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Month: January 2008 Page 1 of 2

that rocky mountain high

I’ve spent the past three days skiing in Colorado, which has been a super adventure: great snow, great people, and a welcome break from DC.

I met up with friends on Friday morning at Copper Mountain. Between all of the ability levels, we had 22 people on hand to take on the various bowls and chutes at this gigantic expanse of mountain. This highlights of the day: jumping the cornice into Spaulding Bowl, finding some unique lines off of rock ledges under S lift, and some insane hike-to lines off of Union Peak.

Day two was bluebird weather, but the forecast was for high winds above timberline. So we decided to nix a trip to Arapaho Basin and ski at Keystone. I managed to get in five incredible cruising runs on North Peak and The Outback before meeting up with a smaller sub-group of “the gang.” By that point, the crowds had arrived, thick as can be, and we coped with longer lift lines. Still, we found some incredible trees off the Outback and North Peak chairs. We also skied a lot of moguls, and I found that I actually liked skiing in the bumps – the first time I’ve really liked them, ever. I also swapped skis with my friend, Bud, for a run. He was running some full race stock Elan slalom skis, and they had some incredible turning power: it was like they were on auto-pilot, and every turn had incredible arcs.

Today, I met up with my new friend, Paul, at Beaver Creek. He offered to give me a “local’s guided tour” of the mountain, and it was really an epic day of skiing. Before he arrived, I decided that I had to ski the “Birds of Prey” downhill race run, which is raced by the male World Cup racers each December. The run isn’t smooth right now, as after the races are over the mountain management allows moguls to form. But the underlying snow is injected ice: hard, slick, and fast. I was exhausted at the end of the run, but it was so worth the effort.

Once I met up with Paul and his friend, Greg, he showed me some of the wild side of Beaver Creek: 60-degree chutes with rock drop-offs and tight trees (as well as knee-deep powder); mogul runs with double fall-lines and bumps the size of a VW Microbus; and top-notch cruising runs. It was a great day, even if the light wasn’t always in our favor.

All-in-all, this trip has been a remarkable success. I skied with a great group of people, and enjoyed ski areas that I’d only previously known from racing (Copper and Keystone), so I finally got to really experience the entirety of each mountain. And the Rockies are extremely scenic – though the lodgepole pines are being decimated by the pine bark beetle.

I’ll post pictures over at Flickr once I return. I may squeeze in a morning of skiing at Loveland before I catch my mid-afternoon flight back to DC.

go west, young man

My bags are packed, and I’m heading to Colorado for a little bit of skiing.

Should be a good time, and a welcome respite from the lack of winter (or at least the lack of snow) here in DC.

Besides, it’ll be a good place to drown my sorrows after not getting selected for DCist Exposed for the second year in a row. Sniff.

(Just kidding: congrats to all the winners!)

zip it

A quick note to the campaigns of Senators Clinton and Obama:

Shut the fuck up already!

Seriously, this mud slinging has got to stop now.

Where’s the talk about actual issues? About what your plans are for the things that are legitimately troubling the people and security of the United States?

All of this petty bickering, the “he said/she said,” and the lies, obfuscations, and exaggerations needs to stop if either candidate wants to have a chance of winning not only their party’s nomination for the office of President, but the actual general election.

And a special word to President Clinton: you should be ashamed of yourself. It is not your race for president, no matter what your ego thinks. Let Hillary fight her own battles, sir.

Senator Edwards is trying to keep above the fray, and I salute him. And I hope that the media finally digs their heads out of their collective arses and starts covering his campaign and his speeches. I know that the media fancies itself as a kingmaker, but by-and-large they are blowhards who can’t put together a truly coherent thought if they try.

Russert, Matthews, Couric, Hume, and company: please start covering the basic issues and the candidates’ stand on these issues without editorial comment or leading intent and do your damn job.

Report the damn news.

Do not reward the petulance of Sens. Clinton and Obama by giving them not only more airtime, but by asking questions that don’t have anything substantial to do with the candidates’ abilities and vision.

And to the liberal blogosphere: you are just as much to blame for fanning the flames of these campaigns. Hiding behind noms du plume and spouting out rehashed news reporting (some of which can’t be independently verified) is not educated commentary. Nor is name calling, or push-and-shove comment threads that serve no purpose than to feed one’s ego.

