Who the Hell is maadjurguer?

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I like to ski, mountain bike, drink beer, cook and listen to any jam band I can get my hands on; all while making a complete ass of myself. Hopefully this catharsis is as interesting to others as it is to me.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Hold the Sour Cream please

Open letter (email) to my happy hour hero’s on Friday night:

Folks….do you want me to reserve us a fine table at Joe’s or Lou’s tonight. I’ll be getting there at exactly 4:17pm as to assure maximum visibility with bar and wait staff. I will also keep the ice cold, the seats warm (don’t ask) and the service saucy (Mrs. MaadJurguer…..don’t ask). The chef’s will be alerted to our presence and will be washing their finest for both vegan and pagan-meat eaters alike.

Mr. Futball Coach and Mrs. MaadJurguer’s beer will be specially tapped via an undersea cable running under the Atlantic, directly from Bavaria where a young, blonde virginal hand-maiden will be diligently pumping the tap. She will do this while playing the glockenspiel and yodeling. The flow of beer will be chilled as it runs several thousand kilometers under the Atlantic and over the Mid-Atlantic sea ridge before being coming ashore on a frozen and ice-storm ravaged North Carolina before making its way directly to our eatery.

My rum will be freshly milled out of crispy sugar-cane from the sweltering bajadas of Puerto Rico, harvested by direct descendents of Meso-American indigenous tribesmen, woman and children who have interbred (read: forced into sex slavery) with the Spanish conquistadores, Columbus’ crew and countless other Latin American dictators who have otherwise left this beautiful country impoverished, without a vote in our glorious congress, but with a famous spokesperson: Sammy Sosa…thanks be to Jesus and his glory forever….kiss, kiss, throw it up in the sky.

The vodka that Mrs. Futball Coach will be drinking with her cranberry will be distilled from blight free potatoes wretched from the rocky grounds of an industrialized farm on the steppes of Russia by hoards of migrant 83 year old, arthritic Polish, Latvian, Slovakian and Estonian woman whose hips are wider than the oxen in front of the potato cart they rode in on and who are no more bitter about their existence then they are of Frances most appalling invasion of Russian Territory since Napoleon’s 1812 march on Moscow…..yes, I’m talking about Grey Goose vodka….a slap in the face of Russian national pride given handily by the French.

As for food….

Our overpriced Nacho chips will be ground from an ever dwindling supply of real corn vs. genetically engineered corn grown in the heartland, not by a good ole’ small town Merican’, but a mega-industry farm spanning millions of acres which owes its existence to buying out the previously mentioned good ole’ small town Merican’ who is now left with no other outlet to earn money but to siphon off ammonia from the mega-industrial farm fertilizer tanks so that he may “cook-up” a batch of meth to both feed his habit, occasionally buy his babies mama a lava-taco from Taco Bell and drown his misery in the exhilarating but debilitating high which is white man’s crack. Meanwhile, the genetically engineered corn which is booming in bushel production value is being used to produce ethanol which is being touted as a save-all for the greening of America, but is responsible for driving up grain prices world-wide, shutting out impoverished peoples from an affordable staple, further contributing to famine across sub-Saharan Africa while giving us Merican’s worse gas mileage in our vehicles. Ohh….and did I mention this increase in grain prices in the form of animal feed has also led to a doubling of the wholesale price of chicken wings to fine eateries across Merica’……our bar tab will be a bit heavier.

