Friday, December 28, 2007

Home for the Holidays

Been back home in New York for some nice time with the family.
The weather has been super mild - sometimes it feels like April or even May in Alaska...
Some photos are in order!
Time with family, both young and old

New NRS waterproof balaclava's (for frigid packrafting) yes my mom is a gear nut also...

Lots of baking...

As usual, we've had to keep our eye on Laura...

Today we drove south and went to the Bronx Zoo!

Snow Leopard, meow:

Big meow!

Snap snap!


Everything was going well, we were enjoying the day, the weather was nice, the animals were out, when out of nowhere mom was taken out by a gigantic red fox!!

Then Laura was slain by a huge hawk! ohh the terror!!

Showdown time - It was up to me to go head to head with the menacing T-REX!!

oh the suspense and action!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Go Mom!

Proud of ya!


Pretty Cool stuff..

At first glance it looks like some guys got bored in the urban environment and started getting creative, but a quick view at the wiki :

gives a detailed history of the art of moving as efficiently as possible from one place to the next.

Now if only I had ankles like this guy I'd be set!
Good stuff on youtube as well..

Saturday, December 15, 2007


And my sister kinda wins with her wishy washy answer.
The prize is...

me coming home for Christmas! hooray!

Thanks to the whopping three of you who guessed!

what else... a day of sewing. Finally finished poggies for Dave B and MC.

too many new designs in my head...

Friday, December 14, 2007


Ok, lets liven things up a bit.
Who can name the mountain in the background of this photo?

Come on, it dosent hurt to guess....

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

you know you're in for a good time when..

you see this.

Its official - I want to go snowboarding.

photo- Mike Meekins's super cub en route to the Scandinavian peaks

Monday, December 10, 2007

studs and breakdowns

Got out and rode for about 45 minutes today, that might not seem like alot but when you really haven ridden in a few months it sure means alot. No pain, just stiff. I was pretty giddy getting part of my identity back...

then was cranking away on ms. Juki in the afternoon when I guess I did something stupid and something jammed in the bobbin area really bad and bent a part, bummer, hope its not expensive... was hoping to bike to work but looks like I'll be driving and lugging a 70lb sewing machine head to the repair shop.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Getting there

Well I can bend my knee past 90 degrees so thats good. Starting to be a little more liberal with it on the stairs and stuff.
I got ready this evening by getting my bike back into winter commuting mode. Bought some new 2.1 29er studs, mounted them on snowcats and onto the monkey. She's looking sharp.. I cant wait.

Its just in time because I'm starting to burn out on swimming, 3 straight months 4-5x a week will do it to you. However I've been thinking of starting to do triathalons this next summer, that would be funny.. indeed

Otherwise just been sewing a ton, bags and poggies. Its been fun dialing in the poggies after a few trial runs. I'm psyched to get this first batch done.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Time Lapse stuff

I took up creating time lapse videos last year about this time. Its super fun when you actually get something that looks visually cool. There are two ways to go about it - first, you can set up a video camera on a tripod, hit record and come back in an hour when the tape is full. This method isnt soo good because you can only catch one hour of the scene unless you are there to change the tape. It is also very computer intensive since you have to capture all that video, then speed it up in post software. Did I mention it can eat up hard drive space? typically an hour of video will yield about 15 seconds or less of well speed up time lapse footage - not so good for all that work!

The second preferable method is setting up a digital camera with a timer. This can be an external timer, or a built in intervelometer function in the camera. Most digital SLR's have this now, but very few, if not any of the current point and shoots offer a control connection. Ebay is your friend for older the older nikon coolpix series, remember the viewfinder? I miss them too...

Anyway the collection I've accumulated is split about 50/50 between video and stills. The stills offer more control since you capture higher resolution images, then can pan and crop in video software with any loss in resolution. Since normal video starts at this resolution level, any panning and cropping will loose resolution.

You kinda have to go about the whole thing not expecting to get anything. lots of trial and error, half the time my batteries die, the timer screws up, I screw up or there was a smudge on the lens.. but once in a while good things happen, very good things.

So here is a little mix of some of the better clips from the last year. most of these are in the other vids on youtube. fun stuff

The Buzz

Everyone seems to be getting amped for the winter races up here, and for good reason. Although I've only done the race to McGrath once, I sure learned alot during that year of prep and training that went into it. Having alot of cold weather experience going into it helped, but the reality still holds true that its one of the hardest races period.

The fun training weekends with friends..

The weekday gear testing rides during -20 January cold snaps..

The bueatiful mornings after solo bivys...

The carefull, or not so carefull, food packing...

Then finally you just want to get going and get the adventure started

The race starts and reality sets in...

There are the highs... like bivying on top of rainy pass watching the northern lights..

and the lows...

But in the end, long after the race is over, you still will find your mind focusing on how you are going to get back to that to that small village on the river in the middle of interior Alaska.

Tis the season.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

My Mom is a Diva!

Its not on the website yet, but my Mom won the Mountain Hardware Diva contest!

