Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fall



The winds are picking up. In the morning there's frost on the ground. Squirrels are going nuts. I can tell winter is on it's way. In some places, winter has already begun. We've had snow, it's still plastered on the mountain tops. Normally at this time of the year, I'd be checking my gear and making sure everything is ready to go. This year, not so much. With my knee injury being only four months out from my last surgery, I'll make the best of this season without busying my mind with upcoming snow storms.

The picture above is a view from my deck. When I come home at night, the moon shines through these trees and lights up my whole living room. It's "magical" as my roommate Nikki would put it. This is our fourth week in the house. After twenty-two years living in Squaw, I've moved to Tahoe City. Squaw is a quick eight minutes away, but it seems like a big move.



One thing I like about fall time is carving pumpkins. Nikki and I have been on a mission to get the seeds out to bake them. The carving part is just extra fun in the making of pumpkin seeds. It's also time to put the bulbs in the ground. I haven't gotten there yet, been too busy studying for mid-terms and working on my knee. Hopefully I'll get them in there before there's snow on the ground.



My other favorite thing about the fall time is soup! Here is my first attempt at chicken noodle soup. I think it came out pretty good, but I still have some tweaking to do. I actually forgot the noodles until I was ready to eat, sometimes I just get too excited.

So far, my favorite fall soup is butternut squash soup garnished with roasted corn. Cooking in season brings a refreshing change of veggies and fruits. Squash is one of my favorites!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Win all my gear!!



Thanks to Porters for putting on this contest. It's simple and there are sweet prizes. Go to Porterstahoe.com to win the following:

Pair of K2 Missdemeanors
Women’s Orage jacket
Women’s Orage pants
Pair of Scott goggles
Set of Scott poles
Pair of Nike 6.0 shoes
Pair of Dakine gloves
One Dakine backpack
Set of Skullcandy headphones
Pair of Eesa socks

Thank you Porters!!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

2010 Powder Readers Choice!



2010 Powder Readers Choice is up and taking votes. Click HERE to count your vote. Hope you vote for yours truly. If you are questioning who to vote for in the men's category...Sean Pettit had a stellar performance in this years MSP video In Deep.



And here's little Halloween me. According to the date, I'm only two in this photo...at the time I would have told you two and a half.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Book in Review: Three Cups of Tea One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time



Fighting Terrorism With Education

The first time I read the book Three Cups of Tea One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time, a fellow climber handed it to me. He was raving about this guy, Greg Mortenson, and how amazing he was. I assumed that he was some sort of a renowned climber and had accomplished something extraordinary. When I made the first crease in the paperback book, I was hooked instantly upon reading of his failed attempt to summit the world’s second tallest peak, K2. Little did I know the half of it.



Dazed and confused from lack of sleep and food, Mortenson hiked down the Baltoro, a sixty-two-kilometer-long glacier at the base of K2. He stumbled into the small tribal village of Korphe where the nurmadhar, or chief Haji Ali took him into his home, gave him butter tea, and cared for him until his strength returned. Upon waking, Mortenson noticed how little these people lived with, how everything in their home had a purpose and a use. “We breathed an air of utter satisfaction, of eternal peace. All this gives rise to a question. Isn’t it better to live in ignorance of everything-asphalt and macadam, vehicles, telephones, television-to live in bliss without knowing it?” Mortenson, as a house guest, took the their ways quite well considering the circumstances, but when he asked to see their school, he was distraught at the conditions these children were enduring for their education. “I will build a school, I promise” were the words Greg left this village with.

As he traveled home, the weight of his promise seemed all too heavy. Dedicating much of his free time, money, and energy into keeping his word, Mortenson followed through and forever changed the course of his life. Thus, the epic tale of his mission unfolds in this promising non-fiction story. Mortenson’s life slowly develops into a lengthy journey of helping children in far away lands such as Afghanistan and Pakistan. As an American, my thoughts of these places were certainly jaded by news reports, but this book has diminished many of my personal assumptions.

David Oliver Relin, the co-author, does a good job of accompanying the facts with engaging stories of triumph and error. The book is filled with history and Relin bounces back and forth between Mortenson’s chaotic life in Pakistan and America. Personally, I enjoyed this aspect of his writing. It kept curious thoughts of what was to come lingering in my head. I’ve seen Mortenson speak and this scrambled style of writing is suiting to the way this amazing humanitarian articulates in person. It’s apparent that Mortenson operates on his own orbital plane addressing the thoughts that come to his mind in such an order that some may find unorganized. I felt as though Relin portrayed Mortenson’s character incredibly accurate.

After reading this book, I gained a much better knowledge of the events on 9/11 and the Middle East. With Mortenson’s personal experience in Pakistan and Afghanistan, spending much of his time with village mullahs, religious leaders, and even members of the Taliban, he had created a relationship with this country that few individuals can relate to. He understands their culture: the way the go about business, war, and life. Relin described the scene of reporting on the rooftop of the Marriot that ensued after the events of 9/11 as a “circus.” “It’s pitiful,” said Canadian journalist, Kathy Gannon. “Green reporters who know nothing about the region stand up on the roof in flak jackets and act like their backdrop of the Margala Hills is some kind of war zone instead of a place to take the kids on weekends. Most of them don’t want to get anywhere near the border and are running stories without checking them out.” Given his experience and knowledge of exactly what these reporters were covering, I would have appreciated Mortenson’s views of the root cause of terrorism to have been more widely reported on in America. Instead, they brushed him off and didn’t give him the time of day to convey his opinion in regards to the confrontation. Thus, I am thankful for the dialog in regards to the war from a different perspective coming from this book.