Our jalapeño’s will be plucked by a migrant San Salvadorian outside of Monterey who has no concept of dysentery since he’s had it all his life, yet passes this wonderful weight-loss product along to us by defecating in the fields because Dole is too cheap to provide adequate sanitation for its workers (read indentured servants) who are desperately seeking a better way of life so that they may see their family prosper just a little better than their fathers family whose numbers were cut in half by the nationalist Contra death-squads who were funded by the CIA in the 80’s who in turn were secretly funded by arms being sold to Iran to battle Iraq whom we publically supported and turned a blind eye to while they mustard-gassed an ethnic minority in Northern Iraq. On a related note, the scientists at the USDA and FDA have banned all peppers because they are worried that us fat and bloated merican’s (because of the Nacho’s and Buffalo Wings listed above) can’t tell the difference between a jalapeño, a serrano, an anaheim pepper or a green bell pepper…..all things green and peppery are pulled from shelves to include anything containing green and peppery products leading to Campbells Soup (who owns Pace Picante) to declare bankruptcy due to no sales during the biggest Pace buying period of them all (Super Bowl weekend). Dole, through Pace, through Campbell’s, lay’s off said migrant workers and contributes to the swelling ranks of homeless migrant workers who have no other outlet but to mow our green lawns in the desert with very inefficient 2-stroke lawnmowers which in only 7 hours of operation, spew as much pollution as 100,000 modern cars do in the same amount of time. The green lawns in the desert are of course brought to you by a glorious canal, diverting water from the Colorado to the point of rendering it nothing more than a trickle by the time it gets to Mexico….further contributing to the poverty stricken nature of that region.

So, in Summary….eating and drinking at happy hour is bad because it makes us fat, gives us dysentery (which makes us skinny), impoverishes citizens of 3rd world countries (who are way too skinny), supports the oil and farm cartels (which make us fat)…..I’m forgetting something here…..oh yeah, helps keep professional athletes like Sammy Sosa rich (which make us fat while watching them).

So what I’ve realized is that the world’s problems can be viewed as a fat-skinny imbalance problem. Too fat = bad. Too skinny = bad. Not fat but not skinny = just right…..cool.

That’s why I will be ordering nacho’s WITHOUT the sour cream……the world is back in balance! See you tonight!!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Spring Slide Canyon Trip Report

Myself and 5 others headed out on Sunday from Agassiz parking lot for a traverse of the mountain via Spring Slide Canyon, exiting out the Pumice mine on the east side. For those up there on Sunday, you know all to well the strength of the wind was pretty strong out of the SW on western aspects with significant rime development occurring on trees and people.

Climbing up through Dutchman's, we proceeded up ridge between the wreck and the rollover marking Allison's where we found softer snow which offered us a noticeable and welcome break from the wind and slog up the wind slab-snow dunes.

Visibility at this point was modulating from white out to an occasional glimpse of the north side of Allisons.

This was the best weather of the day and only lasted for 5 minutes or so before returning us to the soup.

Cresting the ridge separating western aspects and the Cirque at 12,200ft, we took a short break from the wind after digging a pit and descended the cirque very carefully via Heck Yeah. Perhaps one of our group could comment on the pit observations taken here.

While descending via Heck Yeah, we all encountered brief moments of zero viz to the point of intense sensations of vertigo while descending. Sluff management was difficult given the lack of indicators such as speed and direction. The sluff was mostly pool-table size, 3-4cm thick and while a concern was manageable. Constant partner observation and spacing discipline from safe zone to safe zone was strictly observed.

Once descending through the thickest of the clouds, we traversed north to enter the lower Spring Slide runout to dig another pit. My observations are here:

The Q1 reading on the wind-loaded portions was enough of an alarm for us, so we scrapped our plans to skin up the higher portions of Spring Slide and ski down; opting instead to let it set up a little more and ski it another day. The powder to be had at the lower elevations between this pit site at 11,100 and 10000 was great and very much appreciated after the wind, sluff and vertigo encountered earlier.

Descending out to the Pumice mine via the usual route out of the IB, we encountered HARD rain-crust below 10000ft making for yet another interesting footnote to the day. The last few thousand vertical feet left my ears ringing, but we all made it down to ski another day.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What's my problem?

Damn.....that's a loaded question.....one I should never post in a forum inviting folks to comment. Yet I have been asking myself this for the past month. To summarize what I'm wondering MAY be my problem, I will commence with the airing of grievances a la "Festivus"

1) While riding a bike to celebrate the new year, a guy died pretty brutally in front of us. Every spill I take, and perhaps leading up to the obstacle I'm spilling over....a little of that sticks in my mind. I still ride every day, but it's probably preventing me from riding the way I am truly capable of right now. The proof.....I've taken some spills on sections which I've never taken spills on....rag-dolling down rock faces and dislocating my middle finger in the process....some days it looks like a hot-dog. Try squeezing a bike brake with a throbbing hot-dog attached to your hand......THIS IS A PROBLEM.

