Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Snow in the valley

Yes, it does snow in Willamette Valley.  Not often and it certainly doesn't last long but iCimg6866t does snow
occassionally.  I woke up this morning to Jason walking past my room saying it was dumping out.  I of course decided to wear my ski goggles to class because of this.  I wonder if it's possible for me to get my pHD in Snow....


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Epic Day at SkiBowl

Today I went with my buddies Toshi (who we now call Kamikaze Kimura the Samurai Shredder - you'll see why later) and Aaron Hartz to SkiBowl on Mt. Hood for the 2nd day they've been open this year.  Aaron and I had heard reports of massive snowfall over the weekend up there so we wSkibowl_112606_003ere totally stoked to get out and hit some pow.  Toshi offered to drive and we got an early start around 6:45am from Corvallis.   We drove directly to the mountain with just a quick stop at a gas station for some coffee to wake up.  We hit the snow line just a few miles past Kathy's
Kabins which I had just stayed at over Thanksgiving.  Toshi didn't bother to put his chains on although a lot of people who were heading further over the pass did.  When we pulled in and started to unload the car we heard the resort bombing the slopes with shells to clear any avalanche danger which is always a good sign! 

    The resort wasn't that busy and we were able to get our passes quickly and hit the slopes.  The upper bowl was amazing and had plenty of gnarly terrain to thrash.  The lifts themselvesSkibowl_112606_008 were old school 2-person chairs with no safety gate.  I was beginning to really like this place.  It had snowed nearly 3 feet over the past 3 days so everything was soft and powdery when we got
there.  From the lift I picked out a line that dropped over a 10' ledge at the start, carved down a steep slope of pow then dropped over a bigger 15-20' drop at the end before heading into trees. The pic of the skier with the crossed skis is me  We gave Toshi the camera and got some film of Aaron and I crushing it.  We had to be very careful of what was underneath the snow still because the base layer was pretty much the same powder we were blasting through all day. 

    After a few more runs down that face they opened up the backcountry so the three of us Skibowl_112606_039
went exploring and were able to get fresh turns down some sick steeps intoSkibowl_112606_029
trees.  I got a great sequence of Aaron coming off a pretty good size ledge HERE.  Also in the pic on left. We made the hike to the backcountry twice before the snow got too sticky and warm at the bottom making the traverse back to the lifts difficult.  My skis aren't waxed and the snow became so sticky in the afternoon that I was able to literally "skin" up the trail from the snow stuck to my ski bottoms. 

    We took a quick break for lunch at the base lodge then went for a few more runs.  On our Skibowl_112606_019
second to last run I spotted some pillows (big rocks covered in snow) that ISkibowl_112606_032
wanted to try out.  Aaron guinea pigged the jump and I followed him.  It was a good 10-12' drop.  Toshi was standing above and I told him to give it a try... well I didn't have to ask twice.  I barely had time to push record on my camera as he came sailing over the edge leaving a big bomb hole below.  Check this video HERE.  On his firt drop Toshi pretty much hurled his carcass!  Aaron and I decided his new Skibowl_112606_054
name is Kamikaze Kimura the Samurai Shredder!  By this point Toshi's glassesSkibowl_112606_070
were completely fogged and it was dumping so he headed down while Aaron and I took one more run through the pow which was amazing.  Once again Aaron and I pushed each other all day to do things we both sometimes questioned but it always turned out fine.  Looking forward to a great season!


