Tuesday, July 29, 2014

More Disc Golf

I think I already mentioned this, but I just wanted to say a few more words on our disc golf adventures. We went to two courses down around Concord and they were both nice, one more than the other. The Deven course still kind of blows my mind not only in size, but in terms of how nicely it was made. They went to great lengths to groom the course and make every aspect really nice. Plus, it had 36 holes, which is pretty amazing when you get down to it. The course cut through the forest and hills, so it took a lot of effort. Each tee had a platform and hole description, and the paths were clearly marked. Even though we were in the forest, finding the discs was not a problem, not like at the course near us, where we constantly lose discs in the tall grass. And I mean constantly. The Deven course was like going on a hike as well, because it was fairly rigorous following the course up and down the hills. I can't say enough (clearly) about how impressed I was with it.

The Burlington (MA) course was much more low key, but again, it was nicely done. The tee platforms were not as nicely done, but they did have hole descriptions and this course went through the woods, as well, though it was basically a city park, smack in the middle of the suburbs. For a city park, they sure had some big trees. I enjoyed the course except for the traffic noise. The park did have a skate park, however, so when we were done, N rode his bike and scooter for a bit. The woman who I believe helps run the rec department there asked us what we thought of the course and if we had any feedback, which I thought was nice.

Since the Burlington course was in the middle of civilization, we had access to certain life necessities, like a place to get refreshments, as well as a Bank of America, which is my bank. They are very hard to find around us, and tend to be more prevalent in civilized areas. Maybe it's time to find a new bank.

It was a nice day of disc golf. We went back to the hotel for a swim, which worked out beautifully because the sun was scorching by that time. One of the few times I like it when it's hot.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Andrew Meglis for the pic.

Discovering New Mountains

We love to hike and usually go to the same place every time (Mt. Tom) and have a picnic at the summit. This time around, we decided to try something different and went to Mt. Ascutney. It used to be a fairly decent sized ski hill that went belly-up and now I'm not sure what's going on with it. It's a shame because the hill is pretty close to us, and I was told it was a friendly place to ski. The resort still functions and there are hiking and mountain biking trails, but it would be nice to ski there. Plus, we have many friends who live in that area.

I'd heard a lot about hiking Mt. Ascutney, and was told you could get a 360 degree view of the entire valley at the top, so we decided to go for it, much to N's chagrin. He always gets crabby at the thought of going on a hike, and then has fun, only to get crabby again the next time. Sometimes we have to force the issue. The hiking trail was actually in a different place than the ski hill, which threw me off. I'm guessing the mountain is big, maybe even a range of peaks, because it sure seemed as if we were nowhere near the resort. In fact, until we reached the trailhead, I was convinced I got the directions wrong and we were in the wrong place.

We landed at the right spot, however, and again, I was struck by how far it seemed from the actual ski hill. The trail head was fairly busy, with numerous cars, and we saw a bunch hikers along the trail. When we climb Mt. Tom, we usually see nobody. I think Mt. Ascutney attracts more city folks and people from further away, because I sensed a more urban element, and perhaps a slightly rougher edge, i.e., tattoos and cigarettes.

We headed up the hill and even though he griped endlessly about going, N took the lead with A and they shot up like rockets. I realize I'm getting old, but I can't keep up with those guys. The hike was nice, the mountain is beautiful and even though we didn't even get close to the top (it's over 3 miles one way), we had nice views. We made it as far as the Cascade Falls, which were nice even though the flow was low. I'm guessing around spring the falls are pretty impressive. At some point we decided to head back, even though N was ready to keep pushing on.

I have to say, it was nice. I'd like to hike it more often, it's more challenging than Mt. Tom, and maybe a little more interesting. Plus, we barely scratched the surface of all the hiking it has to offer.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Zane Hollingsworth for the pic.

Skate Shopping

After three years it looks like N will need new hockey skates. I will say this, we got our money's worth on those skates. They were fairly high-end but we got them at a massive clearance sale online, so I guess you get what you pay for. We are at the stage where really cheap hockey gear is no longer an option. Maybe for certain things, but with skates, it's better to get a decent pair.

