Saw Orion for the first time this season.  It’s my “ski constellation” because it’s most easily seen during the winter months. 

Around 11pm I went out to check the cloud cover and visibility in anticipation of the Leonid meteor shower.  Leo rises in the east (actually, everything rises in the east) and while looking that way I spotted my old friend Orion.

Most years I spot it first during early October, but this year it’s halfway through November before I saw it.  Not sure why this year was so late and am hoping it’s not because I spend less time looking at the stars – but I think it is.

Got up at 3am to go looking for Leonids.  Sky was perfectly clear and I stood there tired and cold for about 5min and spotted 2 Leonids.  I told the kids about it in the morning, and they asked why I didn’t wake them up – and I reminded them that there we’re only 2 in 5 min and that if it was more I would have got everyone up.

My daughter asked me what I wished for – and I admitted I totally forgot.  That gave me the idea that the next time there’s a meteor shower to wake them up for, I’ll remind them of all the wishes they get to make – which is a part of a meteor shower I never thought about until now.


Safety Whistle Necklace

Just in time for the family ski-vaca I finally got around to crafting some lanyards for the safety whistles I bought a few months ago.  The kids are under 10 and we’ll be skiing in bounds the whole time – but it was a fun project and if I get them to wear them every time they ski and hike it might make a difference some day.

Wind Storm Whistle, purchased from Campmore
2 meters of Cord per Lanyard: MINOR Cord, 3mm I bought a 15M roll from EMS

The Knots:
Sizeable Necklace Knot

Boatswains Knot

The boatswains knot is purely decorative. I suppose it holds the whistle at the midway point which might be handy, but the main reason I use it is because it’s exactly what the knot was designed for.

The sizeable necklace knots work pretty well, and allowed me to make 4 identical lanyards that’ll fit both the wife and I as well as the kids.  I’m not sure what the name of this knot is though.  I think it’s fashioned after a noose – which is not a good image to have making something that’s going around your neck.  If anyone has any advice on a better knot or technique to use here I’d love to hear it.

Oh yeah – pix:

A completed whistle and lanyard


The sizeable knots


The Boatswains decorative knot


License Plates I want

The DMV in NH has a website where you can check if a combination of letters, numbers and -, +, & are available for a license plate.  Over the years I’ve found a few that I’d consider getting, here’s a list I can remember right now:

SOX09, SOX2009, 2009SOX : These won’t last

SOXTUX, TUXSOX, SOX+TUX, TUX+SOX : Gotta get a “Tux” bumper sticker back on the jeep – and this’ll make the plate match the big Red Sox logo on the back of the jeep.

TRSKIEE : It’s the word “Ski” inside “Tree” – aka Ski in the Trees

P-K3 : My standard opening chess move, sets up for the fools mate.

YANKS04 : A nod to the team that choked and let the Sox go on to the 2004 World Series Victory.  Never gonna park in NYC with this one.

LOSTSOX: A group of Red Sox friends who help each other get tickets and enjoy games together at fenway is called “The Lost Nation.”  This is the smallest version of that name I could come up with.

CODE4U : A nod to my avocation – and one I used to see all the time commuting down to Boston.

FF0000: The hex code for RED, would look good on a Red jeep.

If you have any other suggestions, check the website to see if it’s available.  You’d be surprised how many license plates you thought were such an original idea are already taken.

ASDFGHJ: This would be good for someone in a QA department.

QWERTY: Same theme – not quite as funny some how.

Ski Rack Project

I’ve had a hard time keeping the skis organized over the years – and it’s only getting worse with the kids acquiring equipment now.  My friend Bob had this rack setup, and it looked like it worked well.

skiRack This is the 2nd attempt – the first try I had bought a pretty crappy 2×10 and it was split pretty much down the middle so it fell apart as I made the cuts.

On the 2nd try I was able to build the whole thing in under 2 hours.  The real key was some clever geometry that made the measuring go fast.

In it’s current configuration it holds 8 pairs of skis and 8 sets of poles, only a couple of the slots are holding more than a single pair of anything.

The wood from the first attempt was used for the cross members.

I did some measuring of our skis to see how tall the bindings were and the smallest skis (from where they’d be resting in the slots)  and the largest bindings to determine the dimensions.  Because of this I won’t even post the measurements as you should repeat the exercise for your gear.

Here’s a Sketch-Up 3D model of the rack.

Skiing with the Girl at Pat’s peak

Running out of chances to take the Girl to her skiing lesson at Pat’s peak, so I jumped at the opportunity when it came (of course all sorts of problems came up at work, but it was totally worth it) – we had an absolute blast. She told me about her day at school on the drive there, commented on how she loved riding in the jeep and her friends were jealous. When we got there it was a bit of mayhem getting all the right stuff to the lodge – I forgot her ski pants in her school bag.

Skiing was splendid, just right for a little girl. All groomed. Was having so much fun we were late for her lesson and with another girl had to be shepherding to where their group was. They went to the top of the mountain for the first time. I then had some time to take about 2 runs before her lesson was over.

Her hands were too cold to do any more skiing after the lesson, so we went to the restauraunt area and got some food while I helped her a bit with her homework – but the only help she needed was to be told to stop looking at the TV.

Drive home was another great father-daughter talking opportunity, and fun bumpy ride getting out of the parking lot in the Jeep.

X/C Skiing for the year

I typically cross country ski almost exactly once a year, and this year I guess today was the day.  Put the running shoes on,  stretched, fired up the iPod+Nike device and got out there only to find all the roads very slippery.  I was hoping the busier roads would have pavement, but alas – only the very crunchy ice was fun to run on.  So I turned around and ran back home – probably 1/4 mile round trip running.

Put on the X/C’s and walked about 200 yards to the beginning of a trail I thought would be good and stepped in.  I told the iPod to “continue workout” thinking it’d be interesting to see how the pedometer functioned on a x/c stride vs. a running stride.  It took me a couple seconds to remember that the little device that makes it all happen is inside my running shoe – so that experiment failed.  So it was skiing with the TWiT podcast, and that was fine.