April 26, 2007

The “Rem Dog” comes to Utah!

One tough thing about moving away from home is missing all the Red Sox games. Sure they're a big market team and they command a majority of national broadcasts. The ESPN games are OK, but if it's on Fox, FORGET IT. That's when you have to listen the insufferable Tim McCarver. Back east, when the Sox were on Fox, we'd turn the sound off and listen to the game on the radio. You can also keep up on-line or by watching SportsCenter etc. but it's not the same as coming home on a Tuesday night and camping out with your local commentators for a few hours. So for my birthday this year, my beautiful wife bought me the DirecTV MLB Extra Innings Package. Now I get all the games for every team. Do I care about all the teams? NO! But you can't just buy one team so oh well. Now it's like coming home to hang out with my old friends, Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy (the RemDog) on NESN.

Sometimes when the Sox are on the road, you'll get the local broadcast from that city, which can be interesting. Last night, they were in Baltimore and I got the MASN (Mid Atlantic Sports Network) broadcast. They feature capable play-by-play man Gary Thorne alongside Color Analyst and hall-of-fame pitcher Jim Palmer. I was excited at first, until I realized what a know-it-all Palmer is. I can take the constant stat spewing or the second-guessing, but then he started ripping on Manny. I almost lost my mind. But hey, even when it's not NESN, it's better than nothing. Unless it's on Fox.

April 13, 2007

It's Spring again...

We've had a few tastes of warm weather and we're done with snow for now. I got 42 days of skiing in this year and a few of them were epic. I may have had more if the season were a better one. But I'm still not complaining. My brother, Jay visited for a few days in early March and had some fantastic snow. A few weeks later, Sarah's college roommate Meredith visited with her husband Brian and they seemed to enjoy themselves. We recently took a trip to Melbourne, Florida for Mike Spalluto's and Lucy Boyd's wedding. That was a beautiful affair. We had gorgeous weather and a great hotel on the beach. You can see pictures of all this stuff in our latest gallery.

This past weekend, we visited Moab for the second time this spring. I headed down early with our neighbor Nicole, who used to work with me at ASC, along with her two-year-old daughter, Zoe. On Friday, Nicole dropped me off at the trailhead of the world-famous Slickrock Trail. Many trails in Moab consist of this unique beige sandstone surface nicknamed "Slickrock", but this trail made Moab famous in the Mountain Biking community. I truly remember reading about Moab, and Slickrock in Mountain Bike Magazine when I was in middle school in Maine. Since then, I've dreamed of riding it, but feared what it might do to my marriage if I should drag my wife on it. The Sandflats state park (home of the slickrock trail) offers a 2-mile practice loop that is designed to give you a taste of the full 11-mile trail. It certainly offers a significant sample, but it can't prepare you for the grind of the full-trail. I'll admit, it kicked my ass, but it was well worth it.

Sarah arrived on Friday night with along with our friends Kristin and Cory from Park City. Saturday included a trip to Karen's K9 Campground for the dogs while Sarah, Nicole and I biked a beautiful trail called "Baby Steps" which is adjacent to the Klondike Bluffs Trail, leading into Arches National Park. The trail was a tight and winding singletrack, and you could tell that it had not yet been ridden much. Saturday night was interesting to say the least. We had a few margaritas around the camp fire and Sarah made some of her killer tacos with our camp stove. So we went to bed happy and full in our luxurious 4-person tent. Of course we have smaller tents, but when camping with the dogs, we enjoy the extra width and height. Then the wind came. As the breeze kicked up, Sarah removed the rain fly from our tent to reduce the noise. Almost on queue, it started pouring rain. So we hopped out of the tent in our underwear to put the fly back on, which was difficult since the wind was howling. When we finally secured the outer layer, it got caught in the wind and started acting as a sail. Before we could hop back in the tent, it started flying away from us. In fact the only thing weighing it down at this point was Blü. Roxie had long since abandoned ship. So Blü took a little ride in the tent eastward, toward Kansas. But we made a lunging effort to grab the tent AND the dog, and dove back inside. But it was too late. The tent's structural integrity had been compromised, the contents soaked, and we were afraid it might only get worse. Our large tent was destined for destruction, while the other smaller tents in our camp site which laid lower to the ground were mostly undistrubed. So we decided to head for the security of the car. We broke down the tent in the pouring rain and howling wind (still in our underwear mind you) and stuffed it under the car. The dogs agreeably hopped in the back and we arranged ourselves in our soaking layers into the front of the car in our now soaked sleeping bags. As we wrestled into any kind of position resembling comfort, the rain and wind eased almost magically. Birds begain to chirp and the sun began to rise. Through the steam on our windows, we watched our campsite neighbors emerge from their tents, rested and serene. They stretched and yawned as they greeted the day, almost completely unaware of the carnage that occured in their calm slumber. Their tents were somewhat damp, but had been mostly blown dry. Ours was crumpled in a puddle of mud and irony under the car. We laid, sweaty, frustrated and unrested in our trusty Subaru.

Following the incident, as we all awoke, we realized our misfortune was mostly self-induced. And we began to laugh about it as we did our best to collect and shake-dry our belongings. It was, after all Easter morning. Nicole and her husband Petie had prepared an Easter egg hunt for their daughter Zoe, which is certainly a cheerful diversion in the wet desert sand. We followed that up with a big breakfast of eggs, sausage and bagels, then casual 3-4 mile hike from the campsite to a large set of sandstone buttes named Monitor and Merimack after civil war ships. The hike was enough to put it all in perspective. Overall, just another day in the desert.