book a room.

What I find even more useful is my new Garmin Forerunner 305. It includes a heart rate monitor, so I use it to monitor and log all of my excercising. I can set elaborate training routines if I choose, to help guide me through repeat workouts or to alarm if my heart rate gets too high/too low. But I'm not in high intensity training mode, so mostly I just use it for keeping track of how my fitness is coming.

Today I wanted to have a day off from running, but I didn't take the day off from my GPS habbit. I did some cross training by taking a nice long hike with the dog. He's such a fun little hiking partner, coming quickly back to check on me if he has run out of site. He's able to tackle the scarey narrow wooden bridges over the ravines now without much hesitation. A couple of months ago it took 10 minutes of coxing with treats to make that happen. Now he crosses on his own.

I think we have some of the most scenic hiking in the state just a mile from our house. Here's our route:

View Interactive Map on

Tending the body, feeding the soul

, Monday, March 30, 2009 0 comments

It has been a long couple of months rehabbing my shoulder. But I started running during our trip to Florida last week. It went very slowly, but it was great for my soul. I also found a new running partner, our little puppy Perry. I took him on our first trail run today, now that we're back in Winona. He was thrilled and ran like the wind. He needs the exercise, and thrives on the activity. It helps him be a good dog. Here's our route.

Keeping the sidewalks safe from crime

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 0 comments

Does this make you feel any safer?


Tuesday, March 10, 2009 3 comments

I was walking Perry today and he picked up a little fallen nest in his mouth. I had noticed it earlier in the day and thought that it was so cute and small. I made Perry drop it and we continued on our walk. When I told Margaret about it she said that she wished I had picked it up for her, so I went back and got it. It had gotten flattened in the rain, but it was so soft that it took its shape again easily. I wondered what made it so resilient, so I took a look more closely.

It was made from Marco's fur, laced together with twigs.

Butt dialing

, , Monday, February 23, 2009 1 comments

I wonder what my butt would say if it called Margaret. It would probably make some sort of joke like, "You stink!" Maybe it wouldn't call her, maybe it would text instead with a message like, "Pffft." Or maybe it would call and say nothing, then text the message, "SBD; get it?"

Cool Video

Friday, February 20, 2009 1 comments

Steven Hamilton from The Day Is Over (2004) from Elliot Van Orman Productions on Vimeo.

On Stage

, , Thursday, February 19, 2009 0 comments

Some managers at work went to a business conference at Disney World a couple of years ago. They brought back a concept of "on stage" versus "back stage." My usual role at the hospital is pretty "back stage" since patients are not typically aware of much of my activities. But my recent roll as a patient has put me squarely "on stage."

Margaret dropped me off "on stage" this morning for a follow-up appointment with my orthopedic surgeon. I had time afterwards to visit various departments and catch up on the latest news from work. While I waited for Margaret to drive up to the door I noticed a little dog walking on top of red car. She was accompanying another "on stage" performer (i.e. patient/visitor) and I tried (but failed) to get her picture on top of the car. Here's the one I did get, though. Pretty cute.

Expiration Date

, Monday, February 9, 2009 0 comments

Elizabeth noticed this expiration date on a box of crackers. It's a flavor that she doesn't like, and just wants to get done with the box so she can have some normal Cheez-Its. They'll be around for a good long while if she doesn't finish them, though. Or if the Apocalypse comes in the next 1000 years, at least the roaches will still have something fresh to eat. They'll have to keep an eye on the calendar - once June 1, 3009 gets here these things are going to be nasty!

John Muir Trail

Sunday, February 8, 2009 0 comments

I spent a couple of really fun days on this trail a few years ago during a break in an anesthesia conference. I'd love to go back and do the whole trail.

High Sierra HD - Backpacking the John Muir Trail from Pete Bell on Vimeo.

Skiing Video

, Sunday, January 18, 2009 0 comments

I did this on Wii downhill skiing once, so I know exactly how he feels.

Climbing Video


Not much to say about this, just a funny video.


