Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Linus and Liona

Linus and Liona come to Mine Hill!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Duck Boats in Boston

The technical directors got together in Boston this week. We took a break from all the rest and relaxaton to study duck behavior.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The End of the 2005 Waterski Season

We managed 41 days on the water this year, by the time it was all over. The great news is that the season didn't end a month ago in injury, even if I did spend more time driving Dave than skiing myself towards the end.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

NE Slalom Champs 2005

Last Saturday I went up to Wolfeboro to photograph the New England Slalom Championships. I was hoping for the same kind of photo-op I've had at Dube's, but was dealt the harsh reality of being in a tower boat much farther back than I expected. Ya know, rule 10.16 makes reccomendations on where the tower boat should be, and I kinda think tower-one was a little bit farther back than that. Oh well. I'm just upset becuase my slow tele lens couldn't really work well from that distance.

Regardless, I shot about 500 snaps of the first round. Click though to them HERE, then click on the image on the right side of the smugmug gallery, and the use "Image Size->Original" to try to see whatever detail is there. They aren't that bad, just a little soft.

Paul rounding 4-ball at -35...

`Than hooking up...

Jan looking seriously wide of 4...

Lt. Dan hooking up 2-3 at -32...

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Dube's Pond Classic 2005

Well I couldn't ski, but others did, and did quite well. Click through to the smugmug gallery with hundreds of photos...







Many others at the link HERE!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Ski versus forearm: Forearm wins, sort of

Here is the tip of my Connelly F1 after impact with my right forearm. Yes, those are bits of my flesh in with the Fiberglass...

And here we have the brilliantly buttoned-up result looking good to go and get back on the water...

Ouch, Shep Hurts Himself

I had been skiing very well this season. Not since 1999 had I been consistently getting through -22 and into -28 off. My personal best in a class-C tournament remains 5 at -28 at the Reservoir Dogs classic. My recent strength and consistency was in part due to being in decent shape, meaning not-hurt. But I feel a bigger part is that, over the past two years in specific, I’ve developed a better mental picture of the body dynamics needed to swing yourself through the course at short line. Dave has coached us relentlessly on this and I know it has really changed my appreciation for the sport. Not just knowing, but feeling how to
  • “Ski `da gate”
  • “Ski out to the end of the rope”
  • “Handle-In through the pre-turn”

Are all just mnemonics to help you mimic a pendulum’s motion in its arc from bottom (behind the boat) to the top of its arc (out around the buoy). What an awesome rush when your ski finishes the turn, your body is in good alignment, you are well up on the boat down course, and you are ready to lean against the line to progressively accelerate yourself (like a pendulum’s downward arc) and do it again for the next ball.

So after a 9-day hiatus I was perhaps over-rested and over-eager to run all over my starting 34 -15 passes, run -22 and poke into -28. Five passes into my first set I had run a few -15’s and stupidly blew great gate/1- and 3- balls at -22 by being too aggressive. I knew I was muscle-ing through with my biceps to go hard off the ball, but it didn’t register. Paradoxically, I knew the fix to this was just to be a little more patient and get the progressive lean off the ball that peaks behind the boat. Like so many things in this sport, going harder earlier is not always the good thing that it seems. The other danger clue I missed was that throughout the set, particularly at -22, I was wide, early and so far up-course that I was running over buoys on the back side. This was the clue that should have been saying “you are fine, don’t panic, no need to try to be superman off the ball".

On my sixth pass I had everything I wanted, maybe except for the confidence of running another -22 earlier in the set. A +5 RPM adjust headwind was right out of the south and I felt that with a good gate/1, this would be 6 in the bank. I was already thinking about translating -22-ness to -28-ness. Anyhow, had a fine gate and turned well on the backside of one. Did it correctly 1-2 as I leaned, then progressively edge-changed at the second wake and had one of my most patient 2-balls. I may have been a little lame at building angle out of two. I probably released the handle a little early into 2 and that widens the arc of the ski. 2-3 is my strong-side lean, so I stayed on edge a little too long and tore into 3, probably with crap for angle and heading just up course of 3-ball. There is no question, sensing the boat a bit down course, feeling a little late, that I wanted to make something up coming off of 3. Bad idea, and we all know it! I was patient enough in letting the ski come around three, but as soon as it was remotely pointing in the direction of four, I wanted to lock and go. Again, paradoxically, a few hundred more milliseconds of rotation around 3, and a progressive, instead of impulsive, lean and I would have made it up behind the boat.