Friday, November 24, 2006

Best Thanksgiving Ever

This Thanksgiving my friend Karen reserved a cabin for us near Government Camp on the slopes of Mt. Hood.  I really had no clue what to expect as I got a ride up North with Eleanor and her friend from Humbolt College Larry.  On the way up we stopped in Boring, OR (yeah, IThanksgiving_2006_008
spelled it right) at a Safeway so I could pick up some food for the feast that night as well as to get some snacks to hold us over.  I got some great chili - God I love chili... Anyway, we had heard on the radio that the passes were all snowed in and pretty bad but luckily we were just a few miles below the snow line when we got to Cabin so we didn't need any chains.  We got to the cabin around 1pm and, after a little confusion from Eleanor as to where the key to the place was (in the lock box next to the door.... haha) we found our way in and the only words I can come up Thanksgiving_2006_009
with to describe the place was amazing.   Check out the pics.... Hot tub on a beautiful wooden porch outside with a swing over the Sandy River, fully stocked kitchen with a bottle of wine and candy left for us, a huge living room with a cozy fireplace and Brookstone Massage Chair (that was the icing on the cake for me) and a freakin' antelope hanging on the wall with two shot guns!  This place was the ultimate ski cabin.      
    After about twenty minutes of freakin' out about how cool the place was we went for a walk outside which took us across a pedestrian suspension bridge over the river.  As we were walking across I jokingly commented on how cool it would be if we found a grocery store on theThanksgiving_2006_016
other side... yup, there was one, and a DQ (Dairy Queen) just up the road.  We really couldn't ask for anything more in a location.  The bridge was super slippery in the rain which I took full advantage of HERE. 
    Shortly after we got back from our walk Karen, Bart, Esther, and RobynThanksgiving_2006_053
showed up and began to prepare dinner as Eleanor, Karen, Larry and I chilled out in the hot tub for a while.  Bart even brought out a tomato mozzerella plate for us to snake on while we waited.  In the 3+ hours I sat in the hot tub I was able to polish off a fifth of captain with a little help from my friends.  Eleanor was able to polish off nearly two bottles of wine herself as well.. which she later realized were a hell of a lot stronger than the 5-6 Pabst she usually drinks.. haha. 
    We ate dinner around 7pm which was a feast of turkey, ham, green bean salad, mashed
potatoes, gellatin salad, stuffing, apple pie with ice cream, pumpkin pie, champagne etc.  It was absolutely amazing!  Hats off to the chefs.  Bart did a terrific job on the turkey.  Check out the picture of him cooking in the kitchen.... yes he has a bathing suit on... speedo, Euro Style... and yes that is hand on the other side of his crotch! Ha! 
    By the time we ate dinner several of us were pretty damn drunk.  Eleanor Thanksgiving_2006_026
even went for seconds in the bathroom before she realized it wasn't actually the kitchen.  We then tried to play a game of Cranium but it was way tooThanksgiving_2006_037
complicated for the state we found ourselves in.  Eleanor at this point decided it was best to pass out which of course is a no-no around me... so I had to dress her up a bit with some plants, a shotgun and gaselle (antelope).  After a little while chillin' in the massage chair I noticed everyone was crashing but it was only around 10pm (Damn turkey making people tired) so I plugged my Ipod into the tv and played Anchorman for everyone.
    After Anchorman we all pretty much hit the hay.  I climbed into a King size bed with Eleanor Thanksgiving_2006_051
and Karen (so big I didn't even bump into them all night long).  I slept in for a bit in the morning then got up to help finish off atleast one of the egg nogs weThanksgiving_2006_045
had bought the day before and to help clean up (I felt bad because everyone had cleaned up before I pulled my lazy ass out of bed).  Bart and Esther took off for home and Eleanor and Larry took off to meet up with friends in Portland.  Karen, Robyn and I headed to Portland to pick up Karen's boyfriend Chad from the airport and then to the annual wine tastings at local vineyards in Dundee, OR.   We ended up going to Torrii Mor and Bella Vida wineries.  It cost about 10 bucks each to get in but we got to try some amazing wines, eat some exotic cheeses with great homemade breads and were able to keep the wine glasses afterwards.  I'd never been to a wine tasting before so it was a neat experience and the acres and acres of grape vines was cool to see as well.
    It was a terrific Thanksgiving that we are definitely going to make a tradition from now on.  Next year we hope to rent Kathy's Kabin for both Thursday and Friday night to make it a longer stay.  It's only 300 bucks for the first night and 200 for the second so split between 10 or so people that's not bad at all.  Only 364 days to go.. :)


