Friday, March 28, 2008

My Favorite Photographers.

Many, many of your have expressed to me your appreciation for my photography. Your compliments are appreciated just as much, and I will pay you one further. I give you MY favorite photographers.

I will not guarantee that all links are safe for work.

Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir
-- Rebekka is the biggest name on Flickr, hands down. She's responsible for inspiring an enormous new wave of digital photographers. Don't miss her legendary Icelandic horse set.

Trey Ratcliff -- A.K.A Stuck in Customs, Trey is an HDR pioneer and his work is inspiring legions of HDR fanatics. He also publishes online tutorials to get anyone in on the action that wants it..

Soffia Gisladóttir -- Soffia is another top photographer who publishes her methods into tutorials online. These have really opened my eyes into the power of photoshop.

G.Hjöll -- Incredible portraits, all with a very unique style & look.

Julia Fullerton-Batten -- Incredible portraits, some of famous people. Very much fine art, her photos are everywhere.

Andrea Giacobbe -- Surreality in portraits & fashion. Wild.

Helga Kvam -- top notch Icelandic landscape photographer.

Laura Travels -- A great photographer who travels a fair amount. Fantastic landscape photography.

Zena Holloway -- Underwater photography in a completely different direction.

Hamad Darwish -- Another world class photographer. Some of his photos are included with Windows Vista.

Jeff Sullivan -- A huge cache of incredible landscapes. Great talent.

Of course, there's plenty more that I could mention, but simply don't have time. You can find many of them in my Flickr contacts.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Favorite Beer.

This is the best stuff evar.

I've been a fan of fan of both locally produced & hoppy beers for quite some time. Usually, Summit (Maibock or Winter) is my choice for beers, but I've come across something that has angels singing in my ears.

First of all, is it a coincidence that there is a Twin Cities brewery that goes by Surly---and also a Twin Cities bicycle company called Surly bikes? I doubt it.

When I take my first sip of furious, I think hardcore cycling-- whether it's keeping it hipster-real across town on the fixie, an 80 mile hammer ride in spandex on your sleek road bike south of Prescott, or hanging out in the parking lot after 3 consecutive flawless loops in the XX at Lebanon hills, Surly Furious does not let you down on it's aggressive demeanor.

Really though--I think Furious can unite people across all spectrums. A true beer connoisseur will know that someone has paid attention to how this is crafted. There is subtleties & complexities in the flavor that you can read about on the can. There's also the hops. The hops really let you know they are there--like a suckerpunch in the nose. It's almost like drinking gravel, if drinking gravel was something you'd obsess about doing. The hops make me want to beat my chest like a caveman and watch NASCAR. (almost) But telling rural North Dakota rednecks, "Listen; I don't know, you might not be man enough for this," or " this might be a nice accompaniment to rare steak marinated in battery acid" are VALID statements.

Furious could quite possibly bring all walks of American culture together. Except Dick Cheney. That "come together" peace shit doesn't work with him.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Base Training

This Base Training is sheer drudgery.

Last week I put in 9 training hours, this week 10 hours. My training plan for the week ahead calls for 12 hours.

And it's all Zone 2 & Zone 3 Heart Rates.

For me, that's between 148 & 111 BPM. To put it another way, this really doesn't feel like working out. Masturbation feels more aerobic than this, for crying out loud.

How in the world did I actually come to plan this? I've been voraciously reading about Tri training -- The Triathlete's Training Bible, training sections in tri magazines, articles in my weekly mailer from, and even XC ski training articles. From all this gained knowledge, I've crafted a plan that will take me to the Liberty Half Iron & beyond.

In the past, I've never felt like I'd be getting a good training session in unless the intensity was at or above the "I kinda wanna puke right now" level. I've always been the guy at the front of the pack at the Wednesday night rides pushing the pace, sprinting up hills, and being told, "do you think we can keep it under 25mph?, gasp, gasp."

I've now learned that an early base training *at low intensity* has a very specific purpose. Low intensity training allows you to work exclusively in your aerobic zones, thus making your aerobic motors more efficient. This can also have the effect of increasing your lactate threshold--the point at which your body switches from using Oxygen as a primary fuel and switches over to sugars & carbohydrates--producing lactic acid---the chemical that makes your muscles burn. Incidentally, it's also what they consume at this intensity.

After you build a training base, you can then build & peak, pushing your body above the lactic threshold, and teach you anaerobic system to handle this lactic acid more efficiently, and allow you to push harder & faster with greater ease.

Joe Friel's Training bible is the most renouned work on triathlon training, and it's only a fraction of his catalog. He also has a blog.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What I'm doing this summer.

So I'm signed up for just about all the races I'm doing this summer. Base Training has started as of last week. I put in 8 hours, and am hoping to get in 10 this week.

