Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Dreamblade Tournament

Looking back over Monday's entry I realize that I had ended my weekend report before coving the Dreamblade Tournament I went to on Saturday. The tournament was up in Ogden, so it was a little bit of a drive, but unfortunately they weren't holding a tournament in Salt Lake. The occasion of the tournament was the release of the new set, and the price was the most valuable mini from the base set with a new paint job. Four would be given out at each event, two to the top finishers and two to random attendees.

Besides supporting the local Dreamblade community, my only reason for going was to get one of these "alt-paint" minis, and I had several plans of which coming in 1st or second was around plan E. As a result I wasn't too concerned with how well I was playing, I just wanted to have fun. I did have fun and I did play kind of poorly. In four matchs I went 1-3. I even lost to a 12 year old girl. As it turns out losing to a 12 year old was not quite a shameful as it might otherwise have been. That same day there was a 10k tournament in Orlando, and a 12 year old managed to come in 2nd place losing to the #1 player in the world in the final match, and pulling in a cool $1000 for his performance.

In the end I had so many plans for getting the alt-paint that I ended up with two of them. I traded a normal version of the mini plus another rare for the alternate version and a rare I was missing, plus I was one of the people randomly selected to win one as well. It wasn't until much later that I realized that out of the 12 people who had shown up hoping to get on of those minis that I had taken half of them. It made me feel bad, but only for a few seconds...

Largely devoid of conscience

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The surprise

So every Monday we have Family Home Evening, and every member of the family takes turns picking what to do. It was my turn last night and I told the kids we were going to go get the car washed (the kids have more fun with this than you might initially suspect) and then come home and set up the Wii we acquired on Friday. So we drove to the car wash and then we turned around and headed home, but when we got to our turn-off I just kept driving. The kids immediately noticed and started asking me about it, but I just kept talking about something else. Pretending not to hear them. Eventually when I could tell they were getting frustrated, I addressed their questions but pretended to have not realized we missed the turn.

At that point the started trying to direct me back home, but none of them could agree on exactly what to do, and I told them I couldn't take a left turn because I was scared. After driving west for quite a while I finally made a right turn and started heading north, getting farther and farther away from the house. The street we were on was in the industrial section of town and it was pretty much dark by that time a night, a fact I played up with the kids, attempting to make the whole thing seem scary. Around this time my oldest son had had enough and he said, "This joke has gone to far! Do you know how I can tell? Because it's not funny anymore!"

Eventually we came to the brightly lit furniture store, that was our surprise destination. My wife and I had already picked out a 42" plasma TV and we wanted to surprise the kids with it. Perhaps we should have billed it as such, because, although they're hyperkinetically over-joyed about it now. Last night it took awhile for the lingering resentment to dissipate. I ended up having to drop the family off and go to their warehouse to get everything (we also got a stand for it). So by the time I got it home and we got it set up and connected to the cable it was an hour past their bedtime, but we let them stay up so they could see it in all it's glory.

No, a 42" plasma TV is nothing like a "wall" in Farhenheit 451

Monday, January 29, 2007

Finally sleeping

Well I'm coming down with something. That, in combination with a fairly hectic schedule, forced me into bed by 10 pm every night this weekend, so I think my sleep schedule has finally settled back to something resembling normalacy. As amazing as the difference is between being well-rested and not, I think the tempatation to extract just a few more minutes, an hour at most, from the day, is almost impossible to resist. I guess in a sense I should be grateful for the sickness that made it possible to resist that temptation.

Speaking of sickness, we finally found out what was wrong with our son. After two pediatricians and a library of medical literature couldn't diagnose it, the dematologist resident mis-identified it. It wasn't until the main pediatric dematologist for Primary Children's Hospital came in that they finally put a name to it (she knew what it was right off the bat). I can't remember the name (perhaps my wife can post it in the comments) but essentially the three word description breaks down into a condition where a certain kind of sweat gland gets attacked by a certain kind of white blood cell and subsequently becomes inflamed. Apparently you see it all the time in chemotherapy patients, and very rarely in kids who's feet got too cold. Though apparently no one knows what the relationship is between the cold and the condition. In any event, to put your minds at ease, it's entirely benign.

