I just added a new project page for the replacement of my back deck at our old house on Pleasant St.
This weekend we did our annual visit to the Coughlin’s cabin at Sugarloaf in Maine.
Sugarloaf is our overall favorite mountain to ski in new england. Granted there are a couple top mountains we haven’t been to yet (most notably Jay Peak and Sunday River, soon!) but so far this one is our fav.
The only problem with this mountain is the distance. It’s a good 4.5 hours (in good conditions) from our house. It’s about 30 miles from the Canadian border.
Traffic wasn’t too bad and we got there around 11pm on Friday night. Sugarloaf had been getting dumped on so conditions were set to be epic, some of the best ever!
So, Bretton Woods is now fully open for the season. As of today, they are 62/62 on trails and 28/35 on glades.
We’ve pretty much fully explored all the trails on the mountain and so now we are discovering the glades. This weekend we’ve tried our first double black diamond trails. These are the most challenging on the mountain. Not for their overall steepness, but for the combination of steep and obstructions (i.e. trees, rocks, and water).
Some of the more challenging ones we tried this weekend were:
- John Grave’s Glades – On the west mountain. A nice long glade run compared to the shorter runs on rosebrook.
- Hemlock – This thing was treacherous. Short but extremely steep with trees everywhere. I went down on my butt. Eli fell and hit his chin on his skis. Not doing this one again.
- Lazy Man – Even though this was is rated higher than hemlock, I think hemlock was actually more difficult. Both hemlock and lazy man are right next to each other.
- Roz’s – Not much of a glade, more like a chute that connects many of the rosebrook glades together. At the bottom of this run you had to navigate through pools of water on a narrow strip of a trail. One wrong move and you’d be soaked!
This past weekend I had my company (ClearMotion) work retreat in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Each year we take the whole company (and spouses) on a getaway to an exotic location. The purpose of the trip is twofold, one is as a reward/benefit to employees, and the other is team building.
Cabo is at the tip of Baja California, on the pacific coast in Mexico. See below. This was my first trip to Mexico and I was pretty excited!
My flight left @ 6am on Thursday, which meant I had to get up at 3am. The flights themselves were uneventful. I am happy to say that the Bose headphone purchase was totally worth it. These things totally cancel out the engine noise on the plane, it’s almost eerily quiet and took some getting used to. Also, the battery life is phenomenal.
Our plane landed around 1pm Cabo time (3pm EST). Entering Mexico was a snap. We got to deboard the plane via the rear, which was a first for me. I love how the warmer climate airports have you exit the plane right onto the tarmac.
This morning I woke up to the kids first snow day of the season! We didn’t have much accumulation, probably only 2-3 inches or so, but the roads were pretty icey.
Snow days are such a double edged sword. On the one hand they are a total inconvenience. Usually you don’t have the opportunity to prepare for them. We need to scramble to find child care options. That typically involves some combination of Michele and myself, since it’s a last minute decision. This creates tension at work when we both end up canceling or not attending various meetings.
On the other hand snow days are a total treasure! They are unexpected surprises of spending extra time with the kids. Most of our nights and weekends are packed solid with various planned activities. Snow days are guaranteed to leave a totally open calendar. This is a pretty rare treat these days!
So, today I took the morning shift at home and was relieved at lunch time. Much of the morning was spent with the kids binge watching TV. After that we took a trip out to Dunkin Donuts for a little treat. Then we shoveled the driveway, which usually involves me shoveling and the kids throwing snow in the areas that I’ve just cleaned off. After that we read some books, played some piano, and just farted around.
A pleasant surprise and great way to start the day!
I have a trip to Mexico planned this week for work. My current Bose headphones, QuietComfort 3, have worked well over the years but they are starting to deteriorate. Also, the more I travel the more I have been annoyed with this issue they have where there is a nasty feedback loop if I rest my head at an angle and block the microphone.
After a recommendation and demo from a coworker, I decided to purchase the Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones. These suckers are not cheap at $350, but I was so impressed by the noise canceling capabilities, wireless feature, and overall sound quality, I had to get them!
