Ragnar Trail North Shore Oahu

Ragnar Trail OahuLast weekend (April 21–22), I participated in a Ragnar Trail race on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu.

The setting on the North Shore near Turtle Bay was very nice. The weather, however, was not nice. It rained the whole time (off and on). Sections of the trails were covered with puddles and ankle-deep mud, especially the yellow trail. Although the conditions weren’t at all what I was expecting when I signed up, the event was awesome.

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Grand Teton National Park

We drove up to Jackson Hole for the last weekend before they close the park road. The weather did not disappoint. Daytime temperatures were in the high 50s and not a single cloud ventured over northwest Wyoming all weekend. Most of the trees had already lost their leaves, but the blanket of white covering the peaks provided a nice contrast to the still-dry valley floor.

The Cathedral Group
The Cathedral Group, including Teewinot (left), Grand Teton (middle), and Mount Owen (right).
String Lake
The Grand Teton from String Lake
The Teton Range
The Teton Range from Blacktail Ponds Overlook
The Grand Teton
The Grand Teton (left), Mount Owen (middle), and Teewinot Mountain (right) from Blacktail Ponds Overlook
The Teton Range
The Teton Range from Spring Creek Ranch
The Teton Range
The Teton Range from Spring Creek Ranch

Books That Mattered

This article is just a list of books (and a few magazines) that have been impactful for me. I highly recommend all of them. (They are listed in no particular order.)


The Firm

By John Grisham

The first can’t-put-it-down novel I ever read.


Into Thin Air

By Jon Krakauer

The first can’t-put-it-down non-fiction work I ever read. This book changed my life. It made me want to write. It made me want to visit Mount Everest (but not climb it). After reading this book, I became almost obsessively interested in mountaineering, despite the fact that I had neither the will nor the desire to pursue similarly adventurous pursuits.


Into the Wild

By Jon Krakauer

A superlative story reported by one of the most gifted non-fiction writers, in my opinion.


The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific

By J. Maarten Troost

Hilarious, engaging, and accompanied by the perfect amount of cynicism.


Travels

By Michael Crichton

Funny, unexpected, disjointed, but still with a point. “Direct experience” became a mantra for me.


Memories of Summer: When Baseball was an Art and Writing About it a Game

By Roger Kahn

Everything I love about the romanticized aspects of baseball in one book.


Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It

By Gary Taubes

Helpful.


The DaVinci Code

By Dan Brown

I debated whether or not to include this book because it frustrated me. I didn’t like the ending. There were many aspects of the plot that were unbelievable and absurdly convenient. However, this book is significant for me because it was so engaging that I read almost the entire book (480 pages) in one sitting.


Ski, Skiing, Powder, and Snow Country Magazines

I had a subscription to Skiing before I ever even skied. These magazines changed my life. I spent hours daydreaming about skiing while perusing their contents. (Skiing and Snow Country are now defunct.)

Review: 311 – MOSAIC

311 – MOSAIC
311’s MOSAIC album cover is a mosaic of fan-submitted images.

311’s latest album, MOSAIC, is a patchwork of different styles, producers, and songwriters, but, at its core, it is still very much a 311 album. The quality on 311’s last album, Stereolithic, was very even; that is, the highs and lows were within a narrow range. This album is quite the opposite in that there are superlatives among both the best and the worst material. Overall, there is enough quality and variety on MOSAIC for anyone to find something to enjoy on this album. This album really is a superlative effort even though I think they missed the mark by involving John Feldmann and his production team on five songs. MOSAIC is a solid addition to 311’s discography.

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311 – “Perfect Mistake”

311 released a new song from their upcoming album, Mosaic, on Friday. It’s called “Perfect Mistake” and it’s one of the five songs produced by John Feldmann (Goldfinger, The Used, Story of the Year, Blink-182, etc.) that will be on the 17-track record.

The song has an early-2000s pop-punk/nu-metal vibe. Feldmann’s writing, production style, and overbearing influence are all over this song. It’s not a bad song, per se, but it’s overproduced, in my opinion, and it’s not a pure “311” song. It’s 311 performing a song with significant writing contributions by Feldmann and his team.

With that said, the bandmembers’ performances are excellent and the more mainstream production style might hook casual listeners.

Backpacking PocketMod

Backpacking PocketModI designed a backpacking PocketMod (2.5MB PDF) that I think is a useful addition to your backpack. It features:

  • Compass instructions
  • How to start a fire without matches
  • How to “make” water
  • Lists of the ten essentials (both the classic and updated versions)
  • A two-inch ruler
  • Graph paper with 0.125″ × 0.125″ squares to help with measurements
  • Length, area, capacity, weight, and temperature conversions
  • Room to specify emergency contact information and emergency medical details (allergies, medications, etc.)
  • A magnetic declination map (on the back of the page)
  • A table of USGS map scale conversions (on the back of the page)

Print the PDF with the “actual size”, “print on both sides”, and “flip on long edge” settings selected and then fold the PocketMod. To learn more about PocketMods, and to create your own, visit the PocketMod Templates section of my website.

How to Be a Baseball Fan

May 17, 2017 – Reds vs. Cubs at Wrigley Field
May 17, 2017 – Reds vs. Cubs at Wrigley Field

Despite its measured pace, baseball is not boring to most true fans of the game. With that said, I do think that being a baseball fan is more challenging and takes a little more effort than some other sports because of its pace, its frequency (almost daily), and some of the game’s almost imperceptible nuances.

With a little bit of effort, however, it is possible to appreciate baseball more. Baseball has endured for so long precisely because it is a worthwhile pastime. Without further ado, here are some humble suggestions for how to become a better baseball fan.

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