In other weekend activities we went to an indoctrination camp Saturday morning. Actually it was a debate conference. The topic was renewable energy, and after a keynote polemic and a mock debate by a group who had named thereself after their commitment to all things green. We we sent off to "Breakout Sessions" there were about 20, about 5 were concerned with the actual mechanics of debate. One, possibly Two gave the case for the status quo, and the rest were sessions that could have been given by the Sierra Club (and several actually were). With enormous care I picked out one titled "So you want to stop the Greenhouse Effect?" (or something along those lines) I figured at a minimum I could lay into the instructor (a professor) after it was over if he didn't mention nuclear power. After one of the most pessimistic presentations on the Greenhouse Effect I had every witnessed he did in fact mention that renewables could, at most, reduce about 1/5 of the CO2 emissions and that only nuclear could handle the rest. That's when the fun started.

It was obvious that many of, if not most of the students, had been raised on a steady diet of "Nuclear Power = Satan" since they could talk. And of course there was the predictable comments about waste, but then one little budding green party voter raised his hand and said, "Well isn't the problem with nuclear power that every nuclear plant every built has blown up?" The professor was quite taken aback and obviously struggled with how to rebute such an obvious falsehood without being mean. He ended up talking at some length about Three Mile Island, but the kid was not satisfied, for the rest of the question and answer period he was asking as many questions as the rest of the room put together.

Public schools... *sigh*

Friday, January 26, 2007

Worst case scenerio

Around a week ago my youngest son complained about a sore spot on one of his toes. The toe second from the end was red and inflamed. Our initial diagnosis was that it was caused by his hiking boots which were to tight in the toes. But then the spots started spreading across his foot, and appearing on his other foot. So at that point we decided to take him in to the pediatrician. The appointment was this morning at 10:30. When my wife called me I was out to lunch for a co-worker's birthday.

She said that the doctor was quite concerned about the spots. This was the first surprise, and the start of the downhill slope. I mean if we had had any idea that it was a potentially serious condition we certainly would have gotten him in sooner. But that wasn't the real punch in the gut, that came when my wife told me that the doctor had said that the spots looked just like the spots people with leukemia get. She hastened to add that he had also said those sorts of spots would appear all over his body, not just on his feet, but once you toss a word like that out there, there's not much you can add as a caveat that's going to make you feel any better. So the doctor ordered a bunch of blood tests, he called in other pediatricians for second opinions, but no one had any idea what it was.

The blood tests came back with surprising alacrity and were happily negative on all counts. As one who works in a lab and nows how long these tests can take I hesitate to call these results anything but preliminary, however I am going to allow my mind, for the moment, to be put at ease that it is not leukemia. But that illustrates the problem, thus far the pediatrician has ruled out everything he can think of, so at the moment it's a great big mystery. Obviously in this sorts of situations the next step is to call in a specialist. That's where my wife and son are right now, with a pediatric dermatologist. Obviously I hope that the dermatologist will know immediately what it is and that it will end up being entirely benign.

So in any case that's what's happening today. I did get one piece of good news, potato wedge brother-in-law found a Wii and bought it for me. I guess now I definitely have to get the big flatscreen now.

A vivid imagination

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Wall-to-Wall Meetings

I've been in meetings since almost the moment I walked in. So I really never got time to blog. In fact I had a meeting during lunch, so I didn't even have that time. It's okay, because I really have very little to talk about anyway. Things in general appear to be improving, the storm clouds are lifting and the pummeling has largely ceased. But check back tomorrow, cause you never know.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The beating continues

So yesterday morning I woke up around 4:45 am. I was really tired so I tried to get back to sleep, but the hard drive problem so weighed on my mind that after an hour of tossing and turning it was apparent that I was awake, so I got up. This will become important later. The day was relatively uneventful, I even talked my boss into letting me go home early so that I could work on the hard drives before the play I had tickets to that night.