I was thoroughly entertained throughout Three Cups of Tea. Having known little to nothing about Greg Mortenson when I picked this book up, I closed it with a depth of knowledge larger than one man’s work to build schools. Covering 9/11 and the terror-stricken nations of Pakistan and Afghanistan, I am much more attune to the cause and ongoing conflict in the world today. Greg Mortenson is a teacher in many ways and this brilliant characteristic shines throughout his story.

With the theme of the book being a biographical tale of Mortenson and his effort to build schools for under educated girls and boys, the meaning runs deeper into political and religious issues. Syed Abbas, a religious leader that aided Greg along the way, elegantly asks “America to look into our hearts and see that the great majority of us are not terrorists, but good and simple people. Our land is stricken with poverty because we are without education. But today, another candle of knowledge has been lit. In the name of Allah the Almighty, may it light out way out of the darkness we find ourselves in.”

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pink Chase 2009

The second ever Pink Chase takes place at Keystone on December 12th! We're currently trying to raise money for Breast Cancer. The event details are below. The link to support this cause: Pink Chase!

This fundraiser offers women of all ages and disciplines: the opportunity to be involved in an all women's snow event, make a difference by fundraising for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), and have a ton of fun skiing and riding with the K2 Alliance, their friends and other women teams for a day!

On December 12th, 2009 at Keystone Resort, CO, teams of 3 women will compete against each other by trying to ski the most vertical feet. On event day, each team will receive a mountain package that includes: vertical data of each run, checkpoints around the mountain that earn teams’ additional vertical bonus, and tally sheets to record their vertical acquired. Teams must determine the best approach with the access of several lifts, multiple trails, and the assortment of checkpoints around the mountain. Teams are encouraged to dress up, or accessorize in pink. Off the mountain, teams are encouraged to fundraise for the cause up till a day before the event. For more info and to register, click on the register here button and get involved today!

Registration closes December 5th, 2009 at midnight local time (MST), so be sure to register early (for the early bird discount) and begin fundraising to be eligible for some amazing prizes such as Keystone Ski packages, K2 skis, K2 Snowboards, Smith optics, ski clothing, and much more!



Sunday, October 18, 2009

Off Road Driving Academy



Last week, I had the pleasure of joining Emily Miller (pictured above) and a bunch of extraordinary women in Emily and Rod Hall's off road driving academy.



Emily, most recently won her first race from Vegas to Reno. It took a total of three days. She took down some trophy trucks in the race to the finish in the H3 pictured above.



The interior of the H3 is completely custom to Emily's petite size (she's a bit smaller than me). My favorite part of the day was doing the hot lap with Emily. We rallied through the desert, jumped the Hummer a couple of times, and I was blown away the entire time. So much fun!



We did a ton of useful drills. Rod Hall, the legend himself, and Emily were our coaches. Rod Hall started racing in the 50s and has the longest unbroken string of race victories in off-road racing history with 35 total.



Wendy Fisher was there safely guiding her partner around the cone symbolizing a rock.



We drove the H3 and this ford explorer. The H3 was my choice vehicle in every situation, but the Ford was pretty fun to play with too.



We got dirty.



And some wild mustangs even came out to play.

Mic Check









Saturday, October 17, 2009

Community Garden



I came across this garden in the heart of Seattle. Amongst tall buildings and apartment houses, a community garden welcomed the nonchalant passer-by such as myself.



There were veggies, fruit, and composting with an open door to the public.



It made me smile.

Toad Hunting



On our last night in Florida we went toad hunting. They were everywhere on the golf course. We were warned not to lick the toads back because it might have a similar effect as mushrooms. Coming from California, I have never heard of such a thing. I'm glad I didn't kiss any toads in hopes of finding my prince.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Montreal



For my English class; I had to write a personal essay. After having my peers in class review my essay time and time again. I've finally made the final draft. I enjoyed writing this essay, but am curious to know what I can improve on. As of late, I've been admiring Mike Berard's Blog and his writing ability. It seems like most of the blogs that I follow are comprised of mainly photos from cell phones and tiny bit and pieces from daily life. Mike's blog just sticks out to me as being something of quality. When he writes something new, I am excited to read it and it's the first link I check out from google reader. And so...with my limited writing knowledge, I present to you my personal essay that I have to turn in today and my attempt to actually write something on this blog of mine, titled City Visit.

From high above, the lights seem to span until the end of the world. We’ve just punctured through the clouds and our view has come to life. The turbulence seems appropriate, a little wake up shake before touching down into the hustle of the city below, Montreal. As I wait for the plane to taxi on the runway, I start to get excited. A world that I rarely ever see awaits me beyond the cramped seating space of this United Airlines flight. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the city life, I feel a certain anxiousness to have left Tahoe behind. It is not by choice that I am traveling, but an obligation for business. Nonetheless, it will be a change of pace from my busy life in Tahoe.

