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November 2006
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January 2007

Happy New Year!- or Not making any New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year. There is something about the beginning of a new year, that makes one think of fresh beginnings and clean slates. I like to think of it as the spring cleaning of the soul. Okay, that is taking it a little far. So Happy New Year and may 2007 be healthy and fun filled!

I have resolved for 2007 NOT to make any New Year's Resolutions...

So here are a few that instantly come to mind:

1. Be better at household chores.
2. Do more road trips.
3. Try and have a better storm chasing season this year. (The last couple of seasons have been pathetic!)
4. Maintain Diet and exercise more.
and lastly
5. Try something new in 2007.

Digging out from Colorado Christmas Blizzard Part 2

We have spent the last couple of days house bound. Today, suffering from a small bout of cabin fever I announced to Kevin that we really needed to go to the Post Office. So I spent about an hour shoveling the front porch access and taking the foot of snow the blanketed my car. I have superb neighbors, who knowing that Kevin was out of action with a fractured knee cap, quietly put their snow blower to use and cleared our drive way access and some access around the one car. Thanks to them most of the snow was cleared away, and all I had to do was clear the snow around our steps, and take the snow off the car.

It is a gorgeous day - beautiful blue sunny skies that light up the snow covered world outside.

The roads are mostly clear of any large drifts - you have to stay away from the edges, and drive where other cars have compacted the snow down. I have finally discovered the joy of the lower gears in an automatic. The really help with torque, and one can almost imagine that one is driving a four wheel drive. (Not!)
Erie's main street is plowed and deiced for the most part, and the post office parking lot is mostly clear, with large snow drifts on the edges.

I have taken photos and will post them in an update.

Colorado Braces for Another Storm

I don't want to be selfish. I don't want to keep all the snow here. I think I'd like it if we could spread it around. Seriously.

The weather forecasts are predicting another round of snow starting tomorrow and lasting until Friday night. Super! Now we get 6 to 12 inches on top of the now frozen snow from last week. Delightful. I so love doing my version of a triple axel on my way from my car to the bus. Of course no one expected us to get back to back snow storms. Otherwise they would have (hint! hint!) cleared the park n rides and bus stops and made life a little bit more accessible.

But I plan to stay put. This was the weekend when Kevin and I would head down to our annual trip to Bosque Del Apache, New Mexico. A combination of factors have conspired against us - the weather for one thing, and the fact that poor Kevin slipped on ice outside our house this morning and broke his knee cap! I spoke with the doctors when we were getting Kevin's knee X-rayed and they said that they were extremely busy with slip and falls. No surprises there.

Steve Goodman Biography due in April 2007

I got an email about a Steve Goodman biography due in April 2007.
Steve Goodman: Facing the Music by Clay Eals

Summary: This is the comprehensive, untold story of a young man whose music uplifted millions from the late 1960s to the early 1980s as he fended off a fatal illness for nearly 16 years. Validating those who believe in music as a life force, this biography will entice a passionate audience of baby boomers and others. The book takes a comprehensive, journalistic look at Steve Goodman’s life and music, exploring his personality and character with details and anecdotes that bring his story alive. It also examines Steve’s encyclopedic and affecting musical catalogue — the classic, Grammy Award-winning “City of New Orleans” and 100 other songs that he wrote, along with hundreds more that he covered, in recordings and in concert. The book will consist of 19 chapters, plus a discography, source list and index, along with scores of photos and illustrations, in color and black-and-white.

Colorado Christmas

You know when a song gets stuck in your head and all you can hear is it? Well in the weeks winding up to Christmas weekend all I can think of is a song about Christmas in Colorado.

I initially thought it was a John Denver song - but after an exhaustive search I couldn't locate the song. Until today while engaging in some housework (an activity I avoid on all but the most special of occasions) I heard it playing on the radio. Quick as a flash the lyrics were googled and the song was found.

Drum roll please....

The song is sung by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, lyrics by Steve Goodman and here are the lyrics:

Colorado Christmas

Looking out the window of this Hollywood hotel,
You’d never know that it was Christmas eve.
The billboards and the neon took the place of silver bells,
And the temperature is 84 degrees.
I can hear the traffic on the crowded strip below
As the palm trees poke their heads above the scene
There’s not a single reindeer and it hardly ever snows,
And Santa drives a Rolls Royce Limosine.

But all along the rockies you can feel it in the air
From Telluride to Boulder down below
The closest thing to heaven on this planet anywhere
Is a quiet Christmas morning in the Colorado snow

I remember christmases when I was just a boy
In the morning I would run to see the tree.
And the carolers on the hillside sang their songs of christmas joy
Well, I always thought they sang them just for me.
Now the sun is setting in the california sky
And I can’t find the spirit anywhere
So I think it’s time for me to tell Los Angeles goodbye
I’m going back home to look for Christmas there

But all along the rockies you can feel it in the air
From Telluride to Boulder down below
The closest thing to heaven on this planet anywhere
Is a quiet christmas morning in the Colorado snow

For more on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band go here. And for more about Steve Goodman go here.

Denver Christmas Blizzard 2006

On Wednesday December 20th, 2006 I got up early, looked outside to determine my strategy. All the news channels and the weather service were predicting a system which would dump a stack of snow in the Denver Metro area. But that morning when I looked outside it had snowed - an inch of light feathery powdery stuff that looked innocent and benign.

I made my decision to go into work.

To be honest, that was the day of our office Christmas party, and I am never one to shy away from a party.