Friday, January 16, 2009 1 comments

It's too cold to take Perry out for a hike, and obedience training gets old after a while. So there's nothing left but to make him pose for pictures.

Mii thinks it feels too cold

, Thursday, January 15, 2009 1 comments

Whenever it's cold out, the weather reporters get a little nutty. They seem obligated to actually interpret the weather for us. For instance, right now is reporting the current temperature as -17° F. They also report, "Feels like -33° F." Reporting the Wind Chill Index would be too difficult for us to understand, I guess. But if they tell us what it feels like, then we'll have an instant appreciation for the data.

What does -33° F really feel like anyway? I don't have a lot of experience with -33° F as a comparison. Besides, whenever it actually is -33° F, the weather people always say it feels like something else. So I'm not any more enlightened to know that it actually feels like -33° F right now.

Here's my experience with what -33° F feels like; I slip out of bed at 4:45 am when Perry get restless, bundle up in my DAS parka, R1 tights and powerstretch gloves, step through piles of snow with an old pair of untied running shoes, trying to get to Perry's poo before he eats it, then come back inside with a dog that is already limping from the cold snow. OK, I'll file that away in my brain for next time they tell me that it feels like -33° F outside.

I'm sure the "feels like" terminology got started because the wind chill formula is stupidly complex. If fact, there's an old complex formula, and a new complex formula. Here's the old one:
And here's the new one:
Back in the 1970s, when we were supposed to start switching to the metric system, the formula for wind chill index got messed up. So the weather people felt like they had to explain the change. Finally they threw up their hands and came up with the "feels like" explanation for wind chill index and have been using it ever since. But in doing so, they've gone beyond reporting objective data and are effectively reporting what our emotional response should be. I don't really care how they come up with the number anyway. After all, I don't really know how a thermometer works but I still understand when they report the raw temperature without any explanation. Dumbing down the wind chill index in the 1970s should have provided a clear sign that we would never adopt the metric system in the United States.

I can figure out for myself that with a raw temperature of -17° F, a wind speed of 7 mph, a wind chill index of -33° F and all the area schools closed due to temperature, that I probably shouldn't take the dog out for a long hike today. Maybe I'll stay home and play Wii. Maybe playing Wii will actually feel like I'm doing something else. Maybe I'll make some Miis that actually look like real people. Here's one I made that looks like John Lennon.


, , Tuesday, January 13, 2009 5 comments

Last summer when I bought a new charcoal grill I imagined using it all winter long. But winter started out strong and fast, and with a new puppy I haven't gotten out a single time to grill meat. Marco used to love going in and out with me as I'd check on the progress of the dinner. Now it's Perry's turn to learn how to cook meat.

So last night I fired up the grill. The cover had frozen to the surface, and it ripped as I took it off. I also had to shovel a platform for myself in the snow. The iron grill had some surface rust; looks like it's time to re-season it.

I have a week off from work, and thought I'd spend the first part of it ice climbing. I wanted to do Homer's Odyssey in St. Paul, which was out of condition last time I checked. Then I wanted to make my way further north and hit places like Sandstone, Duluth, Cascade River, Nightfall and perhaps get as far as Orient Bay. I'm off climbing for a while though because I dislocated my shoulder a few weeks ago, tearing the labrum and rotator cuff in the process, and now I'm waiting to have it surgically repaired. My winter belay jacket does just as good a job keeping me warm while I'm grilling as it does while belaying, so I can put it on and pretend I'm doing more adventurous things.

Grilling in the winter does have its advantages. For one thing, your beer stays cold. Then again, so do your feet. The biggest advantage, of course, is the resulting food and the compliments you get from your family. In this case we enjoyed angel hair pasta with grilled chicken and sun-dried tomato pesto sauce. Mmmmmm.

Perry at 5 months

Saturday, January 10, 2009 2 comments

The little guy is growing fast and changing every day. It's still hard to get pictures of him, especially outside where his constantly-moving black body against the white snow becomes a black blur on a pocket camera. So here is my latest attempt from indoors. He cooperated by becoming progressively more relaxed.