Instead I went hard off 3-ball too soon. Real hard, and I stupidly used my biceps for help. I quickly felt this was more than enough to shoot me out to four, but there is a problem: First, I peaked well before the first wake using my biceps (not my hips) for the lean. This created a front-rolling moment on my ski-body system. Not only did this contribute to launching me into the air nicely over the first wake; but I was now prematurely rolling my ski from accelerate-lean edge to decelerate-turn edge IN THE AIR, BEHIND THE BOAT. Another few hundred milliseconds later we find the front-right edge of the very responsive Connelly F1 landing around the second wake. Many of you know how progressively that ski decelerates with subtle tip pressure: Thus my mid-air edge change, in conjunction with the forward roll moment, meant that I would be slowing down really quickly at the second wake.

Of course the ski stalled instantly and abruptly, as you would expect. My cross-course velocity translated into collapsing forward on the ski. As I came out of both high-wraps, the tip of the ski first took a glancing blow at my right shin puncturing it slightly, hit my right knee very hard, and then as my upper body was driven downward and the ski driven upward, the tip of the F1 was driven into my right forearm and elbow, ripping the skin to the bone peripherally for about 5 cm, and leaving a substantial part of the ski tip in my arm and tattooing my ulna in Connelly purple and blue.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Brooke Takes a Fall

Brooke took quite a header today. Big time crash at three ball: Blood everywhere, quite the mess. This photo taken a few minutes before she ran her 32 MPH pass; something she's been working on all summer. Hope she is back on the water soon.

Scott was in the boat to pluck her from the water...

While Dave and Tony attended to first aid...

Saturday, July 09, 2005

It's not fall yet!

A stupid LL Bean catalog came in the mail the other day with Rangeley fall image prononcing "Fall 2005". Fuck you! It's barely July. I'm just poking my way through twenty-two off. Now is not the time to announce fall ANYTHING!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Summertime, Finally

The rain retreats and we have a fabulous (long) fourth of July weekend in store.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Thinking about Graph-Machines

I was given the opportunity to think about graph-machines at the El Capitan Canyon resort near Santa Barbara.

Capped off the trip seeing Stu and having dinner on the town at local legend "The Palace"...

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Dube's Pond Slalom Festival 2005

Yesterday we held the first slalom tournament of the season at Dube's Pond. It wasn't the coldest of them all; but it sure wasn't too hot either. A misty cloudy thing was going on for most of the morning. I did surprisingly well my first round, but then I usually choke in tournaments, and stayed true to that in rounds two and three. The sun came out around 3 PM as we were packing up to go home. Lot's of pictures after the jump...

Dube's Pond Slalom Festival 2005
Dube's Pond Classic 13 2004
Dube's Pond Snake Pit Open 2004

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Bonnaroo Return

Saturday was great, even the rain couldn't dampen our spirits. Some could even nap...

Saw and heard..


On the road back...

This truck was blown off the road near Chattanooga by the wind and rain...

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Bonnaroo Saturday Morning

Jeff makes camp and so now there are three. It starts to rain just a little, which is fine, but more significant rain is in the forecast. We see Alison Krauss & Union Station for starters. Then Jurassic 5. Then the Allman Brothers. I mention to Jeff that my teen-age rock band, The Golden Mushroom, was covering songs like “why does love got to be so sad” and “in memory of Elisabeth reed” over thirty years ago! Covering these songs. Thirty years ago. Yikes.

