Thursday, March 22, 2007

I got back from Whistler, British Columbia last night. I spent a few days snowboarding at Whistler resort I had a great weekend - it was the first time that I was truly snowboarding on a mountain, as opposed to the hills around Wisconsin & Michigan.

The trip didn't start off too well - Continental was telling me that I would have to wait a day because my flight was delayed, I would miss my connection, & there wasn't an alternative route to Vancouver. After lots of frustration, one of the Continental employees at the ticket counter found Northwest flights from Milwaukee -> Minneapolis -> San Francisco -> Vancouver. Needless to say, I arrived in Vancouver a few hours later than I had planned. After that fiasco, the bus ride to Whistler was enjoyable (the views along the highway are gorgeous).

I spent a total of three days snowboarding - the first & the last day were the best, as it was raining on the 2nd day. Once you were above 3,000 ft, the rain turned into wet snow. My snowboard wasn't moving quickly in the wet snow, which acted as a catalyst to several spills. After a few cartwheels, I was generally back on my feet. The difference was that I was more wet, and picked up some bruises along the way.

On the third day, I decided to hike to top of one of the bowls - the hike took about 30 minutes, but was totally worth it. The view from the top was incredible, and there weren't many people around since it wasn't serviced by a chairlift. Most importantly, I found a path down the mountain where I was able to make the first tracks. Snowboarding in a couple feet of powder is incredible - the feeling can be described as floating on air. When I went skydiving, I felt like I was moving in one direction - down. On the snow, it was a feeling of gliding over a surface without any imperfections.

From the top of the bowl:

What I just rode down:

En route, I also read a few books: Einstein's Dreams & The Tipping Point. I would recommend both of them to any interested parties. Einstein's Dreams is a serious of vignettes that have to do with the passage of time. The short stories are unrelated to one another, but I could relate to almost all of the stories through my own experiences. I've never thought about time being so three dimensional, and this book made me think about all of the different facets of time. Tipping Point argues that small, relatively minor changes lead to large effects, often in the context of epidemics (medical, as well as social & economic). It was an interesting take on explaining some phenomena (such as teen smoking, reduction of crime in NYC during the mid-nineties, etc).

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I'm back to civilization! I was in Ladysmith, WI for the week due to work - I couldn't be happier to be home. Ladysmith has about 3000 residents, and little else. The vegetarian diet consisted of the following (in order of lunches/dinners):
  1. carrots, broccoli, and tortilla chips the first day
  2. Subway
  3. the 'best Cesar's salad in town' (I think it was the only one in town)
  4. subway
  5. veggie pizza
  6. veggie pizza
  7. salad

I didn't have any mobile service either. As a co-worker put it 'our third world countries have wireless, but we don't have it in northern Wisconsin!? Is there something wrong with this picture?'.

On the positive side, it was an enjoyable car ride home today. The people were wonderful (as they always are in small towns), and I saw the northern lights! I wish I would have taken a photo, but I wasn't thinking about it at the time. (After a few hours of sleep & 14 hours at work, my brain wasn't functioning optimally.)

When I got home I realized my last food review had been published! Check it out if you're interested:

OK - I need to start going through my stack of mail...

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Environmentally unfriendly meat eaters?

I've been seeing more of these types of studies pop up. This one is from the U of Chicago. Anyone that is hardcore about being environmentally friendly should read this. It's been a fact (since I converted to a vegetarian diet) that 13 lbs. of grain will only result in 1 lb. of beef, but this study analyzes the carbon emissions given off by a 'normal' American diet vs. an ovo-lacto (one that consumes dairy projects & eggs) vegetarian diet.

There is a lot of data in here, but the findings are rather remarkable. As with any study, they make a few assumptions, but they seem to take an unbiased view of results.

WARNING: Before reading this article, get your pocket protector & tape for your glasses. It takes a bit of stamina to get through this.