Tuesday, January 30, 2007

For example, e.g. and i.e.

As a public service of the newly-formed Grammar Police, it seems proper to educate in addition to citing the grammatically challenged (myself included).

Many errors are so common that the incorrect usage is more commonplace than the correct grammar. For example:

e.g. and i.e.

When you mean "for example," use e.g. It is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase exempli gratia. When you mean "that is," use "i.e." It is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase id est. Either can be used to clarify a preceding statement, the first by example, the second by restating the idea more clearly or expanding upon it. Because these uses are so similar, the two abbreviations are easily confused. If you just stick with good old English "for example" and "that is" you won’t give anyone a chance to sneer at you. If you insist on using the abbreviation, perhaps "example given" will remind you to use "e.g.," while "in effect" suggests "i.e."

Since e.g. indicates a partial list, it is redundant to add "etc." at the end of a list introduced by this abbreviation.
Source: Common Errors in English, Dr. Paul Brians, Washington State University Department of English

Monday, January 29, 2007

Where's the Grammar Police?

Horseshoe Bend, Idaho, January 28, 2007
The sign says it all doesn't it? Actually, what is it trying to say? I'm lost.

Where's the Grammar Police when you need them?

My father aways told me he wanted a job as a member of the Grammar Police. In his mind, the Grammar Police troll the streets looking for large signs whose grammatical foibles make the populace dumber.

A list of violations might include:
  • Creative word substitutions
  • Spelling like a duck
  • Dyslexic vowels
  • Punctually absent
  • Appalling apostrophes
  • Inadvertent colectomy
  • Incomplete sentences
  • Diarrhetic sentences
  • Doltish abbreviations
  • Verbing nouns
  • Clichés and vapidity
I see this developing further. A website like Engrish perhaps, but for the grammatically challenged?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Finnish Bluegrass

About a year ago Boing Boing turned me on to these kids in Finland making bluegrass.

I can hear my Appalachian friends groaning.

Give it a listen before you judge. I don't have a clue what they're singing, but I find myself singing along.

Five of their tracks are available for download on their website. I especially enjoy Matkalla etelään.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Night Ride

Koot (lower left) and Shel illuminated

Just got back from a great night ride on frozen trails. Boise looks incredible from the foothills at night. It reminds me of my college days climbing up Mt. Sentinel to the "M". Life is good.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Turn and Cough

Largely, I don't believe in doctors. When we have a cold or minor infection we go to physicians way too often. If given a week, we'd heal on our own. In fact, I'd argue half the recoveries we credit to drugs are actually our bodies healing naturally. The use of drugs makes us weaker for when our bodies truly need the assistance. There are clearly exceptions.

Today I had to go to a doctor for a work physical. This would be my first doctor visit in a year. Near the end of the exam he asked me if there was any problems that were bothering me. I said, "Now that you mention it my back has been giving me pain between my shoulder blade and spine." He ran his finger down my spine, told me to lay back and cross my arms. He then had me start to sit up and he wrapped his hands around me twisted my upper body. My back cracked rather violently three times in quick succession. The doctor added, "Yep, you had a couple ribs out of alignment. It should hurt for the next couple of days but as long as you don't tweak it again it will be fine."

Good, good. Now that's some sound 10 second doctoring. I was stunned. I didn't even know ribs could get out of alignment. Vertebrae yes, but ribs?

Navigating the North End

Spending so much time on a bicycle causes me to really abhor driving especially stop signs and red lights, two traffic features I tend to ignore when pedaling.

Consequently, I was delighted a few weeks ago to discovered the secret of navigating Boise's North End. If you turn at every street without a stop sign you can drive through the North End without stopping!

There is of course two minor hitches:

  • You must drive through the North End at diagonals
  • Major streets such as Harrison Blvd and 13th violate the rule

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Bull Trout Point

Heading up to the summit
From Michael's Photos
Michael invited me to tag along with him and his neighbor Chad up to Bull Trout Point on Saturday. Though he titled it backcountry skiing, I think winter climbing would prove a more accurate descriptor. The two of them were on tele-skis with skins, myself on snowshoes with my board strapped to my back.

The whole trip took an entire day. We left at 5:30 and didn't get back into town until after 7PM. We spent about 4 1/2 hours climbing and a little over 2 hours skiing/schlogging down. It was absolutely gorgeous above the treeline.

I've scraped Chad's trip summary off his blog at offhegoes.net:

We found the trailhead, got our stuff together and head out across the open meadow snowfields at about 6200 ft. [map]

The route.

Heading in across the snowfields.

We followed someone else’s snowshoe tracks through the woods and eventually found our way to the ridge and started ascending. We made it to the tree line and had a great view of the valley to the south.

Michael and Brent weaving through the trees. Brent’s snowboard made for some interesting navigation through the low-hanging branches.

The view toward Copper Mountain.

Michael and I scoping out the bowl.