Monday, November 20, 2006

Timberline on Mt. Hood

Yup, I went skiing before Thanksgiving this year.  I drove up Saturday with my buddies Toshi and Aaron to Timberline Lodge today on Mt. Hood.  I was absolutely blown away by the terrain we were driving to. Cimg6758
The massive volcano just seemed to rise out of no where.  I've never skiied on a volcano before.  In the Northeast you can look around and see other mountains in the distance at the same elevation that you are skiing at... not out here.  Even at the base of the mountain below tree line I was about 5,000 feet higher than anything else below.  The only other mountains as high as we were were Mt.Cimg6760
Jefferson and the 3 Sisters to the south which were both snow capped volcanoes.   Look closely in the picture and you can see them in the background.  The weather was perfect, 45 degrees and plenty of snow for the 50% of the mountain that was open.  Lift lines weren't too terrible and everyone around was incredibly nice.  There were dogs running around barking and I found out that the main lodge was where they filmed The Shining with Jack Nicholson. 
    Toshi was a great skier but with Aaron I think I finally found someone that is at the same level of skiing that I am at and can push me to get better and ski harder.  We ski at the same pace and with Cimg6761
the same style, spinning off ridges and hucking ledges and drops.  We are definitely going to feed off each other on the slopes all winter long.  I'm going to hold off on getting a pass this year but next year I definitely will.  We lost Toshi by accident at the very end of the day but he caught up to us as the mountain was closing down for the day.  We stopped for Burgers and beer at a cool bar in Government Camp on the way home.   It was a terrific day and I would have gotten more pictures if my camera's battery hadn't died on me.  The first picture is of the massive omelette I got at a dinner on the way to Hood. 


Friday, November 17, 2006

Dinner Party then Amadon at Platinum

Tonight Gwen and Cosmo had another dinner party at their place which was fantastic.  I even ended up bringing home a bag of socks... (long story).  We had pumpkin bread, some vegetarian stuff (actually really good) garlic bread, burgers, and plenty of wine.  Gwen got a bit tipsy which was entertaining to all of us.  It was a very relaxed evening and Anna and I convinced everyone to go down to Platinum to see Amadan play.  I had picked up a Jeep Grand Cherokee Loredo last night through my insurance company because my truck isn't done getting repaired yet.  I managed to pile Abby, Brycen, Robyn, Isaac, Anna, Eleanor and I into the vehicle to head to Anna and Eleanors new joint at 420 9th street for some pregame drinks.  I decided to stay DD for the night as I'm planning on skiing tomorow with Aaron and Toshi. 
    Well, can't believe I found myself at Platinum again.  This time it was for a good reason.  AMADAN! They are a fantastic band.  A lot of people showed up after they went to squirrels first.  Cimg6755
They put on a great show and it was nice seeing everyone out having a good time.  I ended up walking Anna home later that night so she got home safe, then took my rental back to the club to begin transporting people safely home.  I finally ended up getting home a little after 1 am.
Throughout the night Eleanor was pounding down her favorite booze - PBR, but this time she got one for Brycen and added a little sophistication to it... check out what's in his drink... then check out his suprise... hahaha.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Day in Eugene with GirlyMan