Be what you want the media to be: report only facts, distort nothing, leave the cards on the table for your readers to interpret. If you express an opinion, be clear that it is just an opinion. And keep the dialog above the fray. If you claim to be better, then prove it.

My name is Rudi Riet, and you’re damn right I approve this editorial message.

friday my:dc : signs

Need a sign?More my:dc photo blogging madness for the third week of January, 2008.

This week, the topic is signs. They are everywhere around the District: parking signs, directional signs, advisory signs, commercial signs, government signs. And this signpost along the U Street corridor is one that’s indicative of the number of signs you might see in DC at any given time. This happens to be in an area that is a “signage test area” for the city, but still – this isn’t a unique concentration of signs.

take five…. randomly

A meme tagged to me by Jeff, delayed because…. well, just because.

The rules:

  • link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
  • share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
  • tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
  • let them know they are TAGGED by leaving a comment on their blog.

The five bits of randomness:

  1. I stick my tongue out when I’m concentrating on things. Many people do. But my weird quirk with that it that I stick my tongue out in the direction I’m going to turn when I ski. It’s as if my tongue is steering.
  2. Although I was a high-level ski racer for years, my worst knee and joint injuries have been from cycling.
  3. I once played in the “Scab Utah Symphony.”
  4. I have mild synesthesia.
  5. I used to know the elevations of all the highest points in the U.S., Canada and Europe (and would bore the living hell out of my ski teammates with said knowledge).

The tagged:
sprite, Sweetpea, Jenn, Sam, Adam.

luck at heathrow

Heathrow approach
I usually don’t write about flight news, but I have to hand it to the pilots of British Airways flight 38, which crash landed short of the runway at Heathrow today. Nobody died, no serious injuries were incurred, and crews both on the aircraft and on the ground did a superb job in getting people to safety.

From what I’ve heard, the aircraft – a Boeing 777-200ER – lost all power shortly before landing, during final approach from the west. The graphic above shows the landing point and the plane’s final resting place. The approach path into Heathrow’s south runway from the west crosses residential and business districts, as well as a major roadway intersection (Hatton Cross). The aircraft barely cleared the roadway and the perimeter fence before it made ground contact in the grassy area leading into the runway. The impact sheared off the rear landing gear, and the plane came to rest on the runway tarmac, next to the hash marks that indicate the end of the useful tarmac.

The amazing thing? Many passengers described the landing as “really rough,” but not a crash, per se. Simply amazing.

Of course, operations at Heathrow – the world’s busiest airport – are crippled with one of the runways taken offline. But nobody died, and that’s the incredible story: that the pilots guided this 200+ ton metal bird to a safe landing. As the old aviation axiom goes: any landing from which you can walk away is a good landing.

The reason I feel compelled to write about this is that many airports I use have similarly populous approach paths, with similar lack of room for error. Washington National Airport (DCA) has a convoluted approach path that requires precision piloting skills (virtually all pilots who fly airliners into DCA are ex-Navy and are carrier trained). Salt Lake City International Airport’s south approach passes over subdivision after subdivision, and is prone to wind shear. Bradley International Airport in Connecticut also passes over densely populated areas and has very short buffer zones before the runways.

And I hope that all the pilots who fly into these airports never have to do what the British Airways pilots had to do today.

workout log: catching up

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted a workout log.

Yet I’ve been riding and working out – just not in the same intensity as during the normal riding season.

Let’s recap the stuff I’ve done:

Read More

friday my:dc : snowy walks

Snowy pathAnother week of my:dc photo blogging features this shot, taken walking across the Francis Scott Key Bridge from Rosslyn to Georgetown.