It only really started to snow at about 9 am. My office is located on the 11th floor - so we usually get a bird's eye view of the world outside. What we had at 10am was white out conditions. No problem, we would begin our monthly meeting early and have an early lunch. So while the world outside turned white we celebrated the holidays inside. We even congratulated ourselves that the restaurant we had chosen was so close by to our offices. Then the announcement came - all non essential personnel to please go home.

We finished our lunch, grabbed our coats, wished everyone a safe trip home and then headed down to the Market Street Station to catch the first available bus north to my Park n Ride. This is the line at the Station.


Funny thing about weather - it tends to disrupt bus schedules. We found out to our dismay that the 200 people milling around were all waiting for one bus - the very one that I happened to want. We found what we thought was the end of the line (it snaked around and around) and then we stood and waited, and waited. An hour later the bus arrived. We packed it in, and off it drove. The traffic was heavy, the snow was falling and blowing around. Visibility was terrible. Worst, cars, pick ups and large trucks simply got stuck in the drifts. Snow plows could not keep up, and the stuck cars got in the way of the plows.

Eventually our bus made it to our Park n Ride. Conditions outside were pretty bad - biting cold, blowing snow and poor visibility. We all stumbled to our cars, and tried to get out of the parking lot. There was a lot of blown snow stacked up and in some places it was pretty deep - at least 2 feet deep.

Luckily Kevin and called ahead and had reserved me a room at the La Quinta Motel opposite the Park n Ride. So all I had to do was get my car to the motel. The snow was pretty deep in places, and my car really battled to get out. I eventually made it to La Quinta only to get stuck in a snow drift in the parking lot. I checked in. I then decided that it would be better to see whether I could move my car. So I got the trusty snow shovel out, dug my car out, backed it out without too much trouble, and then dug out another snow drift in order to park my car out of people's way. I then went back into my motel room to collapse and listen to the local channels.


The staff at La Quinta motel were excellent. The Motel was full of stranded people.

I spent Wednesday night, Thursday and Thursday night in that motel. The worst thing (apart from the boredom) is that everything else around us closed down too. No restaurants, no shops were open. Lucky for me I had stuffed myself on Wednesday lunch, because all I had for dinner was vending machine food groups, and breakfast was the usual stodgy motel breakfast.

Fortunately the Village Inn across the parking lot opened for lunch. They were running on a skeleton staff and offered a one item menu: eggs, bacon, hash browns, pancakes and strong coffee. All for $8. I had a 10 minute wait, and the service was excellent. Angels come in many disguises.

Thursday I also did some snow clearing. But the parking lot was a sheet of ice. Four wheel drive cars and pick ups were battling to get out, and people were getting stuck. I decided to stay put. Even if I did get out of this parking lot and onto the highway I still had problems at the other end - like whether the off ramps from the I-25 were adequately plowed for my little car. Also my neighborhood was not yet dug out. So if I left I may end up getting stuck at the other end.

Below is a picture of my car at the parking lot of the Motel.


This is a general shot of the parking area. The snow was about 2 feet deep in some areas.


Here's my car after some strenuous shoveling.


This is Matt from # 220 who helped me out with some shoveling and then borrowed my snow shovel to dig out his car and some other people's cars. Everyone was extremely helpful.


I eventually left the comfort of my motel on Friday morning. It was still pretty icy and snow packed. The I-25 north bound was nicely plowed and cleared. The off ramp were problematic, and I thought I'd get stuck getting home. But thankfully I managed to get home in one piece.

Here are some photos of our house the day after the blizzard.




The snow is definitely going to be sticking around for a while. Road plowing has created huge banks of snow keeping everyone in. Parking lots at shopping centers have huge mounds of snow making finding a parking spot quite difficult. Trucks filled with stock to replenish the shelves got stuck too, so most shops have empty spaces on their shelves.

Today (Saturday) Kevin and I drove around the neighborhood. Out here we have wonderful views of snowy sun lit fields and rising up like some magical thing, the Rockies touch the great blue sky. It doesn't get any better than this.

Blog Carnival review time

I love the History Carnival.

I love this post about research into the Antikythera Mechanism.

The mechanism was found in the early 1900s. It was found when some sailors sheltered from a storm off the island of Antikythera. They went sponge diving, but one of the divers returned to the ship and told the captain of the corpses he’d found on the sea bed. The other divers went to confirm his story and found the wreck of a Roman vessel which sunk in the first century BC. The corpses were bronze and marble statues, some of which can be found in the National Museum of Greece today. Along with these finds were recovered some cogs congealed by rust into lumps.
The device was throughly investigated by Derek de Solla Price and his conclusion was startling. The device may have looked like clockwork, but it was no clock. Instead he argued it was an analogue computer, used for calculating the position of the sun, moon and planets against the celestial sphere.

Very cool.

You have to check out the Tangled Bank blog carnival.

And Last but not least you can't surf the carnivals without at least one stop at the latest Harry Potter Carnival which has the next movie trailer (due for release July 2007.)

Alternative Communication

Advances in communication such as email, blogging, internet forums, text messaging, and chat rooms have created an alternative language. The first that we all become familiar with are emoticons. Wikipedia defines them as

"a sequence of ordinary printable characters, such as ":-)", "^_^", "._.", "XD", "X8", "-_-", "=D", "=P", etc. or a small image, intended to represent a human facial expression and convey an emotion."
According to the entry in Wikipedia, without emoticons simple text could be misinterpreted.
Then there is SMSLanguage. Check on the Wikipedia link here.


hi m8 u k?-sry i 4gt 2 cal u lst nyt-y dnt we go c film 2moz


Hi mate. Are you okay? I am sorry that I forgot to call you last night. Why don't we go and see a film tomorrow?