Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Downieville Downhill!

I just spent a day riding the famed Downieville Downhill with good friends. Below are a handful of videos from my V.I.O POV1 helmet cam.


Ashley, John, and Rob on the Sunrise Trail:

David on the Third Divide Trail (camera work by Rob Becker):

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Another great t-shirt

Granted, this is a take off on the "Somewhere in Texas a village is missing it's idiot" t-shirt about George W. Bush, but I just had to chuckle when I saw this anti-Palin t-shirt. You can buy it here . And for those who don't know what a Theocrat is, it's a person who believes in a theocracy which is "a government ruled by or subject to religious authority." (from www.thefreedictionary.com)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Assaf Lotan - cancer survivor

I just saw a video posted by a high school buddy of mine, Assaf Lotan, who is now a fellow cancer survivor. He gave a great speech at a "Survivor Day" at Cedars - Saini, and I wanted to share it via my blog. We often hear about Lance Armstrong and other famous people with amazing stories, but we don't hear as much about the regular people who had the same disease, survive with the support of their friends and family, and have their own inspiring stories & lives. Assaf does a great job of telling his story.

Here's his video:

As a side note, I'm the high school friend he mentions who survived colon cancer. Gotta love the shout out.

New Favorite Environmental T-Shirt

I think I have new favorite t-shirt. It makes so many great statements at once! Environmental, transportation, political... and personal.

You can order them from Widgethouse.com via CafePress.

In the mean time, I'm off to pass gas... er, um, I mean, ride my bike to work.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Leadville Trail 100 - Lance vs. Dave Weins

I think I have a new favorite video site! superhumanmag.com. They have a great 8 minute video covering the 2008 Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race, in which Dave Weins edged out Lance by 2 minutes, setting a new course record of 6hr 45min, breaking the prior record by 15 minutes.

Here's the site & video:

Apparently around mile 45 or 50 Lance dropped the hammer and blew apart the group for 6 or 8 that made up the lead pack. Weins was able to go with him and the two of them worked together for the rest of the race. There are a few sections of trail, namely the "powerlines" climb that just about everyone, including Dave Weins, walks. When they were at the bottom of it, Lance asked if they were going to walk or ride. Dave said walk, and Lance said ride. So they rode it. Very impressive. But what I think is most impressive is that Lance was able to make up ground on Dave on the descents. Dave Weins is a former mountain bike world champion, and Lance is not know for his mountain biking skills, until now. Apparently Dave wasn't taking any chances, as he didn't want to flat, and Lance was willing to hang it all out.

Enjoy the video, and I hope you see you and Lance on the Leadville start-line in years to come, assuming I can get in via the lottery.

Monday, August 11, 2008

UPS.com rocks

Maybe it's that I'm just easy to please, but I've gotta say, I'm very impressed with UPS.com. One of my co-workers told me that shipping via the USPS was less expensive, but after trying to navigate their site, which isn't nearly as user friendly, I decided to head back to UPS.com. In fact, I had filled out all of the UPS forms, then closed the window figuring I'd use USPS.com, but after trying to do what I wanted with USPS.com and not getting exactly what I wanted, I went back to UPS.com. I was frustrated thinking that I was going to have to re-enter the shipping info a 3rd time, but when I click on Create-A-Shipment it asked me if I wanted to continue with the last shipment that I had started. Awesome. A few clicks later and I was printing out the label to tape to the box. Better yet, you don't even have to schedule a pick-up. You can hand a package with a printed UPS label to any UPS driver. Pretty convenient if you ask me! So if I'm in the shipping store, I go with USPS since it's usually cheapest, but if I'm shipping from home or the office, I definitely go with UPS.com.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Camp Hollywood Swing Dancing Camp in LA

I just got back from a fantastic weekend of swing dancing in LA at Camp Hollywood. It's a 3 day camp with 4 hours of instruction a day, several competitions & exhibition dances, and dancing 'till all hours of the morning with some of the best swing bands in the country! This is the 3rd year I've gone, and wow is it ever fun! Below is a compilation video of most of the moves we learned in the Advanced and Masters track classes. (they break up classes by Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Masters)

As you can see, this year was heavy on Balboa, Charleston, and Air Steps aka Aerials. And WOW was it ever fun. The instructors come from all of the country, and even all over the world. If you've ever watched a Lindy Hop video on line (like Kevin & Carla's dance to Benny Goodman's Bei mir bist du schoen) and wondered if you could learn from them, you can, and you can do it at Camp Hollywood!

Kevin is now dancing with a new partner, Emily, and in their Master's class they taught us several moves from their current performance routine. It was awesome! However, I have a long way to go before I dance with his style.

I even got to dance to one of my two favorite bands, Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five. My other favorite band is Stompy Jones, but I get to dance to them every Tuesday and Thursday night in San Francisco, so we didn't stick around for their Sunday performance.

