Truer Than Fiction

My not-so-eventful, everyday life.

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Location: Gaithersburg, Maryland, United States

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Trip Report

Well, the ski trip was just an awesome time. The wife and I went to Canaan Valley with my aunt Leslie, cousin Robbie, and friends Ryan and Sarah. It was just fantastic. What follows is a day-by-day summary of events. Man, I'd much rather be skiing than writing this.

Friday, Day 1

We left our place at around 7AM. We stopped quickly at the local Burger King for breakfast and then hit the road for West Virginia. It's a really pretty drive and not horribly long. It's about three and a half hours to get there. Once we hit the mountains in western Maryland, we played what I like to call "The Crosswind Game." The rules are very simple. You try to drive on the road, and mother nature tries to throw you off a cliff. I totally won. But just barely.

We got to the house around noon-ish. It had been warm there the past couple of days, so we didn't need the tire chains. We drove right up, dumped our stuff on the floor, changed into our ski clothes, and headed for the Ski Barn. We rented our skis (I also got a helmet this year, which came in quite handy) and made a short backtrack to Timberline.

We'd never been to Timberline before, so we weren't sure what to expect. They have one of the longest runs on the east coast, and I'm sure it would have been great if it weren't for the ice. Come to think of it, most of the mountain was ice. I think what happened is that a lot of the snow melted and refreezed over the previous couple of days, making for crappy conditions on Friday. We made due, and when the day was over we headed home for dinner. Courtney had prepared stuff for tacos, and it was great! After dinner, I introduced everyone to The Colbert Report, which is pretty much one of the best shows on TV. Everyone loved it. We hit the hot tub to loosen our muscles for Saturday and then went to bed.


Saturday, Day 2

We got up around 8am, had breakfast, and went straight to Canaan Valley resort, where we would spend the next three days. We weren't there for long when it started to snow. And it snowed all day. It was awesome and made for great skiing conditions. In all, we got around six inches of snow that day. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough snow to open up one of our favorite black diamond runs, Dark Side of the Moon, the entire time we were there. Boo to that. However, we made due by skiing Valley Drop, Valley Vista, Meadows 2, Shaft, and Face.

I also tried to ski moguls for the first time this year. I fell a lot on the first day, but I promised myself by the time the trip was over, I would have the main mogul on the center slope mastered. We had a great second day of skiing and headed home around 5:30. The snow had completely covered the road up to the house, so we ended up needing to use the tire chains. We lost the left one about fifty yards from the house, but the right one provided enough traction to get us the rest of the way there. Robbie and I went back to get the other tire chain while everyone else unpacked our gear. At least this was the only time we needed to use the chains.

Courtney had prepared salisbury steaks and macaroni and cheese for our second night's dinner. My wife is a great chef. We hit up the hot tub again, and we watched some of the Olympics on TV. We saw some of the downhill skiing and were absolutely amazed at Bode Miller. He didn't even finish the run because he caught a ski about halfway down. However, he managed to continue on just one ski at about 50 MPH while the other was flailing behind him madly. He somehow was able to recover from this and pulled over to the side of the slope. Holy freaking crap. He should have gotten a medal for that.


Sunday, Day 3

We got up around 8am again. Quick breakfast, then straight to the resort. Skiing on Sunday was even more awesome than Saturday because it had snowed some overnight, and they had been able to groom what had fallen the day before as well as some machine-made snow. We had a most excellent day on Sunday. However, they closed the best run (Upper and Lower Ramble) so that they could set up a time trial slalom for those who wanted to pay for the chance to win a medal. I don't pay for crappy stuff like that, so we didn't get to ski that run until late Sunday, when they took the flags down. By that time, it was only open for about twenty minutes before that side of the park was closed due to lack of lighting. We still had a great time, though.

I also saw one of the funniest things ever on Sunday. I was walking back up the hill from the lodge to get my skis and saw two kids playing. One kid was already at the bottom of the hill, and the other slipped and rolled all the way down as I was walking up. His friend laughed at him, and as the kid was trying to get up his friend grabbed an ice ball about the size of his head and crunched it down on top of his helmet. It was pretty much the greatest thing I've ever seen. File that one under "Do Not Attempt Without a Helmet."

Sunday's dinner consisted of chicken tenders, french fries, and salad. We had stopped by the store on the way home, so I picked up some Old Bay for the fries. Man, that stuff rules. After dinner, we watched K-PAX, which some people hadn't seen before. I really like that movie, and I think Kevin Spacey does an excellent job with the character of Prot. I recommend it.


Monday, Day 4

Monday morning we got up extra early so we could be there as soon as the park opened. Amazingly, almost no one showed up for the whole time we were there. I thought it would be packed on a holiday, but apparently not. Awesome! I would say that we had the best ski conditions on Monday because there weren't a bunch of noobs falling and packing all the snow. By the time I left on Monday, I had mastered the mogul and landed it four out of four tries. Sweet! I also started going over some of the side hills that the boarders liked to frequent, and that was fun as well. We left around noon to get home and pack. We left the house around two, and the drive home was uneventful. (I think mother nature knew I would kick her butt again at The Crosswind Game, so she didn't even show up.)

After everyone left and we had gotten everything unloaded, we went to Ziki's for a nice dinner. Courtney definitely deserved a night off after cooking for everyone for three days. The food was great, as always, but our chef was new, so the showmanship wasn't as high quality. I've seen the show so many times now that it doesn't really matter to me, so I guess it's good that he got our table.

That pretty much sums up our vacation. It was an awesome time, and I can't wait to go again next year. For now, it's back to work. We get to start planning our anniversary trip to Foxwood's soon, though. I can't wait to play my first live poker tournament!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Valentine's Day

We had a pretty good Valentine's Day yesterday. I got Courtney some chocolate truffles from Godiva and tickets to see Movin' Out when it comes to Baltimore in March. She got me Wil Wheaton's Just a Geek and Phil Gordon's Little Green Book. I started Phil Gordon's book last night, and I can already tell that it's going to be a great help to my poker game.

For dinner we went out to O'Donnell's, which is a nice seafood restaurant in Kentlands. I got the filet mignon with garlic mashed potatoes and onion rings. She got the lump crabcakes with green beans. The steak was awesome, and the bit of crabcakes that I tried was also very good. I had a glass of Merlot with my steak, and Courtney had some Pinot Grigio. I didn't try her wine, but mine complemented the steak very nicely. For dessert we split a slice of chocolate mousse cake. It was very yummy.

I wish we could eat at that place more often, but it's freaking expensive. So we just have to go on special occasions.

T-minus two days to the ski trip.

AWESOME.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I Am A Snowman. Do As I Say.

If any snowman could kick your ass, this one could. You can't really tell from the photos, but he's almost as tall as Courtney. That's about an 8 foot fence to the left of him.


Monday, February 06, 2006

Drunk On 1s and 0s

This is pretty much one of the coolest case mods I've ever seen. And portable too! If I was good with tools (and if I had tools), I'd like to try and make a neat case mod. Unfortunately (fortunately?), that's not where my creativity lies. It's still fun to look and see what other people come up with, though.