After the Allmans, onto a bit of Herbie Hancock with the funky compressed bass, then over to see Mike Gordon with the Benevento / Russo Duo (really a trio). In what was a Bonnaroo moment, they covered “Foam” and the audience totally got into it. The crowd sang along…

But the foam keeps getting thicker
And it just keeps getting harder if some of them had heard it before. Then Dave Matthews Band on the main stage. I was really impressed with his performance (with Trey sitting in) last year; this year was kind of ho-hum. Good lights, however. And to cap off the day, The Mars Volta. Seriously twisted stuff, but in a good way.

So here it is Saturday morning, spitting rain, gray skies, and two more days of music ahead!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Bonnaroo Friday Morning

The importance of pacing one’s self at Bonnaroo can not be over emphasized. The kind scene and sweltering heat is a catalyst for, well just about for anything. Thursday night we saw the end of Signal Path’s set. Then waited for what seemed an interminable duration for the not-so Perpetual Groove to do their thing. Headed back to camp before Les Claypool came on. Actually was in bed, sort-of-asleep, before 2 AM.

Nice breezy morning so far; anxious for the real tunes to start. I’m either going to see Alison Krauss or Joanna Newsom to kick the day off.

An oh yeah, Jeff should be here soon!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

View from Camp Airstream

Arrived and made camp at area VIP-E, check it out!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Bonnaroo Short Final

At the KOA campground a stone’s throw from Bonnaroo. Bibiana is asleep, probably tired of hearing me stress-out all day on the ride down from Martinsville. But now the stress is almost gone. There are all sorts of strange goings-on outside. And this is Wednesday evening at 9 PM!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

A busy pre-Bonnaroo Week

First a moose comes up the hill...

Then Heidi stops by...

Then there is frantic waterskiing at the pond...

Saturday, May 28, 2005

The rain subsides

Finally it feels like May, well at least May 1st. I love being out on the pond.

Friday, May 27, 2005


Nikka Costa, Fuck Yeah! In the 90's I was so totally into Wendy and Lisa. They knocked it out of the park with the Tchad Blake produced "Girl Bros." Awesome twisted funky shit. Really hard to top that. So I'm smiling now listening to Nikka Costa's latest - played very loud.

Meanwhile, the week of rain came to an end. Brooke and I got out on the water for a short set this afternoon. Only our third of the season. The water temp had fallen to 55 with all the rain. Brrr. But sweet none the less.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Dube's Pond 2005: Day Two

I think Tony's expert driver-coaching will pay off!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Dube's Pond 2005 Season Opener

Give or take, this is like my tenth season at Dube's. Perhaps a week or two later than the average annual opener, today was my first day on the water. After Dave tore his other Achilles last year, Brooke (left below with Margaret in a photo from 2004) has been my lets-go-ski-now! shining influence. Kind of like Chris, but without the schedule-I narcotics. So of we went this afternoon for a sublime set in the not-so-chilly 61 degree water. Just getting 6 at 30 MPH felt great!

Friday, May 06, 2005

Cinco de Mayo

It was five years ago, on our annual pilgrimage to some local Mexican-motif chain lounge, that Nancy introduced us to Melanie. So last night we went out to a slightly more-authentic venue and bathed our clothes in the thick smell of cigarette smoke.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Eats, Shoots, and Leaves

"Eats, Shoots, & Leaves" is the Lynne Truss tome that Lesley suggested I read. Yesterday seemed a fine day to give it a go, and it was OK. I was a little crispy from the night before with Susan, Mike and Diane. But how bumpy a ride should a book about punctuation really be? Plus, all the brit humor made it worthwhile.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The E90s arrive

Well, the local BMW dealer is calling to say they want to sell us a car. Great. I really miss our 1982 Saabs. They were so "Saab"! Too bad GM actually wants to make money. Hey, hold on! They aren't! So why not some quirkly-cool niche AWD hybrid turbo funk thing?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Cool Eatz in Menlo Park

Here in Menlo Park at Chez Cyndi before flying back to Boston in the morning. Someone told me that my flight is exactly three seats overbooked; I should be OK. Had dinner at Flea St Cafe with Cyndi, Phil, Brian, and Becky. Good stuff. Jesse and Francisco rock!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Post-NAB Post-FCCM Post-Tahoe