So when I got home I pulled one drive out of the freezer, I stuck it in my computer, I booted it up and viola! There she was in all her glory. It happened to be the C: drive, which fortunately had our financial records and my wife's e-mail, but was mostly devoid of any other data. I got everything I wanted off and it still wasn't having issues, so I shut down and decided to try the other drive. As soon as it started up I could hear the dreaded click, and as you might imagine it didn't come up. So success for the freezing method is currently at 50%.

This leads me to believe that the D: drive was the one with the problem, and either because of heat or something else it managed to cause C: to have problems as well, as evidenced by the fact that C: was also clicking (not as loudly) and that the computer wouldn't boot at all. In any event D: is back in the freezer and the time has come to try other more desperate tactics, like hitting it, hard, and then if that doesn't work I'll open it up and try spinning the disks by hand... But in all honesty we're probably out of luck on that disk. C: performed well enough that I'm going to put it back in the computer and see how long it lasts, particularly now that I have a backup.

In any case after spending a couple of hours fooling around with the hard drives it was time for the play. We were going with some good friends of ours. Normally we do dinner before the play, but they couldn't get a babysitter early enough so we ended just having dessert at a nearby restaurant. Even though it was less time than normal the dessert portion of the evening, with the good conversation, ended up being the highlight of the evening. The play was pretty bad. The creative director of the local theater fancies himself a playwright, so he decided to do a loose translation of a french farce and toss in elements from a bunch of other french farces, and stage that mongrel. It was heavy-handed, over-acted, poorly constructed, sophmoric, messy and loud. Without that last element I might have been able to catch up on my sleep, but no such luck.

As a result by the time I got home I could barely keep my eyes open. Unfortunately (for them as well as me) my youngest had missed us so much that she got up and started crying, and the oldest son had come down with a migraine so he was throwing up (excellent timing on his part to wait until the baby sitter was gone) so in between the piteous wails of one child and the retching of another (perfectly timed to go off as soon as I had fallen asleep) what I experienced resembled the haze of dementia more than blissful slumber. The youngest quickly ended up in our bed where she kept her mind of her limitless sorrow by periodically elbowing me in the throat or kicking me in the solar plexus. By 3 or 4 in the morning the next youngest had wormed into bed and using superior numbers they smothered my wife and pushed me so close to the edge of the bed that only the counter-balancing weight of enormous gut kept my center of gravity over the mattress.

I whine therefore I am

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Man down... Kicking in progress...

I make a to-do list every day, it is in fact one of the few good habits I possess. Occasionally when I feel stretched particularly thin I'll add "Relax" as an item on that list. I find that often one has to focus on disappating stress and anxiety, thus the "Relax" as an item to be done. I assume that by putting it down on my to-do list yesterday that I invoked some kind of Murphy Demon who made sure that yesterday was anything but relaxing...

Surprisingly work was not the anti-relaxent, it wasn't till I got home that horrible things started happening. I was sitting in the office, and a heard a whir-click, whir-click sound coming from the wife's computer. I knew that wasn't a good sound so I tried waking it up, I tried ctrl-alt-del... nothing... so I powered it down. After letting it sit for an hour or two I powered it back up. It was still making that sound and when it came to that part in the bios where it looks for the IDE... yeah it didn't find it. Well suppossedly all the data from that computer was on the D drive, if the computer won't boot, one assumes it's the C drive, so I was optimistic that I'd be able to slap the D drive into my computer it would boot and we wouldn't lose any data. I think long time readers of my blog may know where I'm going with this...