Eventually, we made it to a steeper face on the ridge. Once we got up that, the hike was pretty mellow, following the sometimes narrow ridgeline. The wind on the ridge was blowing pretty hard and some large cornices had developed that were pretty cool to look at. As we got onto the ridge, the sun came out and we had blue skies for a while.

Michael and Brent heading up the ridge.

The beginning of the cornice.

Looking up the ridge toward one of the peaks we would traverse.

Brent on one of wind formations.

At one point, we got to a large wind drift that blocked the whole ridgeline. It was probably 6 or 7 ft. tall. We had to cut a path up it and after some stumbling and falling over we all eventually made it up.

Trying to get over the drift.

Looking into one of the north facing bowls.

Pink Sawtooth Granite and snow.

Heading up the ridge with the summit in sight.

Michael at the top (elevation 9000 ft. according to my watch/altimeter).

Summit shot.

Self portrait in my goggles.

After digging a pit and debating our route down, we dropped the face into the bowl. The snow was great. It had a breakable crust layer about 3 inches down that made for some burning quads. Still pretty fun though.

Our tracks down the face.

Eventually, we made it back down to the flats and had a nice 1.5 mile schlog out back to the car. We drove back to Boise just as it was getting dark having seen the sunrise and set in the mountains.

Hiking out through one of the burn areas.

Photo Albums:

View Chad's Photos

View Michael's Photos

(There's some great shots in here)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Happy Shelmas

Stolle Meadows Cabin and outbuildings
I rented a cabin up in Stolle Meadows over the long weekend to celebrate a belated Shelmas. We were blessed with great weather, fabulous hot springs and wintertime merriment. Shel and the powder hounds approved.

View Photoset

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I Love my Commute

Crossing the Boise River this morning.
It snowed this morning and it made my commute all the more enjoyable. How many people can say that? I love this town.
  • Where else can your bicycle commute be nearly faster than driving? (And it will be if I get a road bike)
  • Where else can you commute by bicycle year round?
  • Where else can you bicycle commute not cross any roads? (Ok, I cross a couple residential streets in the first blocks leaving my house, but the last 3.5 miles from there are exclusively on bike/pedestrian paths.)
  • And where else can you stop to enjoy families of ducks and mergansers swimming, geese flying in formation and herons fishing while traveling through a major city on your way to work?
It's not all cake and ice cream though, I did nearly have an accident in the snow this morning. A black cat attempted to cross my path (quite a sight on a white snow-covered landscape) and nearly went under my tire. Luckily*, at the last second the cat veered off and dove into a bush.
* Pun intended

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Happy Danes

I go through life continually expecting the worst only to be constantly delighted when things work out.

I call it pessimistic optimism:
First you accept Murphy's Law to be true. If it holds, you're not surprised. If it fails, you're downright tickled. Life becomes win-win.

Turns out that low expectations just may just be a key to happiness.

A short article in today's New York Times reports that people in Denmark are happier than any other Western country. The reason? They don't expect good things to happen to them as much as people in other countries do, and when something good does happen, they're thrilled.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Worth the Price in P-Tex

Pebble, our trip's salvation
The original idea was pretty flawless. Ski Schweitzer and celebrate New Year’s Eve by dancing to the Clumsy Lovers. Then right before we left we checked the web. No new snow at Schweitzer, Clumsy Lovers tickets are $40 and sold out.

Time for a new plan. We were left with either Bachelor or Utah and neither had new snow.

We decided on Utah. We should have known better.

We drove all night and slept in the car. We awoke to bare spots on the runs and hordes of poeple. There was no solitude at Solitude. Folks weren’t even having a good time for their $55.

About the only joy I found at Solitude was humping the turnstiles. In order to improve the "skiing" experience they'd installed RFID tags in the passes so to get on a lift you had to slam your body against a gate until the light turned green and the turnstile unlocked. Here's an experience I'd definitely define as "a state or quality of being alone or remote from others."

Finally, at the end of the day, I stumbled into really small powder stash we spent the last hour ravishing, but soon four o’clock hit and everyone rolled up the carpets and left.

My board was trashed from the bare spots, ripped in one spot down to the wood underneath my heel and we were left to find some way to salvage New Year’s Eve. Again we were faced with a decision, Salt Lake City or Park City for New Year’s Eve? New Year’s Eve being a Sunday, we opted for Park City.

We enjoyed a good dinner in Park City, but with $78 lift tickets and cover charges of $25, $35 and $50 to get into bars with no bands we were horribly out of place. At 11 PM after forking out $10 each to get into what turned out to be a dive filled with snobs we had had enough.

I turned to Michael and said, “Pebble.”

He thought a fraction of a second and nodded.

South Bowl, worth the price in P-Tex
So off we went through the night, sleeping in a Flying J parking lot after midnight and arriving at Pebble Creek early in the morning to a light dusting of snow. The people were real, the snow fine, the tree skiing excellent and South Bowl was simply glorious.

View Photoset