Here's the schedule:

6/8 Bismarck Triathlon (Olympic) -- This is directed by an old HS swim coach, and is a tuneup for the Liberty. I'd like to place top 10.
6/14 Liberty Half Iron goal 5:10
6/28 --volunteering @ the BWood road race.
6/29 Waconia triathlon
7/5 Spectate Minneman. Or go hiking @ the North Shore.
7/12 Timberman (long)
7/20 Heart of the Lakes (long)
7/26 ---Wedding in Montana.
8/3 Brewhouse (long)
8/9 Turtleman (long) Goal: average 24mph or faster on the bike.
9/6 Burrito Union 10 Hour Tri (imperialist relay)

I'm shooting for top 3 in my age group in the Midwest Multisport series.

I'll throw in an MNSCS race or two here & there to mix things up--and I'm moving up to sport class. Likely Races:
5/11 Eriks Spring Cup
6/22 Dirt Spanker. Or Hiking @ the North Shore.
8/24 Border Battle

I may swap the Manitou sprint for the Bismarck race -- we'll see.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Suh-Weet email today.

To: Thork
From: R&D Director
CC: R&D Manager, CEO, COO

RE: New Design

Let's start the paperwork to get this patented.

Monday, March 10, 2008


So last week, while I was trying to get out to Salt Lake to get some skiing in, United Airlines put me on a last minute connection through Denver. I left my gate and hauled ass to my next flight, which would be boarding within about 15 minutes. I got to my gate in ample time, and ended seeing my plane-to-be deboarding.

The first dude that aimlessly stumbles out is dressed like he's going to some hair band theme party, spiky hair coming out of his doo-rag wrapped around his forehead, black leather pants, one of those (totally repressed homosexuality) vests, etc. He's carrying a guitar in a Fender gig bag. I'm thinking to myself -- I've got one of those -- my first electric guitar, a korean-made Squier (piece of crap) came in one of those.

Anyone who has an ounce of respect for his guitar will not carry them in this fabric sack. I wouldn't carry my guitars across the hall in something like that, nonetheless FLY with them in one.

All that information flashes through my head in an instant and I think -- this guy is a) putting on a really good act on the way to this aforementioned party, b) a cover band, or c) a total poser.

c it is, I thought. Even someone who's gone through this much trouble to dress up would have sense to furnish a decent case for his make-believe persona's beloved axe.

Three more dudes dressed much like like him step off the plane. I noticed that they were all kinda dazed, and probably a little too old to be dressed up so retardedly. This is sad. I thought. They've probably been dressing like this since 1985, and nobody's told them how pathetic they look, and they don't have the mental faculty to understand the concept of suicide.

A random dude walks past me and starts talking to these guys as they start kinda "whoa, dude"ing their way to wherever they think they're going.

Eventually they're gone, and the random guy walks up next to me, apparently also on my flight to SLC. The guy says to me "did you see that?" in a starstruck tone.

"Yeah, what cover band was that?"

"The L.A Guns"

Ha. That's a name I recognize. These are the guys that essentially split up to form Guns n' Roses. The first guy that walked past me was effectively superseded by Slash in the mid-80's.

My first instinct told me that they were pathetic douches. These guys, instead of retiring, blew every dime on coke back in the 80's, and have to tour today to make enough money to support their coke habit in 2008 US dollars. They're probably wearing the same clothes they were wearing in 1986. That's why they can't afford a decent guitar case--they're blowing all their cash on dust.....coke & makeup.

Some of you might say, "hey man, that's rock & roll" I say.......No. That's loserdom. Playing shithole semi-suburban bars in front of 65 people paying a $6 cover (but not attention to your performance) is a more sad demise than living off a Walmart greeter's salary at age 95. If they actually rocked, they'd a) still be snorting coke off groupies' tits in an LA mansion like Iggy Pop, b) have OD'd back in 1991 when Eddie & Kurt rendered their entire vapid genre obsolete, c) still be kicking ass in the present day like Henry Rollins.

God Damn. Henry Rollins is awesome.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I <3 Telemarking

That's Telemarking, not Telemarketing.

Some friends were in town this weekend and wanted to go snowboarding. I took them out to Afton, but since I'm not a doofy snowboarder that sits in the middle of the piste and goes in terrain parks, and coupled with the fact that I just spent 3 days killing it in Utah, I wanted to try something different.

So I rented Telemark Skis.

This is something I've never done, but have always wanted to try. Whenever I'm ripping it in the steep & deep on a powder day, I'll always notice that I'm surrounded by telemark skiiers, and it's just something I had to try.

Anyways, I took about 5 minutes getting my boots into the bindings, awkwardly reaching around to my heels, looking around to see what I was doing. I saw the nearest lift was the bunny lift. Since I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, I took it up. I took 2 turns, quickly learning where my weight has to be distributed. I fell on my 3rd turn, and the binding popped. It was easy to click back in. I got up and headed towards a normal lift. Later I found that a little bit of speed & gravity makes skiing easier.

I figured things out pretty quickly, and I was having a lot of fun despite how slow I was going. I finally found my friends and we took some a run together. They were going pretty fast and I decided to speed things up a bit. I fell really hard onto my hip. I slowly got up, and skiied down.

I progressively got better, still skiing greens & blues, (which are actually greens & super greens anywhere else) getting m0re excited on each run. This is fun.

I took one more hard fall onto the same hip. I've got a pretty nice bruise there this morning.