The things I love about this shot are many. I love the serenity of it all, which belies the abject panic that tends to settle upon all greater DC citizens at the sight of snow. The snow-covered sidewalk also reminds me of DC, and how residents tend to forgo shoveling their sidewalks, instead hoping that the warm weather (which is always “just around the corner”) will melt the ice. And I love the colors: aged, weathered, like many structures in the nation’s capitol.

a few random reflections

On recent political developments:

  • Much as I’m not a supporter of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, I’m pleased that the 2008 Democratic nomination is still a wide-open affair after the initial salvos in Iowa and New Hampshire. Seriously: two lily-white states with mostly rural populations should not be the primary vetting groups for a candidate who is supposed to lead all citizens of the United States. So here’s to the varied views of the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, who spread the delegate wealth around enough that the “Super-Mega-Extreme-Duper Tuesday” primaries will still have a lot of say (I harbor no fantasies that our DC primary will make any difference when it’s held on February 12, but who knows).
  • My primary beef with Hillary? As Markos Moulitsas says at his Daily Kos blog, it’s not her – it’s the people she chooses to surround her. And I shudder at the thought of Terry McAuliffe, James Carville, Donna Brazille, and Mark Penn having influence over the White House and the DNC once more. If there’s one really positive thing to come out of Howard Dean’s chairmanship of the DNC, it’s the “50 State Strategy,” which is building a true Democratic “farm team” and raising far more money than McAuliffe ever did with his “13 Key State Strategy.”
  • I went with a fellow DC for Dean alumnus to tonight’s DC for Obama meetup, just to get a feel for how their organization is run. Let’s just say that I now identify with the folks who showed up to our Dean meetups back in 2003 and 2004, who looked like they didn’t quite get what was going on with all of the unbridled energy and passion for the candidate surrounding (but not permeating) them. I’m still a bit wary of Obama, but it’s looking like he’s the most viable “non-Hillary” candidate in this race. And he’s got a better chance for a coattail effect than Clinton or Edwards, frankly speaking. (And yes, I’m going to try my hand at an Edwards meetup event, too – he’s still my first choice, even if he’s not really doing as well as hoped right now.)
  • I’m really pleased that the media pundits got a lot of egg in their faces with all of their pointless and off-the-mark bloviation last night. They totally jumped to conclusions, and were dumbfounded when Clinton held on to her lead throughout the night. One of the best moments? When Tom Brokaw smacked some sense into Chris “Tweety” Matthews, who kept trying to invent scenario after scenario that just wouldn’t come to fruition. Articles by Howard Kurtz (not just once, but twice), Lou Dobbs and Glenn Greenwald sum it up well, as did an analysis tonight by Keith Olbermann. The people – the voters – still have the power in this election, much as the “Fourth Estate” would like to say otherwise.

slow dancing

(It’s a meme, don’cha know! Hat tip to Jenn.)

1. Put iTunes/Windows Media Player/whatever on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the “next” button to get your answer.
3. Write that song title down no matter how silly it sounds.

1. If someone says, “Is this okay?” what do you say?
“Our Prayer” – The Beach Boys

2. How would you describe yourself?
“The Motorcycle Song” – Arlo Guthrie

3. What do you like in a guy/girl?
“The Restless Consumer” – Neil Young

4. How do you feel today?
“Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” – Led Zeppelin

5. What is your life’s purpose?
“The Majesty Of Rock” – Spinal Tap

6. What is your motto?
“El Condor Pasa (If I Could)” – Simon & Garfunkel

7. What do your friends think of you?
“Wish You Were Here” – Pink Floyd

8. What do your parents think of you?
“Right As Rain” – The Kennedys

9. What do you think about very often?
“Atlantic Ocean” – Paul McCartney

10. What is 2 + 2?
“They Got Lost” – They Might Be Giants

11. What do you think of your ex?
“Rappahannock” – The Kennedys

12. What do you think of the person you like?
“Somewhere They Can’t Find Me” – Simon & Garfunkel

13. What is your life story?
“Street Sweepers” – North Atlantic

14. What do you want to be when you grow up?
“King Creole” – Elvis Presley

15. What do you think when you see the person you like?
“I Just Called” – Stevie Wonder

16. What will they play at your funeral?
“All You Need Is Love” – The Beatles

17. What is your hobby/interest?
“Crazy Faith” – Alison Krauss + Union Station

18. What is your biggest fear?
“Kashmir” – Led Zeppelin

19. What is your biggest secret?
“World Leader Pretend” – REM

20. What do you think of your friends?
“Breathe In Breathe Out” – Kanye West feat. Ludacris

Now press the “next” button one more time and use that song title as the title to your post.

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