2) My ghetto tubeless system on my bike has completely failed and I am unable to recreate the magic which is the ghetto tubeless tire. All attempts to air up and snap the bead to the rim have failed in several 1.5hr long, agonizing, slimy, messy, curse filled episodes within my garage. I have resorted to running slime tubes which are heavy, change the handling characteristics somewhat and change how I ride considerably. Over the past 4 months on tubeless, I've had zero flats. I've had 3 flats in the past week because of snake-bites....due to the fact that I'm used to running ridiculously low pressures on my tubeless....and I'm trying to recreate the magic, only with tubes (mea culpa). I have now spent more money and ordered a commercial system as a last ditch effort to go tubeless, but I am skeptical due to my preferred tire choice and broke-dick rims......THIS IS A PROBLEM.

3) My P.O.S. home oven is dying. It will work for 5 minutes, and then go into a default-mode....crying wolf by displaying a code which means that it is overheating. This then shuts the oven down, thus leaving your pizza or casserole woefully undercooked. I know that plunking down 200 bucks could get me a new circuit board which is the culprit....but I did this last year due to the same problem. Why is the circuit board frying every year....probably because the oven is poorly designed and is lacking in any manner of thermal shielding for said circuit board. So I am resigned to either spend 200 bucks each year for an erratic circuit board.....or buy a new oven with the IRS bucks coming back my way........THIS IS A PROBLEM.

4) Lastly....perhaps I am just being lame this month........qui tacet consentire videtur.....THIS IS A PROBLEM.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Escape from Prison....barely

I left town this weekend....twice. The plan was to drive up Saturday morning and meet tRoy and his wife for some bike fun in Sedona, and then head up to Flagstaff for some ski fun on Sunday. Strapping my skis and bike to my rack on the new car, I headed out of town, only to realize 40 minutes later that I had left my bike shoes at home. 1 1/2 hr later, I was back where I started with a sore ass and nothing to show for it.

Pressing on, I decided I would truncate my riding in Sedona and settle for something smaller so I could make a dinner date with tRoy, wife and baby. The weather was great with a few snow patches left in the shade of the red rock and frozen puddles glistening in the fading afternoon sunlight. I rode a trail that I have not ridden since I first started mountain biking and was surprised at how much easier it seemed from those tentative weeks after immediately purchasing my 1st mountain bike. Pressing north, I crashed at tRoy's and had some good mexican casserole and beer before turning in.

The next day, I met up with tRoy, cat-driver, ultimate street fighter and the man with the big dog for some turns and some avy transceiver practice. We headed up Humphreys trail at 8 and then left the trail at the Dutchmans avy chute, traversing across to copilot glade (small meadow, viewers left of Dutchmans with the zig zags).

We did transceiver retrieval practice in copilot meadow for an hour or so, working on multiple burial scenarios, after setting up a bootpack on skiers left and farming some freshies.

Yours truly on copilot meadow, trying like hell to squeeze in as many turns as 200ft vertical has to offer.

Some of the most fluid tele turns I've seen, brought to you by Ultimate Street Fighter....don't stare.

A quick bite to eat in the best restaurant in AZ.....cold and greasy chorizo burrito with green chile from Mike and Rhonda's.....yummy when hot, not recommended for eating when cold.

We ascended to treeline through the B-24 crash site

and slowly made our way to Temptations gully.

Cat-Driver taking a break from the very hard windslab and corniced snow dunes 3-6ft tall in the last few-hundred vertical ft before the treeline.