The headphones arrived from Amazon today and I was super excited to try them out. Continue reading “Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones Unboxing”
I added a couple new pages w/ lots of screenshots of ANSI graphics from my BBS sysop days!
Click the links below to check them out!
The game is set in 1848 and you are leading a covered wagon attempting to make it from Independence, Missouri to Wilamette Valley, Oregon along the Oregon trail. This game was pretty much a staple in elementary schools in the late eighties to early nineties. More info on the classic video game here.
The card game has a similar theme but is stripped down from the video game. There are ‘trail cards’, ‘supply cards’, and ‘calamity cards’. The game starts with a fixed set of supply cards, which turn out to be a scarce resource. As you play trail cards you are frequently instructed to pick up a calamity card. It always seems like something is going wrong on the trail! Usually someone is getting sick, the wagon is breaking down, people are starving, or your oxen are dying. Supply cards are used to remedy the situation.
Overall the family gives this game two thumbs up! The kids are going crazy over it. They love researching the various diseases that pop up in the game, like measles, cholera, etc. We use this as an opportune time to teach them about the benefits of vaccines. 🙂
One aspect that I really like about the game is that everyone is on the same team. You are all working together to make it to Oregon. If anyone on the team makes it there then everyone wins. The strategy is light enough that an 8 year old can play it, even though the box says 12+.
For downsides, the game could probably use a little additional strategy. There are no forks in the road. Also, it seems like forts and towns are few and far between.
If you have kids and enjoyed playing the video game as a kid then I highly recommend you pick up this card game. It’s a great way to spend an hour with them and offers plenty of opportunities to teach them about how easy we have it in the modern world.
Click below to purchase from Amazon:
I just created a couple new pages for some personal projects that I’ve worked on many years ago.
The first is the Lucid Inducer, which is a lucid dreaming induction device. I pretty much get mocked by anyone who sees this thing, but it actually works!
Also, I’ve been going through my VERY old project files, and came upon a treasure trove of personal coding projects from the 90’s. I posted one of them, Stewvoo, which is an ANSI art viewer from 1996!
You can find links to the project pages in the navigation bar at the top. I hope to fill out more projects I’ve worked on in the coming weeks.
Let me know if you find any of it interesting!
I was super fortunate to be able to attend CES 2017 in Las Vegas this last weekend! For those that have been hiding under a rock, CES (Consumer Electronics Show) is probably the largest tradeshow in the world, with close to 200,000 people gathering in Las Vegas for all things tech.
Most of my focus on the trip was around checking out the various automotive OEM’s and suppliers and meeting with various partners and vendors.
Overall the size of the automotive presence and, in particular, self driving cars and ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) technologies, was staggering. I walked around for 2 days and didn’t even get a chance to see all the vendors, never mind experience the various demos (e.g. taking a ride in various self driving cars, etc.). Overall I probably got to experience about 25% of the show.
The signs are all very clear at the convention, self driving cars are actually here, it’s not hype. Well, the tech is here, we’ll see about the regulatory and consumer acceptance side of things over the coming years. The impact to the economy will be undoubtedly huge, as massive amounts of jobs are displaced (all taxi, uber, and truck drivers gone to start). Those industries will become more efficient (24×7 trucking, no need for drivers to sleep, for example).
Consumers will shift to viewing driving as a service (already happening now with Uber in urban areas) and car ownership will become less prevalent, which will result in poorer auto sales. Our time will be freed up from driving during our commute, which will no doubt be replaced by doing more work, checking emails, etc. I’ve always found that the promise of more leisure time from increased advances in technologies never materializes, only to be quickly filled in by more work.
Regardless of what the future holds, damn the tech at CES is off the charts! I got to see the brand new EV from Faraday Future (brand new OEM in California). This vehicle is tricked out with everything including facial recognition and machine learning, full self driving tech, and a 60 degree reclining seat so you can relax while your car is driving you to your destination. Check out their website at the link above for the complete specs.
Another company that really impressed me was HERE, a mapping company that is setup to be the mapping database for self driving cars. Image processing, including object recognition, have come a long way and are now being productized by various suppliers.
Here are some pics of the show: