Leadville Ski Joring Championships

This weekend was the 2010 Annual Leadville Ski Joring Competition. The Leadville ski joring event has been going on in since 1949 and is considered the premier event of its kind in the country.

The sport it is a timed race with skiers being pulled by horses on a track with large jumps and flat landings. In between the jumps the skier must try to spear small circular rings while swinging from one side of the track to the other – at speeds in excess of 40 mile per hour. Missed rings add 2 seconds each to your time. With average times of less than twenty seconds a single missed ring, with skiers of this caliber, will cost you the event. The winner will have the most rings and fastest time. Ski joring is no simple feat – particularly the Leadville race.

Last year, for the 60th annual race, I had the good fortune of making the draw and was able to compete. I wiped out on the first jump. My apologies to the rider and the man who wagered $250 on me. Video evidence below.

[flashvideo file=/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Skijoring.flv height=390 width=500 /]

My wipe out was nothing compared to Chris Anthony’s (former Alaskan Extreme Skiing Champion, veteran of 9 World Extreme Skiing Championships and 20 Warren Miller films) fall in the 2007 races. He didn’t walk away from his. Video evidence below.

[flashvideo file=/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/wipeout.flv height=390 width=500 /]

To get a real idea of the sense of speed, tradition, and community this ski joring event brings to Leadville watch this documentary by Foresight Multimedia. To get a sense of what the skier is seeing watch this first person video on youtube. To get a sense of my attitude before the race, read my interview in the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Bell Pepper Teratoma

The other night I was fixing up some fajitas for dinner. Yum. While cutting up a red bell pepper for my meal, what to my wondrous eyes did appear? A red pepper teratoma! A capsicum styled fetus in fetu, if you will. A pepper within a pepper. According to this (fairly well referenced) Wikipedia article explains what fetus in fetu is:

Fetus in fetu (or fœtus in fœtu) is a developmental abnormality: a mass of tissue inside the body that more or less resembles a fetus. There are two theories of origin concerning fetus in fetu. One theory is that the mass begins as a normal fetus but becomes enveloped inside its twin. The other theory is that the mass is a highly developed teratoma. Fetus in fetu is estimated to occur in 1 in 500,000 live births.

It’s not quite as exciting as the foot found in the boys brain down in Colorado Springs (warning: very graphic photo [photo credit to the Denver Post]. DO NOT click if you are at all squeamish). But I was still pretty thrilled with my little discovery. My mature, and fully ripened, red pepper was carrying it’s own underdeveloped green pepper twin inside it. Of course I took pictures.

Red Pepper Teratoma (Inside)

And here is a picture of the with the fetus extracted.

Red Pepper Teratoma (Extracted)

Alas, teratoma peppers are not all that uncommon.

Lightning Striking Twice

Lightning Safety Awareness Week was last month. But to reiterate the dangers of this shocking natural phenomenon, go have a look at this flickr footage of Jessica Lynch getting struck but lightning (or click the “more” link below). She’s a very lucky girl. From Jessica’s comments:

First off, just to reiterate, i’m totally fine! At the end f the video you can see my left hand starting to shake. It threw me back a few feet and then i proceeded to have a breathing problem that sounded like breath hiccups, short and quick, and that lasted for about 3-5 minutes. While that was going on i sat and watched my left arm shake like a jackhammer which seemed to last forever and i could feel the travel path in my arm for the 24 hours following. The air did turn much warmer after the strike. i didn’t notice cooling air before, but i also wasn’t thinking it was about to hit the ground in front of me. I had no idea i even took video of this until at least 20 minutes later. It was a total surprise!

Read More

A Recently Found Letter Written Long Ago

To whom it may concern,

      In addition to this letter and the claim report, I have included some other useful information. The circumstances of my injury are as follows: While in Australia, on the date of July 17, 1996, I fell down a flight of stairs and fractured my wrist. On July 18, I went to the Cairns Base Hospital and had my injury taken care of and returned on July 25 to get a cast. I was not charged by the hospital for any of these services other than the $8.00 to make copies of the x-rays to bring back to my doctor in the U.S. I arrived back in the United States on August 4. On August 19 I went to Dr. Philip A. Stull to get my cast removed and was charged for his services.

      Charges incurred during the injury include $8.00 for the x-ray copies (copy of receipt enclosed), $2.95 for a cast cover in order to shower (copy of receipt enclosed), $25.00 for a non-refundable deposit on a scuba diving trip with Reef Encounters that had to be canceled due to the injury (copy of receipt enclosed), and $125.00 for the cast removal and x-rays (copy of receipt enclosed). The photocopies that I included can be explained as follows:
      page 1 – passport, drivers license, and ISIC card
      page 2 – Australian visa
      page 3 – boarding pass for leaving the U.S.
      page 4 – boarding pass for arriving back in the U.S., receipt for x-ray copies, and
      receipts for the shower bag.
      page 5 – receipt for deposit on diving trip
      page 6 – receipt for x-rays and cast removal
      page 7 – photocopy of x-ray taken at Cairns Base Hospital

If there is any other information that you require in order to process my claim please let me know.

Thanks,
Hubs

Lifting Heavy Loads

Yesterday the IT person here at work deleted the entire list of my personal contacts from my computer. They weren’t on the network so they were irretrievable. Gone for good. Dooced. Six years of collected phone numbers and addresses: distant family, old girlfriends, close friends who have moved away, christmas card crap, long forgotten email addresses, everything. No more. Funny thing is, I’m really not too pissed about it. Something inside me says I should be mad, but I’m not. I guess I feel like if it was someone I haven’t talked to in years, well then, it’s probably not that important to talk to them again. Or is it? Some of the more essential info, important people, I have in other places. And somehow, for reasons that don’t have a logic behind them, I feel like I’m getting a little bit of a clean slate. Just a little. Maybe it’s just one broad swipe with a big, spongy, eraser on this messy chalkboard of mine. But in some way it actually feels good. To some extent it’s relieving, Somewhere a load has been lifted.

Candlelight And Strangers

On Saturday night, at around 11:00 PM, I got bored. I bundled up in coat, hat, and gloves and trudged through the 6″ of snow to my local haunt. The place was fairly mellow for a Saturday night. The bad weather kept the crowds at home. The kitchen closed early and there was room to sit at the bar. About my second beer into the evening the power went down. Slowly. Starting at one end of the bar and fizz, fizz, fizzing, one section of lights at a time, across to the other side of the bar, past the jute box, the booths and the pool room till everything was off. Apparently somebody in the alley behind the building slid on the icy street and took out a utility pole.

Luckily, since it’s my haunt, I have a tab there without having to provide a credit card. And luckily the power outage shut the computers down. Woot! Free beer. Well, close, I still tipped the guys and paid them close to the right amount. Mostly because I’m not an asshole to people who don’t treat me like one. It was cool though because as soon as the TVs went out, and the jute box went silent, and the moody light went dark, all of those that were there for “the scene” quickly left. And those of us who didn’t want to stare at the TV, dance, play pool, or eat, all sat at the bar and actually talked to each other. Novel idea. With only candlelight and strangers, an unusually fun evening was had.