After two solid days of the ski, drink, eat, and sleep ritual, the weather is has finally given out. Phil left yesterday afternoon when he heard the magic word "icing". Not sure about Becky and Brian's departure, but we had dinner with them at Mamasake last night. I suspect that they want to avoid the rain and scattered t-storms in the area. Thinking that we will have a nice morning here at Plumpjack with Cyndi and Steve, then off to Palo Alto ville.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Here at Squaw and Alpine

Skied Squaw yesterday. Dinner last night in Tahoe City at Wolfedale with Cyndi, Steve, Phil, Brian and Becky. Off to Alpine this morning.

Alpine today was awesome. All the ususal spring greatness! Corn heaven.

Somehow I have to memorialize the collision bettween Rylan and Phil just downhill from "Expert Shortcut". I didn't see it, so I won't speculate on the situation.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

FCCM 2005

So here we are again at FCCM in Napa. The brain-trust of the reconfigurable computing universe is here to show me the way. Awesome.

We finished out FCCM05 at Taylor's Refresher in St. Helena.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Panic in Boston

Widespread Panic last night was great. Drove down with Melanie. Met up with Ryan, Kaitlyn, Caroline and and all. Drinks before at the loud bar on the outbound side of the Paradise. While I was yacking away, M+K's sketchy-radar (sketch-dar?) went "oooh-oooh!" and there we were. The Agganis Arena is a nice venue. Decent acoustics. Nice seats. But no beer! What's up with that? What part about kids dancing doesn't go better with beer? My dancing anyhow.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Jesse and Barbara

What a pleasant April day for a wedding in San Jose. Everything from the ceremony to the reception to dinner with family was great!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Michi Mania

About thirty out-of-towners gathered at Michi last night for an orgy of sushi, beer, and sake. Jesse and Barbara seemed pretty cool for the evening before the "big day". I arrived early and that allowed me to have a long view of the tatami room.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Helping United Help Itself

So I have this fantastic idea that should really help save the airlines some money: I suggest that well above 18,000 feet they retract the little landing lights from the wings. This 737's tired flap track cowling was just shaking like the dickens! I feel "See and be Seen" is one thing, but really, at what price?

Then Phil turned me onto this little nugget for those with more dollars than sense!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Ice Out on Lake Massabessic

Well not really, but it is imminent. And with ice out comes the thoughts of spring: Water skiing in stupidly cold water in a dry suit that makes you feel almost as much the dork you really are. Or something. Alexei was asking me today, "So how's the water skiing?" I would have had a witty answer except I was a little crispy from last night's OAR show at UNH. I met "Luke and Laura" which is right up there with "Shawn and Dawn" for couples I know that are convieniently forward error corrected for my lazy memory. The whole Bonnaroo thing will require Hunter Thompson / Chris Lawson like precision and planning. I'll have to find a way to be up for it. Susan painted the powerplant on the Merrimack at the Amoskeg bridge today. I dig the industrial vibe. Like art and technology man, cool!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Telluride to Boston

Well the trip home may prove interesting. Telluride is socked in with light snow this morning. My plane is at 1 PM, so hopefully things will clear by then. This at least gives me a chance to hang out here at Cyndi's instead of the airport. I sure feel sore (the good kind) from six days of skiing 20K ~ 24K feet per day on this mountain!

An excellent breakfast at Sofio's with Cyndi. I guess I need to start packing soon.

Leaving Telluride:

Friday, March 25, 2005

Telluride Hospitality Retrospective

Aside from the skiing, the hospitality was generally great. Blurry memories include:

At Chair 8 we had Jenn, Melanie, and Risa putting up with our antics and never even implying that they might ask us to leave.

Honga's bartender Sarah is superwoman. So is Joni, who's newspaper blew off the bar at Chair 8.

Then there was "Linear Algebra Dude" up at Allreds who, presumably overhearing some talk at our table offered in passing, "yeah, I dig Null Spaces..."! We also liked Allred's queit blonde bartender.