Walking out of the airport in Montreal, I realize that I am underdressed. Most of the women around me stand a few inches higher with the help of their high heels. The men act as if they are late for an appointment and I think to myself that their nice flashy ties are too tight around their necks. No one seems to notice my attire of faded blue jeans, dirty sneakers, and a hoodie, but unquestionably I stand out amongst these fancy dressed city dwellers. It would certainly be appropriate in Tahoe City, casual as it is.

I see my name on a sign a driver is holding. He takes my luggage and walks too fast for my injured pace. My knee is already feeling swollen from the long day of traveling; the aches and pains from surgery are still noticeable. We pull away from the Montreal International Airport and I feel like I’m in the backseat of a racecar, weaving through traffic, racing the lights, and narrowly missing the guardrails. My body tightens in discomfort, but secretly I enjoy the ride and wonder why we are in such a hurry. I realize that we are not in a hurry; this is just the way he drives.

Walking the streets of Montreal seems like pinball at times. My shoulders constantly brush those of strangers. There are so many people walking all over the place; I have the sense of being lost. While I try to concentrate on avoiding the bodies coming towards me in a continuous flow, my eyes flicker from the guitar and drum entertainment on the sidewalk to the chic businesswoman walking straight towards me on her phone. I step aside and let her pass. She looks in a hurry and I am just a tourist in awe. I find myself walking into stores to escape the crowded street. I have no intention of purchasing anything, but I need some space. I meander around the stores until a sales woman rushes to my side. She is like a billboard on the street, always selling something. I realize that the space I am looking for will not be found in these stores. Stepping outside again, the concrete streets are overpopulated and the tall buildings are dwarfing. I feel claustrophobic.

After three days in the city I notice that I am tense. Being surrounded by buildings and people is draining my body of its energy. My mind is jumbled with images of mirrored windows and crowded cross walks. My mood shifts and I have the need to be outside, but outside in the city doesn’t seem to help this urge that I have. My eyes are drawn to the suits and their cell phones pinned to their ears. I can’t escape, mentally or physically, the spotlights swimming in the sky and the confines of these tall dark structures. My hotel room seems like a cage and I am a bird with clipped wings.

Pacing through the hotel, with my book in hand, I see the pool area. There are people reading, swimming and a beautiful waterfall trickling into the pool. The second I shut the door into this space; I seem a world away from the city below. This pool, high above the streets and pedestrians, is anywhere I want it to be. Closing my eyes I envision a far away land in Hawaii where the water flows naturally, pooling after it splashes against the rocks. As I sit down I feel my body ease and my mind relax. It’s as if a tremendous weight has been lifted off my shoulders and the thoughts that were bouncing around in my mind in the form of a messy spider web are cleared like dusty cobwebs. It’s strange to notice my instant mood change, but impossible not to. The energy of the space feels so different, so serene; it’s just what I need.

I unfold my book and take a deep breath as if the fresh air is limited. My lungs expand more than they have since I’ve been here; they too have been feeling cramped. Closing my eyes, I hear only water and the occasional splash from a swimmer. I think of the distant world below and smile at the silence. It seems so far away now. Here in this bubble of nature, plants and little tiny animals are alive and living in harmony together. The people below seem to be living out of sync with each other, caught in their ways and trapped in an everyday stale routine. I grin as I sit and observe this magnificent oasis that is connected to one of the tall dark buildings sitting amongst the city.

A bug lands on the page and it is the first bug that I have seen since arriving here, or perhaps the first bug that I have noticed. Looking around I begin to observe details that I have been missing; the few birds resting on the railing, the life in the plants that don’t grow in Tahoe, the smiles on peoples faces, and the sun splintering through the clouds above. It is then that I realize a constant that I need in my life, that being the silence and stillness of nature. And so I sit, silent and still.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

AMG Driving Academy



I recently went to West Palm Beach, FL for a three day AMG academy. I was joined by Kristi, Channel, Jamie, and Claire. It was good times. If you're into cars...the line up consisted of the E63, C63, SLK55, and SL63 to name a few.



We had the keys to cars that were so new they didn't even have price tags yet. At the end of the day the tires would need changing, the engine would be over heating, and the breaks would be smelly. We'd hop in the same cars the very next day as good as new. Big thanks to the mechanics on hand.



Shannon Bahrke won one of the autocross races. Here she is with our new friend Ashley, an aspiring racer.



Gettin' ready to go fast.



Our helmets were super sweet.



I kinda want an AMG now.





Fresh engine under the hood.



Out on the big track...got up to 140 mph on the back straight away, but it didn't feel that fast in these nice cars.



All the girls in front of the wagon with some of the mechanics.



Jamie stoked she's a better driver, not stoked on her car at home.



This was after the autocross race. Hunter Schleper took the gold and was right behind Tommy Kendal.



Black Series...can't buy these yet.



Kristi the superstar posing with the winners helmet.

I haven't been behind the wheel since class and I'm kinda happy that I have a truck at home!