By the end of the day, I was comfortable going down the steepest stuff at Afton, including some of the very narrow "steep" pistes. During my last runs, I was taking long, sweeping turns on the big "blacks." If you're an attention whore, this will get you some attention. People will definitely notice you (at least if you're far from concentrations of telemarkers)

I'm not comfortable with speeds that I'm used to on my alpine skis, but it was really entertaining. The snow was chewed up from all the skiiers that day, but since it was cold all day, it was a 2" sheet of dusty powder, so I was blasting a big white cloud behind my ski on each turn. This felt awesome--it had an organic feel that I've never experienced on other downhill skies.

I'll definitely telemark again.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Epic day at Alta

So I've kinda decided that Alta & Snowbird are the only places that I want to ski in Utah. I was in Utah last weekend, and we skied Alta on Sunday.

We got up early and got breakfast at McDonalds--gross, but fast. The place was vacant at 8am. We knew why a few minutes after we left; there was an beginningless line on Wasatch blvd lining up to Little Cottonwood Canyon. We later found out that the road was closed at 6am, but we waited for 45 minutes before traffic really started to move. Jeremy took a nap in the front seat.

We pulled into the parking lot at about 10:15am--an hour late! If there's anything on the planet that gets me excited, it is the crack, rumble & echo of avalanche cannons. I was jumping in my ski boots in the parking lot like a 5 year old--impatient for B-Lo to get his gear on. The snow was falling fast, and I had my gear on & ready to go in an instant.

Rumor had it that there was 17" overnight, and it didn't let up at all anytime all day. If we got less than 20", I'd be surprised.(Official storm report says 18")

We jumped on Collins-- Ballroom/Baldy Shoulder was closed despite numerous slides from the chutes above on Mt. Baldy's peak, so we crossed immediately over to the sugarloaf side, dropping into fresh off the traverse, and took several runs along that lift. Once the Greeley gully opened, I dropped in, B-Lo and JR behind me. We had to pole for a while, and this had JR yelling explicatives....he fiercely loathes poling. I got a little ahead of them, and somehow B-Lo lost both of us. JR went Bugs Bunny in some deep powder, and inhaled some snow. Someone helped dig him out, after letting go of a pole. He had to rake the apparently 4ft deep snow with a ski to find his pole. Meanwhile, I waited, saw him, and dropped through a chute. Face shots like crazy. I took a tumble and got back up, lapping up the expanses of fresh snow. "Is there snow out there?" someone in the lifeline behind me joked.

I think JR liked it a little more than he acknowledged, despite his Copper Mountain fetish. His main qualm was the fact that it was difficult to get around with some of the flat spots.
JR and I found B-Lo as we were on our first lift up Supreme. He budged up the line to find two people without a third and we took my favorite line--No. 9 to the White squaw notch. That place looks flatter and flatter each time I ski it--I charged through it this time.
We headed over to Catherine's Area and found some tree-bowl combinations. This place is phenomenal, and we could've spent all day there, but the shots right along the lift line were calling my name. We went back and went slightly skiiers left of the Supreme lift line. I dropped down one of the steepest chutes I've ever had the balls to ride, and was rewarded by some fresh turns below the neck. I saw a small rock face off to the right near some trees and decided to jump off it. I did, but there was less cushion than I expected, and bailed on the landing. I left some nice scratches on the bases of my rented Atomic Metrons. I'm getting real powder boards next time.

It was lunchtime, and JR needed food. He planned on not seeing us again, and we took one last run off Catherines before heading back to the Collins side, since the ballroom had just opened. We hit the top of Sugarloaf and were almost blown to the ground. The traverse back to Collins was closed, so we went to the bottom of Sugarloaf and grabbed the surface lift back. JR thought this thing was the best thing since sliced bread. I spent most of the ride trying to skate faster, but my legs were getting fatigued.

Ballroom had already been tracked. Later on, B-Lo and I hit collins and once we neared the top of the lift, we saw Jeremy skiing deep stuff under the liftline. We met up with him and skiied some steep trees, still hitting plenty of knee deep+ pow.

JR decided after a few more runs that he was done. I came and sat with him for a while outside to rest while B-Lo did another run. I didn't see him when he came down, so I took a run over to High Rustler. Even at 2:30, it was still powdery & soft--and challenging as always, especially given the condition of my legs. There was another guy pretty close to me that looked like he was hurting as bad as me. We could only take a few turns at a time going down--he mentioned that it wasn't such a great idea to be riding it this late in the day, and although I agreed, this is the run you can't miss at Alta--a 1000ft+ vertical sustained at 44degrees...

I found B-Lo after that run, and we spent my last few runs doing loops with B-Lo on the top half of Collins on the steeps & trees. I was still flying through sections where the snow was deeper than my knees. My legs couldn't handle more than a few turns at a time, and I fell a couple times, quads atrophied from the day of intense skiing.

I finally gave up and took my last run into Wildcat base. The snow was still falling so hard that you could barely see the top the High Rustler.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I hate leaving Alta

Even when it looks like this as you leave the canyon.

We had yet another epic day at Alta, and the view as we left was nothing short of spectacular.