So I took the computer apart blew out all the dust and pulled the hard drives, took what I assumed was the C drive (based on the jumpers) and tossed it in the freezer. The freezer thing is ridiculed by many as voodoo, but it's my default action in a case like this and I've had good luck with it. I think more alarming is the fact that I have a default action for these events. I then tossed the remaining HD into my computer. As soon as I started it up I heard the whir-click. Obviously I had the wrong hard drive, so I quickly powered down and grabbed the other drive from the freezer. As I booted up with the second drive I once again heard a whir-click (though not as loud as with the first drive). I was already down, this is when the kicking commenced...

In the end neither drive would mount on my computer and now both are in the freezer waiting their hoped for resurrection. I'm still not sure what external factor caused both hard drives to fail at the same time, and I'm sure that I'm missing some piece of the puzzle, and don't even get into the overwhelming stupidity of not having a backup, cause then I'd have to kill you.

In search of relaxation

Monday, January 22, 2007

The weekend did not heal me

I think my sleeping schedule is screwed up. On Saturday and Sunday I felt wasted the whole day, and ended up taking naps both days, but when it came time to go to bed I felt wide awake, and both mornings I woke up early (as well as today). I would think that I've managed to split my sleep schedule, but other than Saturday and Sunday I obviously didn't take naps the rest of the week, so that theory doesn't make a lot of sense. Of course part of the problem could be that apparently I'm anemic, or something similar. I can't talk to the doctor about it until Thursday, so at the moment all sorts of theories are racing through my head.

Obviously the head game is part of the problem, things like this end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once I start to wonder why I'm not experiencing any symptoms if I am anemic, I start to question whether every day tiredness isn't something more sinister. We were talking about "burning out" an illness yesterday, and I think it's the same thing. If you decide to be sick and lanquish in bed all day, you're going to feel sicker than if you get up and decide to ignore it. Now that doesn't mean sometimes the best course of action isn't bedrest, but there are a lot of times where attitude is everything.

This shouldn't give anyone the impression that I didn't have any fun over the weekend. My kids and I opened up the two cases of the new set of dreamblade minis I got on Friday. After everything was opened I was short three minis of a 60 mini set, so that was nice, plus I had extras of a lot of really sought after minis, so I would assume that I ought to be able to trade for what I don't have at the release tournament this Saturday.

Blather upon blather

Friday, January 19, 2007

Sporadic and sophomoric

My posts lately have been sporadic and sophomoric, so I thought that was an appropriate title, plus this post shows no signs of changing that tread. I picked up the World of Warcraft expansion last night. I had planned on waiting for a little while longer, but a bizarre combination of events involving a pre-order from 2005 for a friend, ended up providing me with a copy last night. Needless to say the sons were quite excited about it, and so far they're the only ones who've played it.

In other sophomoric news, much has been made of NBC's bold attempt to reestablish their Thursday night comedy dominance, and I must say that I for one, have quite enjoyed it. "The Office" in particular just keeps getting better, but all four of the shows they have on tap from 7-9 consistently make me laugh.

Once again we're on the verge of the weekend, I don't have as much on tap as last weekend, though I do have to come into work on Sunday, which is always a doner. I have set a goal to get on the exercise bike and spin for a couple of hours, in the back of my head I'm toying with the century idea. So I'll let you know how that turns out. In fact I'm posting about it so that the social pressure will help me actually go through with it. I also think that if I'm actually training for something it might help justify getting a nice bike as a replacement...

Long way to go, short time to get there

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

American Idol

Yes, I know that it's very fashionable to criticize American Idol as Exhibit A in the case for the decline of western civilization, and in a sense I agree with that, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the ride... Obviously in a general sense I'm talking about the giddy descent into duncehood and depravity, but in a more specific sense I'm talking about watching people with the singing talents of an Alzheimer's patient who's afflicted with throat cancer, rage at the unfairness of the judges. There was one 16 year old last night, near the end of the program, who not only unleashed a string of bleeped profanities, nearly a minute in length, but then went on to pout because he wanted to be famous now!