Nothing exceptional about the 221 south oak waitstaff. The food was good, however.

Excelsior was a mess, but I'm told that it's hit or miss. Kristen made an excelllent martini, which can help forgive a lot.

Eagle's bar was entirely unremarkable. No olives for a martini: tragic!

La Marmotte was good.

Then there was the arrogant and ignorant Telluride ski instructor woman at "Skiers Union" that epitomized uber-bitch. Oh well, there is one in every crowd!

Telemark Gear Musings

For the past few years I've been skiing on Tua M3's (178 cm), with HammerHead Binders, and my trusty old pair of Scarpa T2's. The T2's are the original 2-buckle design, and the Hammerheads were from the original batch that Russel Rainey built. I've found this combination to really work well all around.
  • Maybe on New England boilerplate and groomers I'd like some added support from my boots. Not to mention my original-model T2's may be getting a little tired after countless seasons. I've been wearing the size-8 liners in the size-8/9 shells.
  • And maybe on powder days I'd like a ski with a little more float and a little more mass than the M3's. For their dimuntive size, the M3's do motor through crud like teeny-tiny Volkl P10's if you stay right on them. Like the P10's, if you are off-center, you're dead meat. The M3's 178cm length and very modest sidecut feels like a nice compromise.
  • And I just love the HammerHead's. No changes here.

Telluride05 Day6

Dinner last night at 221 with Steve, Cyndi, Dave and Caroline. Steve and I rocked out on guitar and piano a twisted version of Zappa's "Magic Fingers". For about thirty seconds, then we fell into jam-till-it-hurts mode. Fun stuff.

Last Day

Although the ski area is open for another week, this is my last day here. That's kind of a bummer as the conditions have been so exceptionally great. "I don't want to be done yet!" I've surely gotten better; but I guess this is it. Oh well, better go out there and ski it well. Looks like two more snowy days are on tap.

So day 6 was powder heaven. Went up 8 to 9 and did bushwack - plunge -bushwack -plunge -bushwack - hermit before lunch. This was the first day that bushwack was rolled ballroom flat. An inch or two had fallen on the corduroy by morning, making it an exceptionally easy decent. The smallish bumps on plunge were definately more fun.

Lunch was in some hellhole called "Skiers Union" in the mountain village. Stubborn and rude are understatements to describe the tallish ski instructor who went out of her way to be a jerk. Allreds at least filters out some of the rifraf.

Pumped up becuase it was the last afternoon, we skied under 9 until we could ski no more. I did five runs on Plunge where I hugged skiers right hard and then jumped into the bottom of "Powerline" that runs down from spiral stairs. Fun stuff in the steep and deep.

Steve in the good stuff:

Dinner at the bar at Honga's. Sarah made sure that not one, but two bamboo-cylinders of cold white sake keep us happy and warm.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Telluride05 Day5

Had dinner at Eagle's Bar last night. Disappointed that they had "run out olives". What kind of martini is that? Oh well. Well it continued to snow all night and has cleared somewhat this morning. The forecast calls for only a 50% chance of snow today, but they put up an avalanche watch.

Just back from the mountain. Another Awesome Day! The morning was straight up 8 to 9. Then Plunge - Bushwack - Bushwack - Plunge - Bushwack. Five spectacular runs in 8 inches of fresh powder before lunch. Ran into a tranplanted `loafer "Heinz" who knows Talbot, Skip, Kayot, and the gang. Cool.

Lunch at Allreds with the usual suspects. After lunch, we all did a Lookout cruiser then everyone (except me) jumped into Kant-Mak-Em.

My afternoon was Lookout - Bushwacker - Bushwacker - Bushwacker. Lots of skiing! Nine runs off of chair nine for the day. Powder that forgives almost everything. I think of the six runs I took down the powder-coated Bushwacker, I had three of them entirely to myself. The "crowded ones" looked like this:

"Health Drinks" again (T&T/tall) at chair 8. Melanie, who served us, now knows us and what we drink.

Out for a hot tub and some apres ski soon.