We were at Stateline just browsing at skates and we found a pair he likes. What's cool is that he's excited about getting new skates, and he's usually pretty reserved. We won't get them now, the season is a few months away, but at least we have a target to keep our eyes on, i.e., I can scour the websites and sporting goods for amazing deals. You never know.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to starfire for the pic.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Lost Weekend

Or should I say, lost week? We had a crazy week, at least for me, and as a consequence, I got nothing done on the barn or for that matter, on the home front. A blip in my real man training, I guess. Mon and Tue were shot because we traveled down to Concord, and Wed we had the market. Thu was the only day we stayed home, so I got a little work done, but then on Fri A got a last minute invitation to 6 Flags Great Adventure. Her track buddy invited her since they have season passes, and of course A was thrilled. Not wanting N to feel left out, he and I headed to Killington to ride mountain bikes and get in a round of disc golf, both of which were a lot of fun and worked out beautifully, but more on that later.

On Sat N had her final track meet up in St. Johnsbury, and Sun I spent most of the day making falafels, with UF in the afternoon. I know I shouldn't whine because we had a really fun week, but I got very little done on the real-man front, and when you're training to be a real-man, the last thing you want is an interruption in your learning, especially when there are barns to be built, firewood to split, and garden/yards to be maintained. Oh yeah, there's a glorious writing career to think of, as well.

Looks like I'll have to make up for lost time this week. We'll see how that goes.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Matt Bilton for the pic.

Fun with Ultimate

UF has been going nicely this season, though last weekend the group was on the smaller side with many regulars not showing up. This always happens, but fortunately we have a fairly big core group that shows up. The pros get bored and stop coming, while the neophytes and recreational-ists still manage to have a good time.

I'm glad this is the case because we all really love UF and it's a nice community thing. When else do you ever get to see your neighbors? People of my generation grew up in neighborhoods and there was always something to do. This is not the case for us, and I know it's not simply because we live in the country. People just don't get out as much, for a number of reasons I won't get into.

I'm hoping the crowds will continue well into the summer/fall, because not only is it fun, but it's great exercise and one of the few times I will run barefoot in the grass. I'm getting the most of my country-living experience.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Theresa Brent for the pic.

Almost a Copywriter

I almost became a copywriter with this job that came up, but some red flags came up when they responded to my query from the get-go, and things sort of went south from there. The pay was terrible, but I'm not above working for peanuts, at least at this stage. One of the biggest issues was that they wanted me to sign a contract that stipulated for me to produce a fair amount of work each day, and that I would guarantee this level of production. I think I could manage it even though it was a lot, but the thing that got me was the contract. I didn't see anything in the form of an exit clause, and I was wary of getting locked into something that was beyond my abilities where legal action might ensue. I had a lawyer friend look at it and he said two things: the pay was terrible, and there was concern about what would happen if I couldn't produce the prodigious amounts the required. I emailed the recruiter and she was very nice and said the job would end when I felt like it ended, but it didn't say that anywhere in the contract. As my lawyer friend said, it it's not in writing, then it isn't so.

Either way, I chickened out. I could regret it, but I don't want any legal issues haunting me right now. If there were no contracts involved, I'd do it. Oh well, time will tell. For now, the hunt for the dream job continues.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Tim Hamilton for the pic.

Golf Appreciation

I have become more philosophical about golf lately, and like everything in life, when you take your time and give it more thought, it makes it more enjoyable. I think N approaches his hobbies this way, he's very into the process and thought behind what he is doing. It's interesting to see, he's a student of whatever piques his interest, and he enjoys the process of understanding the mechanics of what he is doing.

With golf, I used to just approach it with brute force and try to hit the ball as hard as I could, the goal being to drive it farther and farther. Just recently, I tried to calm things down a bit and be more thoughtful, and like all things in life, it was more enjoyable. When you try to make the most of the journey rather than focusing on the end result, you get more out of it. Why can't we learn (re-learn?) these sort of things? Either way, I think the same goes for disc golf, if you can put some thought into what you're doing and try to make the most of the process, the game becomes challenging in a fun way. You definitely appreciate the subtleties of what's going on, and that's what life is all about, right?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Brian for the pic.