As recently as a few years ago it was unthinkable to suggest that kids could be given too much self esteem, but recent studies on bullies have suggested that this is not the case. That in addition to the danger of giving kids an understated sense of their own abilities, that it is also possible to give them an overstated sense as well, my kids being a notable exception to this caution. (Actually it would be very easy to give my kids an overstated sense of their athletic ability...) In any case an excess of self-esteem is the only explanation I can think of for all these truly awful singers on American Idol, which makes, what I feel to be a very interesting commentary on the state of America.

Possessed of just the right amount of self esteem

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bruised and battered

Well after putting in some long hours last week I was really looking forward to a rejuvenating weekend. One would think that after the last 378 weekends failed to be as rejuvenating as I expected that I would start to notice a pattern. Actually the weekend was about what I would have expected from a normal two day weekend, but this was a three day weekend, and let's face it we hold them to a higher standard, an unrealisticaly high standard, actually. I would say that I expect a three day weekend to be twice as rejuvenating as a normal weekend, which means, if you do the math, that last weekend was only half as rejuvenating as I was expecting.

As I previously mentioned the weekend started out with me staying up too late on Friday. Saturday was almost entirely spent putting together a double-decker dresser bed, with a little bit of family game night to top the night off. Sunday wasn't too bad, though I spent the day hobbling, because the back of my upper thigh was really sore from all the crouching I'd done while putting the bed together.

Monday I spent the morning moving stuff back into the bedroom and throwing away all the junk left over from the bed. By lunch time I was ready to take a break and I decided to buy the family lunch at Arctic Circle. When I went out, I discovered that the front left tire was flat, or nearly flat. Rather than changing it right there I decided there was enough pressure to drive the .2 miles to the gas station. Of course when I got there the air compressor was out of order. At this point I was really stuck between a rock and a hard place. I needed to get people lunch because company was coming soon, and the natives were restless to boot. The next nearest gas station was basically as far as the tire place, but as I mentioned I didn't have a lot of time...

Finally I decided to drive to the next gas station. They not only had air, but it was free (I'll have to start going there more often) the tire didn't immediately deflate so I got lunch, came home, snarfed it down, and then went to the tire place. The bad news was that the tire had a cut in the sidewall (possibly caused by someone recklessly driving around on his rims looking for an air compressor) the good news was it was still under warrenty, so I got a new one for free. After I got that taken care of I returned home to find that a friend/business associate had a bunch of market research he wanted me to do. So I basically spent the rest of the day doing that. In all, somewhat unsatisfying, but them's the breaks I guess.

Five minutes from Midnight

Friday, January 12, 2007

Excuse my absence

I really did mean to blog several times this week, but things at work were insane. We got a virus infection on Wednesday, and I was there until 11 pm with a bunch of other people from IT trying to clean things up, in the midst of trying to get out of there, I missed rebooting the webserver (necessary because of the enormous network problems the virus caused), so the next morning I got a call at 6:30 am because it was down. With the early start after putting in 15 hours on Wednesday I put in another 12 on Thursday.

On top of that there was a big snow storm and the whole day I was dreading the shoveling that I was sure waited for me at home. Fortunately in an act of unparalled kindness my wife had shoveled it for me, which is probably the reason I'm still sane. Today was more of the same, but things had finally calmed down and I was hoping to get out of work early and take a nap. I didn't get out of there nearly as early as I wanted but I did leave a little early. First I had to get a prescription for my daughter and then get some gas. Both were close to work and so when I got called back in I was still near enough to turn around, not that I wanted to, but that's just the way the week was.

By the time I took care of that final problem, left again and picked up a cordless drill it was around 6 pm when I got home. Needless to say I feel pretty beat up. So why am I still up at 11:00 blogging? No idea...