Today and went to Eugene with Anna, Isaac and their friends Julie and Craig.  We stopped in at REI to check out all the stuff and I picked up some new 2nd hand clothes at Buffalo exchange.  From now on I'm only buying 2nd hand clothes or technical clothes onsale on the net that I can use in the outdoors... no more will anyone see me at Abercrombie or Structure... 2nd hand clothes are coolerGirlyman_in_eugene_111106_002 and more stylish anyway!  And out here there isn't the pressure to dress like everyone else like there is in Boston or on the East Coast.. thank God.  We also went down to 5th street market to walk
around which was very cool.  Check out the pic of the pet bird that was free to walk around the inside of the market place.  If you look closely you can even see it's feed bucket in the background.  In the East something like this wouldn't make any sense at all but out here I wasn't even suprised to see it.  We stopped in a kitchen appliance store called Hartwicks which we all were fascinated by.  Seriously, the place had the coolest kitchen gadgets I've ever seen including a blender that was so powerful it actually heats up whatever it blends and a garden called AeroGarden that grows veggies 10x faster than soil through hydroponics and nutrients... Cool shit!
    At 8 we headed over to the Luna Jazz lounge next to Adam's Place restaurant for a performance by GirlyMan, Girlyman_in_eugene_111106_004a band that Isaac's brother plays with occasionaly.  They specialize in cool folk music and a little bluegrass banjo.  Not really my type of music but I had a really great time.  Everyone I was with ordered fancy martini's etc but I held myself back still and actually got to drink a beer that was a
mistake anyway.  Usually on Saturday I like to go into the outdoors and push my body to it's physical limits but today ended up being a leisurely relaxed day that really enjoyed with great friends.  I just love being out here and I love all the people I've met and am friends with now... I really feel like despite everything in my life that is going on right now I am really meant to be here.  It finally feels "right" to me. 


Borat - Cultural Learnings

Last nigBorat_narrowweb__300x4950ht I went to see Borat with Eleanor, Mac, Anna and Isaac.  They didn't like it too much (thankfully I left to pee during the naked guy wrestling part) but I thought it was hilarious... until I found out that it was the same guy who plays Ali G!  I friggin' hate Ali G!  But oddly I love the
character of Borat so I guess that guy who plays the two (and another Russian character) is pretty damn talented!  I think that he makes fun of America as much as he does Kazakistan in this movie.  He's not biased towards either country.  He just likes to poke humor at everything.  I'm so sick of everything having to politically correct these days and how everyone takes things too seriously.... Come on world... learn to take joke!  Everyone should be able to laugh at themselves and get a chuckle out of stupid comedy which this movie definitely is.  Anyway, I thought it was great - so go and see it!  Just close your eyes when the fat man starts to undress! hahaha.


Thursday, November 9, 2006

Coriolis Billiards

This week has been pretty exhausting for me.  I finally decided that I needed to drop my math course Matrix and Power Series because I was completely lost.  I had no right being in that class after 6 years of having no math whatsoever.  My advisor should have told me how to prepare months before I came out here when I asked her repeatedly too.  Now I just feel lost and I'm having to work incredibly hard (think 12 hour days 6 days a week). 
    Anyway, enough complaining and boo-hooing... Here's what took place today.  In my Physical Oceanography class we had to make a presentation in lab on the effects of the coriolis force (ForceCoriolis_playground_11906_004
that deflects water to the right of it's path of motion in the Northern Hemisphere due to the earth's rotation - simple explanation).  Everyone was going to use pottery wheels, water buckets, etc but I of course wanted to do something Coriolis_playground_11906_008
memorable...  So I decided that we (Brycen, Karen, Brendan and I) should buy a kids pool table from Walmart and rig it up to a merry-go-round and shoot pool to demonstrate it.  So today Brycen picked up the pool table and we went down to the playground at the pre-school on 29th street to shoot some film of Brendan and I playing pool.  Well, as soon as we go there kids started to pour out of the building for recess, and we were't supposed to be there.  After talking to the principal (Princi-Pal) he agreed to let us do our expirement which thoroughly entertained all the liltle kids who instantly got excited about the science experiment! 
    We had a great time playing pool on the spinning merry-go-round.  Everytime we'd shoot the ball straight it would get deflected to the right which made for some great hook trick shots... Check out the video we made for class HERE.  At the end I got down to the ground so that all the kids could seeCoriolis_playground_11906_017
themselves in the video on my camera.  As we left they all ran up to the fence to wave good bye to me.  The project wasn't even for a grade but we definitely got a few laughs in the class when we presented... and we even got to buy something from Walmart, rip the box apart and then return it (I hate Wally Mart!). 