And here's a video of what we learned last year. As you can see, LOTS of good moves being taught at Camp Hollywood:

I hope to see many more of you there next year!

Swing out! Swing waaaaayyyy out!

PS. If you're looking for swing dancing shoes, I wrote a Hub about it. Check it out! http://hubpages.com/hub/Swing_Dance_Shoes
I also have a Hub or two about Where to dance in San Francisco.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Whistler Mountain Bike Park

I just returned from 3 days at Whistler's mountain bike park and it was AMAZING! I couldn't recommend it more. I went there as a cross country racer (think spandex, shaved legs, light weight bike (23 lbs) and by the end of the 3 days I was riding a 45 pound downhill bike, wearing full body armor, a full face helmet, dropping off rocks higher than I am tall, and launching table-top jumps & doubles until my hands hurt. :)

I went with two friends with the goal of improving our riding overall, and wow did we ever. We started with a 2-day Dirt Series mountain bike camp, which I highly recommend. Each day we worked on skills & drills in the morning, then applied them on longer rides in the afternoon. Whistler has all sorts of great "skills" areas with log rides, drops, ranging from 6 inches on up to 6 feet, small and large jumps, berms, etc.

Whatever the skills is that you want to work on, Whistler has the terrain for you to do it! I'll be adding more details as well as photos & videos soon.

From XC rider to DH rider in one weekend at Whistler.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Best mountain biking technique book!

I've looked at various different instructional mountain bike books and videos, and recently came across Brian Lopes's "Mastering Mountain Bike Skills". It is far and away the best book out there for improving your mountain biking skills! From beginner to advanced, it has something for everyone. And for those you who who ride with me, I'd say that 50% of of the things listed in the book are things that I need to work on, or simply can't do yet. There's plenty to grow into. The explanations are fantastic, as are the photo sequences. I highly recommend it!

It covers everything from learning how to climb without losing traction to cornering in loose terrain vs with 8 foot berms to sending a 10 foot drop or hitting a 15 foot gap jump. It's packed with tons of advice, drills, skills, and will help make anyone a better rider.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

How To Avoid Getting Poison Oak

It's that time of year again. Spring is in the air, and lots of people are getting the itch to go hiking or mountain biking on the trails in Nor Cal. If you're not careful that "itch" can stay with you in the form of Poison Oak. Due to the wet winter the poison oak seems to be everywhere this year! I've already had it twice times this year (every other weekend, as far as I can tell). but then I go mountain biking 3 or 4 times a week. Although I'm pleased to say that using a few new tricks I've avoided getting poison oak for the past 2 weeks, despite coming in contact with it.

I've written an article on HubPages.com titled How To Avoid Getting Poison Oak. Check it out!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Years Resolution - Juggling 5 Balls

I have a belated 2008 New Years Resolution! I've decided I'm going to learn to juggle 5 balls. After seeing me on the edge of my seat watching the Cirque du Soleil juggler, Susan bought me a set (3) juggling clubs. I brought them into the office ('cause they're quite loud when I drop them) and now have several of the guys juggling 3 clubs. But now that we can all juggle clubs I decided I wanted to learn to juggle 5 balls. I'm fairly good with 3, but apparently the jump from a few cool tricks with 3 to just being able to execute the standard 5 ball cascade is a big leap! I bought 6 balls and brought them into the office. Now almost everyone can juggle 3, and a few of us are working on 5 balls, but so far no luck on getting beyond throwing 5 and catching 4. Any suggestions?? Happy Juggling!

Friday, February 1, 2008

My new favorite headset - the Etymotic hf2 - Headset and Earphones

Ever since I picked up a Blackberry Curve I've been trying to find a new headset. I've tried several, but always run into issues hearing or speaking in noisy areas. I've heard about the JawBone bluetooth, and even tried it, but I don't like the delay before it picks up, and I'm sure I'd lose it, or forget to charge it. I read about the Etymotic headsets and had to try one. The hf2 is amazing! When both ear pieces are in it reduced background noise by 20 decibels, which is a whole lot. I believe traditional form earplugs reduce noise by 10 decibels or so. Using one ear or two, I was astounded how clearly I could hear everyone, including my mumbling friends whose phone calls I avoid because I can never understand them.

As for the microphone, it's amazing. I called a friend in her office and before asking her how I sounded, she exclaimed at how clear and crisp I sounded. She was astounded when I said I was driving and had the stereo on. The noise canceling characteristics of both the microphone and the earphones are fantastic.

So, if you have a blackberry Curve or an iPhone and want a fantastic set of headphones that doubles as the best headset made, go for the Etymotic hf2.


I also wrote about it in a HubPages Hub. Check it out: http://hubpages.com/hub/Etymotic-hf2