Three day weekends are proof of a Supreme Being

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Visits to the Doctor

This week has thus far been dominated by visits to the doctor. Yesterday I took my daughter in to get her arm casted. It seems in the past when you broke your arm they would cast it right away, but these days they put it in a sling until the swelling goes down, then they cast it. The doctor said that because of how springy her bones are that she had a green stick fracture, more of a bend then a break I suppose. His big worry is that it will not unbend or worse that it would continue to bend, so he wants to see her in another week.

They asked her what color she wanted, which is nice, and certainly an advance in medicine since I had a cast. She choose purple. The only problem there is that a lot of markers won't show up on purple very well, so I went to ShopKo and picked up some silver and gold sharpies which seem to show up reasonably well. We also finally tracked down the Yu-Gi-Oh Jaden cards my son has been dying to get since before Christmas.

As for myself my doctors appointment was a follow-up. He wanted to discuss red blood count, the colonoscopy and my weight. The latter part was good news since I had dropped 6 lbs. Though that may be more due to creativity than exercise. When I weighed in three months ago I was fully equipped I had a jacket on, my pda, wallet, keys, etc. This time I made very sure to ditch all that stuff, so that could have been the six pounds right there, who knows. But at least I can take comfort in the fact that, after all that I did lose weight, it would have been horrible if I'd gone to all that trouble and gained weight (even staying the same would have been pretty annoying).

Don't hate the player, hate the game

Friday, January 05, 2007


I made several mistakes as a first time home buyer, the one that haunts me the most I think is the fact that my driveway is shaded from the south. Also when one considers the humbleness of my abode the driveway is surprisingly long. I had cause to reflect on this fact last night as I was shoveling a bunch of wet heavy snow off the aforementioned driveway.

The annoying nature of the driveway does not end with it's lack of a southern exposure. The driveway is basically divided up into three sections, there's the back section, adjacent to the garage. This is the worst section because not only is it twice as wide, but it has difficult edges. On the one edge is a 3 foot wall, on the other edge is where I park my car, so essentially you have this vast space with no easy way to push the snow off. The middle section connects to the side of the house, this is once again annoying because it blocks snow removal from that edge completely. Although the warmth of the house does occassionally keep that edge (not the whole section) free of snow. So it is only the last third of the driveway where I can do the classic shovel a corridor down the middle and then push the snow off to either edge.

Still all of this would not be that bad if I could just get to the driveway before people had to drive on it. Once people have been back and forth a half dozen times it doesn't matter what kind of convient edge there is, you ain't getting that puppy clean. Fortunately the warm weather did give one advantage, the tire tracks hadn't iced up, as a result, though it took an enormous amount of work I was able clear off the entire driveway last night. Actually that's not entirely true, I mostly shoveled into and around my car, so there's quite a large pile of snow off to the right end of the driveway where I park, but other than that...

In the market for a good snowblower

Thursday, January 04, 2007


For quite a while we had the most basic cable possible. We paid $12 a month, and since having cable gave us $10 a month off the high speed internet it functionally only $2 a month. Then my work started paying for my internet, we we decided to go back to a more complete cable package. This was necessary not only so that I could watch the Tour, but just as much because I was tired of people talking about MythBusters all the time without being able to share in it.

Well that was many moons ago and since then with the help of several Discovery Channel Mythbuster Marathons and a schedule that demands I always have Wednesday free I think I'm mostly caught up, though last night I did see one I hadn't seen before. One of the myths they were tackling was whether there's some secret device or additive or invention that would allow your car to get vastly better gas mileage. Of course the subtext of this myth, which they used for humorous effect many times, is that through some collusion between oil companies and auto makers these miracles are being kept from the public. Presumably in the service of EVIL.

I really like it when they bust these sorts of myths (opps, did I spoil the ending?) Because while finding out if it the right mix of herbicides can make your pants flammable (the other myth they examined) or whether a sufficiently powerful bomb can save someone falling from an airplane without a parachute, is interesting. Busting a myth like the gas mileage one is a real public service. Of course this is based on the naive assumption that people who might have otherwise bought this snake oil are dissuaded from it, which is far from certain.