After some slow going through the windslab dunes, we pulled skins and got into ski mode to avoid a slide for life scenario…..or a broken femur similar to what recently happened over on Allison Clay recently. We then traversed over to Temptations gully hoping to find some windblown powder in the gully's and chutes (our ultimate goal for the day). Digging an impromptu pit, I found hard windslab topping rotten faceted snow below in two distinct layers sandwiched in between more hard windslab/suncrust....each faceted zone interrupted with ice lenses. No whumping was observed the whole day and the top layer was pretty bomber, however we started spreading out and keeping an eye on each other just in case. Still driven by the need for some cream cheese turns, we went with plan B and kept traversing across the main gully where we found some very, very nice week old pow-pow in the trees on the south side (northern aspect) of Temptations gully. Cranking tight turns, dodging Bristlecone pine, then Spruce and Aspen; we descended all the way down the nose between gulleys to Humphreys trail where we exited and toasted a nice day in the backcountry. For what it's worth....all of the pictures come via tRoy....my skills this day were limited to taking lame pictures of my burrito.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Craig from Durango

I just got back from a solo ride out at Hawes in the rain. I thought of a single thing the entire ride: Craig from Durango. He and his wife were riding somewhere ahead of us on the Pemberton trail yesterday afternoon when he took a spill. We had never met Craig or his wife Jan when we rolled up, but instantly got to know them in the worst conditions possible. Craig was in the middle of the trail, was not breathing, was non-responsive and had a weak pulse. I called 911 on Jan's phone, but it was not working; so I had my wife call 911 on her phone. I asked Jan if they had a GPS since I had accidentally left mine at home. Luckily, Craig had a GPS on his waist belt....so I turned it on and relayed the decimal degree coordinates to the 911 operator. Other folks began riding up a few minutes later and began assisting as necessary. All the time, Jan was performing artificial respiration and chest compressions to Craig.

Craig took a spill in the worst possible spot to take a spill; the farthest point away from the trailhead that we could have been. Not that Craig had a choice in the matter. Over the next 30 or so minutes, Jan tried valiantly to give Craig respiration while other folks gave chest compressions to help out Jan. Twice his heart stopped, but after more chest compressions, a pulse was detected. We were all a bunch of strangers, in the desert, trying vainly to save a mans life. We all felt helpless, ignorant and utterly miserable. I can speak for myself....I did not want to be there....and I felt awful for thinking that thought. I realize that Jan did not want to be there either....but there she was. Waiting for the sheriffs helicopter which had to pick up two paramedics, we all took our shirts off and laid them over Craig in an attempt to keep him warm.

I tried out of desperation to see something, anything in Craig's eyes; but only saw something I don't want to see again....nothing. I'm struggling to get Craig's eyes out of my mind right now. I also can't get the look on Jan's face and her screams out of my mind....fear and desperation...but also a strong determination to do what she needed to do to save her husbands life. I can't begin to imagine what thoughts she must have felt for those 1st 5 minutes before we rolled up, alone with her husband who was laying on the trail.

After the pro's showed up, it became clear that Craig had to wait for another helicopter because there was no room in the sheriffs helicopter for Craig who had to be on a back board. We all stood around, helping the paramedics in any way we were told we could. Someone told me they wanted to wait until Craig and Jan were lifted out of there before we left, even though the Sheriffs deputy said there was nothing more we could do. We all resolved to ride out together.

The ride back was the most sober procession I have ever encountered on a ride. We were all shredded from the emotionality of it all. Somehow, riding a bike for fun did not seem so much fun anymore. One of the folks out there yesterday said it was her first day on a mountain bike. I know that this will not be a good memory for her or anyone and it would be trite to say that we must go on, but I needed to ride today for a reason other than fun which brings me back to the rain.

Riding is a time to reflect. Some of those reflections mirror us: petty, vain, and selfish. Other times, those reflections are trivial, non-consequential and otherwise, forgotten. Today, those reflections were much more profound. The last I had heard, Craig had broken his neck and is not breathing on his own. However, the love and dedication his wife and those strangers showed to another human being kept his heart going and will give him a chance. The reflections I saw today in myself are the reflections I saw in Jan and those 5 other people. They are fear, determination and thankfulness.

Fearful that life can take a turn for the worse like a thunderclap, we all left determined to remember that the things we value in life are not to be taken for granted and we should be thankful for them. Even Jan, in the middle of perhaps the worst crisis she has been in, found a second to thank us for helping before boarding the sheriffs helicopter. I'm not sure I would have the presence of mind to do that. So I did what I could and I gave my wife a few more "I love you's" last night than normal...and so did she.