Beating out many attractive young outdoorsy ladies half her age!
Go mom! you rule!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Pack Desigs

I've been kicking around a packraft specific pack design for a few months. Now that I'm a gimp I can put the time into making a prototype.
My tick list:
-Modular and adaptable drybag harness style pack
-able to handle loads up to 60lbs
-Removable hip belt.
-Removable frame sheet / bivy pad
-2 1/2 lbs normal, 1 1/2 lbs stripped
-very, very non water absorbant
-bushwack protection

what is out there now:
The WX tex pack - this seemed to be a cool packrafting pack, but its one compartment design with 4 buckles to open the top proved cumbersome. Also the pack lacks any points to strap stuff to the outside.

Next up is the NRS Paragon - This is a cheap solution for kayakers to carry heavy dry bags, or their boat on portages. Its simple, but lacks much shape and I've heard from friends that it can be not so comfey..

Next up was the Ula pack made for the arctic 1000 trip. This seemed to be a good solution, and Ula made a bunch for sale afterwards. The production pack however left a bit to be desired in my book in that the shoulder straps attach to the weak tabs at the bottom of the WXtex dry bags. I've ripped a few of these corners out through normal use, not even using it as part of my back pack. Also, not much protection for the dry bag on bushwacks... seemed expensive too.

So I started the hip belt for a prototype last night... the design I'm working on is closest to the Ula of the three, with more mesh, different suspension and different features all together. Here is the start, pockets upsized from last years ski pack:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

About 7 years ago I was totally obsessed with baking. I learned as much as I could to make these bueatiful artesian loafs of bread you find at the fancy places. Getting books on french baking from the library, I went through alot of flour back then and thrashed many a kitchen...

I dont bake much anymore, but it still comes in handy for times like tomorrow..

yumm - people that say you can't live off bread alone are lying!

oh and knee surgery went well. I was really nervous going into it, like "do I really need to do this?" The Anesthisia sucked, a night of puking, but I'm getting back into the swing of things. Had my post-op today and my doc said he resectioned one nasty plica with a load of scar tissue right at my medial femoral condyle. I was planning on posting the digital images from the orthoscopy but this will have to do:

I'm stoaked, its what we were hoping for then, good cartlidge, no real chondromalacia. Should be back at it in a month or so as I get into recovery mode. At least its raining and I'm not tormented by great snow conditions...

Sunday, November 18, 2007


So the WFR course is done, Pretty awesome - highly recommend it for anyone that does practically anything outside. There were countless times during the course that I was like - "shit I wish I knew that when that happened..." Head injuries, spinal assessments, shock, Epi, the list goes on. The scenarios were pretty amazing, some of the group would be "patients" and the rest would be responders. The first was the most intense, car wreck with no seatbelts, combined with a violent drunk and a sledding accident - all at the same time in the ER nature center parking lot. I ended up with the severe brain & spine injury and got puked on with a granola tuna mixture. Chaos, smoke bomb under the car, 10 degree temps in the snow at night.. couldent get more real.

Anyway to keep with the busy streak I'm getting long awaited knee surgery tomorrow. This has been seven years in the making when I first injured it during the 2000 Montezumas revenge in Colorado, then finally really inflamed it during the 2005 Alaska Ultra Sport Race to McGrath, Just hasent been the same since and has progressivly been getting worse despite my attempts at becoming a world class swimmer in the APU campus pool. So I'm pretty nervous since everyone has been guessing at what's wrong and the Doc. is about 70% sure its this one thing. So a tad bit exploratory / diagnostic as well. But thats fine.. I can spend the next month or two recovering from surgery, or just doing the same limiting crap I've been doing. So this is a good thing (at least I'm trying to convince myself that). Wish me luck, I'm kinda just going for it, hoping for the best.

Sooo with a few days off work this week I should be able to catch up on sewing projects - a few Frame bags, and a Poggie design that has been revolving around my brain for wayyy tooo long now. Need to get it out.. here are the raw materials along with my old one.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Been taking an intensive wilderness first responder course out by the Eagle River Nature Center for the past 3 days. No phone, no internet. really nice. The class is intense but the 12hrs days go pretty quick. Over a foot of fresh poweder fell on saturday and sunday and I went for some pretty fun nighttime runs on the trail to Echo bend.. yes runs. I actually went running.
Going to be a busy week as now I'm working and taking the class at night. I dont envision much sleep...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

2 years ago

There is something about remembering the day you went to the airport to embark on a big trip.

The excitement, the anticipation, the knowing that the clothes you are wearing are going to be the only ones for many months.

maybe its time to get out the maps again...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A very sad post

Jasper the Linus passed away yesterday - he leaves his family that loved him dearly behind.

He was a very sweet and loving cat that lived the dream life for a cat. Lini was much more than that though, he was a friend, child and source of comfort for my sister who struggles with chronic Lymes disease. With my Sister's love, creativity and humor he was a personality, a voice, and was an infinite source humor.
He will be missed dearly.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Well its not quite Haloween yet, but we threw a rager of a Going away party for Shelley last night. The carpet may never be the same after the 1am cake fight but the pickle tossing and apple bobbing were world class...