Definitely in the service of EVIL

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


I watched a ton of movies during the vacation. Most of them were ones I'd already seen particularly those we watched while on the winter vacation, but I also saw quite a few I had never seen before. I thought I would make a list and give a capsule review:

The Man Who Knew Too Much: I'd seen parts of this before. A solid movie, but not Hitchcock's best. My wife loves it because it has Doris Day in it.

Tootsie: Another one I'd seen parts of but too long ago to remember anything. Very funny. Bill Murray gives us hints of his later brilliance.

March of the Penguins: Excellent. Surprisingly sad, enough so that it may not be appropriate for younger audiences.

The Lavender Hill Mob: A very early Alec Guinness movie. Good, but not great. Still it's short enough that it's worth watching.

Bullit: Awesome. See it for the car chase alone.

Little Miss Sunshine: The language is pretty bad, but other than that this is an exceptional movie. Best disfunctional family since the Tenenbaums.

Alice in Wonderland: A TV version from 1985 stars everyone from Scott Baio to Sid Caesar. Not bad, but I think it was more focused on all the cameos then the story.

Howl's Moving Castle: Miyazaki, what else needs to be said. Definitely worth seeing.

Budding Cinephile

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I have returned

Well I am finally back from the long break. Obviously I can't recount everything that happened while I was on vacation, but two incidents stand out and interestingly enough they're related, so that seems as good a subject as any. On our annual winter vacation we have one afternoon set aside for the kids. We take them up to a hill and they can go sledding. My father also purchased a little snowmobile with a 120 cc engine that governed to around 7-8 miles an hour. This little snowmobile is the highlight of the kids vacation (once you can get them over their fear) and generally there's a constant supply of little boys who want to ride it, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

So my oldest daughter decided to sled down the hill with my oldest son. There was a spill and she hurt her arm. It wasn't until the day after that we discovered it had been broken. This was tragic, not only because of the injury and the pain associated with it, but also because it meant that the 6 weeks of snow school she was about to embark on, was now out of the question. Fortunately we had taken her for her first day skiing earlier in the week, so the 500+ we spent on clothes and equipment was not entirely wasted. (Also there's a chance she'll be healthy enough to ski in March or April.) So that's basically story number 1.

Story number 2 happened an hour or so later. At this point all but three of the kids (out of a potential 9) had gone back to the condo. My youngest son was on the 120. He had been doing some really impressive hill climbing (nothing too steep we are talking about a really tiny sled here). He seemed to have a really good knack for when he needed to turn. In any case after successfully navigating the hill several times his knack failed him and he got stuck. One of my brother-in-laws (not the potato wedge one) was already on a snowmobile, so he raced over to help out. As he was heading over another guy who was standing nearby started to walk over. Initially I thought, "Well that's nice of him to walk over and help out." When the man continued talking to my b-i-l, I had to revise my assumption. My dad suggested that he was asking about the 120 since it's a fairly unique snowmobile. It turned out we were both wrong.

When he got back we asked him what the guy wanted and my b-i-l said that it was an off-duty park ranger and he'd read him the riot act. First off the snowmobile needed tags (feh, whatever, but its the least egregious demand), secondly he needed to wear a helmet. Now while I can see that, this is where the irony starts to emerge. You can go significantly faster on a sled then you can ever go on this little snowmobile, but no one would think of requiring a helment for that, and it's significantly more dangerous (as evidenced by the broken). Where it gets really ridiculous is when he said that the child needed to take an off road vehicles class, but he couldn't take it until he was 8... By the time you're 8 you almost don't need to ride a 120 you can ride a normal snowmobile. The whole thing was really annoying and I didn't even talk to the guy, but I'm inclined to say, "well then throw the book at me" if it comes up again.