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.