Saturday, November 4, 2006

McKenzie River Trail

We were all supposed to go raft the Deschutes River this weekend but several people got sick and the large amount of rain we've been getting lately has made the river a little dangerous so we had to cancel the trip last moment.  Being that my midterms are finally over (some ugly, some ok) I was pretty excited to get away for the weekend and do something active.  Thus, I was really bummed out to hear our trip was cancelled.  Then I found myself sitting in the media lab with my friend Tiffany Gregg who suggested we go biking on Saturday instead.  Tiffany is a strong biker and I've wanted to go with her for a while now so I jumped at the chance.  We planned to get an early start around 9am and head to the McKenzie River Trail, a 25 mile long singletrack trail that follows the river and is famous for it's beauty. 
    I got a call from Tiffany around 9am and she was at my place to pick me up in her Tacoma (girls that drive trucks = mad cool) and I was informed that we had gathered more people to ride with us including Chris Holmes, who had been out last night until 4am and Pam who Chris had walked home before returning home himself.  Pam's roomate Brett came along too making 5 total.  Brett and Pam live with Ashley Hatfield who has been on several hikes with me in the past and is in previous posts.  Brett, and Pam live in the "biking" house where the captains of the bike team live and Tiffany is also on the girls cross country team here.  That meant that Chris and I were heading off to the woods with a serious crew of strong bikers... And Chris was chugging down gatorade to cure his hangover on the way to the trailhead.
    We got dropped off at Clear Lake Campground and shuttled Tiffany's truck down river to the Ranger Station near McKenzie Bridge 25 miles away.  We ended up getting started around 1:30 (late start due to a hungover morning for some.. haha) but we didn't think it would be a problem. Cimg6564
Immediately we took a wrong turn and started to make a loop around the lake but thanks to some quick thinking by Chris and Pam we found our way back to the trail.... nope... we ended up on the scenic waterfall trail meant for pedestrians, not bikes.  This was great for me because I just rocketed down the steps on my Cimg6566
plush suspension freeride Kona, while for the others it was a little more sketchy.  We even got to ride through some spectacular lava fields eraly in the ride.  Even though we were on the wrong trail we knew how to eventually hook back up to the McKenzie River Trail and we got to see some amazing waterfalls for our mistake.  It poured all day so the falls were really kickin' as well.  We ended up biking around a small resevoir and taking a connector trail to get back onto the McKenzie River Trail. 
    The McKenzie trail is by far the best mountain bike trail I have ever ridden.  It is very well maintained with plenty of bridges over streams and other hazards and besides a few technical sections through some lava outcrops (which I thoroughly enjoyed) it was fairly smooth.  I definitelyCimg6574
plan on heading back to the trail when I get a helmet cam down the road to get some video of it.  I took a bunch of pics throughout the day but since it was pouring my camera was getting pretty wet and I had to pack it away eventually.  Biking through the rainforest with steam coming off us and everything around us was amazing.  I had gore-tex pants on and a waterproof top but was eventually soaked like everyone else.  We stopped at a large bluish green pool of water which caught my Cimg6579
attention because there was  a fairly large stream pouring out of it but no stream pouring into it????  I inquired and was told by Pam and Chris that the McKenzie River actually dives undground in several areas through ancient lava tubes!  Later I asked Jason about what I saw and hes said that it was a giant spring.  Either way it was pretty damn impressive.  It was there that Chris had the quote of the day.  He was sucking on his camelbak tube and got a wierd face.  When I inquired he looked up and said, "shit, I think my tea bag just blew up".  hahaha.  He had put a tea bag in his camelbak for some reason, but it was the way he casually said it that was hilarious.
    I found a new appreciation for my Kona as well.  It ate up any terrain that was thrown my way with the big shocks and biking cross country wasn't that bad with it. Perhaps down the road in a few years I'll trade it in for a truly cross country bike but for now I think I'll keep the heavy rig and continue to build up my leg strength. 
    Towards the end of the ride as it was getting really dark and too hard to see my legs began to really feel it and then painfully cramped up like rocks.  The only thing I had eaten all day was a halfCimg6577
bowl of cereal before Tiffany had picked me up... bad choice.  I was exhausted but thankfully after chugging a ton of water from my camelbak and a tasty powerbar from Brett I was able to finish out the trip without too much trouble and pain.  We had to duck out of the woods a few miles early because it was getting too dark to safely see the trail ahead of us and I was the only one with a headlamp.  As soon as we got on the road the "true" bikers rallied into a pack and left Chris and I in the dust!  Chris and I took our time and met up with the group about 10 minutes later at Tiffany's truck for the very squished ride back East to Pam's car.
    We ended up getting dinner at a Mexican joint on the way home at which we all gorged ourselves.  It was a very exhausting ride for me but the best and most beautiful I've done in a long, long time.  We were the only ones on the trail all day (odd for it being a Sat), and I can't wait to go back in the spring with sunny weather to take more photos and the right trail at the beginning.  After worrying that my Saturday would be ruined when rafting was cancelled I actually ended up having the best trip I've done yet in Oregon!


