Archive for February, 2014

Skiing vs. Snowboarding

Monday, February 10th, 2014

I was a downhill skier for many years. I wasn’t great but I did pretty well. I could go fast. I could do some jumps. Not into tricks or racing but I enjoyed myself quite a bit. And then my knees started objecting to the whole skiing thing. So I stopped. Then at some point my son convinced me to try snowboarding. And I did.

It’s fun and my knees do not object nearly as much. I’m a very poor snowboarder. No jumping. No tricks. Not very fast. And don’t even talk to me about Black Diamond trails. My son taught me on a hill around Lake Tahoe. Highly recommended as the snow is nice and soft especially compared to east coast snow. Oh trust me there is a difference.

That first week I kept running into a barrel holding a sign that asked people to move past the sign before stopping. I hit it so many times (turning was an issue) that one time the guy working the lift ran out and moved it out of the way when he saw me coming. He did it with a smile though.

As I learned (and continue to learn) have realized that the snowboarding culture is very different from the skiing culture.  The snowboarding culture is more relaxed. Maybe it is be cause snowboarders can easily stop on the side of the hill, sit down and chat for a while. Once one gets skies on there is pretty much no sitting except on the lift.  But snowboarders can sit. At my age I sit a lot.

The wardrobes are different as well. Snowboarding clothing is looser and less formal. Ski wear may be sexier with formfitting outfits that don’t catch the wind but I don’t do sexy.

Now I do miss skiing. I miss the speed and control that were second nature to me on skies but which I have never mastered on a snowboard. I keep thinking maybe I’ll try it again. I want to ski jump for example. I’m never going to try something like that on a snowboard. Big air and snowboards are not something that is likely to go together for me no matter how cool it looks when Shawn White does it.

I’ve been watching the winter Olympics and the snowboarders just seem like such cool people. They would be fun to hang out with. Probably the skiers would as well but they (the skiers) seem more intense (Bode Miller being a possible exception) and I don’t need intense in my life. The snowboarders just seem so full of joy doing what they do – win or lose! I like that.

Joy is what I am looking for in a sport. I have found some of it in snowboarding and so I’ll keep doing it.

Have you ever?

Friday, February 7th, 2014

I found this list on another blog and it looked interesting so I decided to see which of these things I’d done. About half of them which I think is pretty good.

I have bolded and italicized the things I’ve done.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland

8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar

72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous

92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Easy Coding

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

I’ve been playing around with a toy program just for the fun of it since yesterday. I keep adding little things as I think of them. Sometimes I have to look something up because my memory isn’t always so great but really its all trivial. Its no tour de force by any stretch of the imagination. Its just fun.

While working on that I remembered (amazing how long forgotten things come when short term ones don’t) how occasionally in college I would get frustrated and feel inadequate so would write a simple program just to feel like I could make something work. back them my task of choice was to write a program to print out multiplication tables. Even then that was pretty easy but I know I wrote it a couple of times.

Today I like to think I am creating simple demo programs that I can use with students as either demos or assignments for beginners. And that is true. Mostly. But I am also having fun doing something easy. It relaxes my mind.

Occasionally I miss the days when I worked on hard projects. But I am not ready to go back to coding full-time. For now programming for fun is more rewarding. Well not financially but in most other ways.