Friday, November 3, 2006

Squirrels and Platinum

Even though this is under the "Drinkin" category I did not partake in that activity myself as I am sticking to my "no beers till New Years" rule.  I met up with Anna, her friend George, Isaac, Eleanor, Chris Holmes, Aaron Hart, Mac and Sarah at Squirrels for drinks before they convinced me to go "clubbin" with them at a skeevy joint called Platinum downtown.  I really wish that I had a picture of the sketchy bouncer who took my 4$ (wayy to much for a place like that) cover charge.  He had tatoos everywhere but twisted his beard and sideburns up into some sort of bad ass devil meets hillbilly hair-do.  What a freak!  So I followed everyone downstairs into the dungeon where there were no more than 30 or 40 people in a giant room with a bunch of pretty descent breakdancers layin' it down on the dancefloor.  Everyone around me was having a great time and when they started to play Cimg6547my old school anthems I had a good time too for a bit.  They also had a pretty sick surf movie being looped on a large projector in the background.  Mac was in his element apparently.  I had no
clue that he was such a club go-er.  After swinging on a stripper pole a few times and dancing with streamers he tried his hand at breakdancing with the locals which ended up with him in the hands of a bouncer dragging him off the dance floor.  We all thought this was absolutely hilarious.    When he returned he told me that the dancers were actually PAID TO BE THERE!  How lame is this place??? Anyway, after a little while I took off because I had biking early in the morning with Tiffany on the McKenzie River Trail...   Fun night with good friends and it didn't bother me a bit that I was stone sober! :)


No Drinks till New Years... hopefully...

Well, I woke up today and as usual after I drink too much didn't feel motivated to do anything. That fact combined with the fact that I just crashed my truck and will have a $500 deductible has led me to declare for myself, "NO BEERS TILL NEW YEARS". I spend less than 20 bucks on beer a week which includes the regular Tuesday night at Bombs to chillax and friday and sat night. But because there is free beer in my apartment I've been able to pre-game pretty well before big events like Halloween and the corn maze. Also, the shinanigans I went through at the inital COAS party with the free keg there led to pretty buzzed Jonny Danger. Also... when I'm out having a good time I'm pretty energetic, and rambunctious whether I'm stoned drunk or just slightly buzzed, it's just my nature. But when I crashed my truck and the first thing several of my friends asked me was, "were you drinking" led me to ponder what people think of me here. Yes, I work my ass off 12-14 hours a day on schoolwork, and yes when I party I party hard, but do I want the stigma as a drunken party animal? No I do not. Thus, for myself to save money, and to prove to everyone that I'm not some drunken shit show I'm declaring no beers until New Years. Frankly I think it will be very easy for me seeing I have such very little time anyway. This way I'll prove to everyone that I act the same when out with friends as I do when I'm out with friends drinking. It's just my fun, outgoing personality. But I promise you all one thing.... I'm going to ring in the New Years with bottle of Captain in my hands! hahahahahah!