Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Megasnow Again


Snow Joe electric snowblower. Back in the 80s electric snowblowers were weak, but the modern ones will move pretty deep snow, as long as you don't abuse them.

Current situation: deep enough to break out the snowblower. I normally just manually push less deep snow with a Manplow brand blade. I've kind of struggled with the snowblower in the past, but I think I've figured out how to use it without getting it clogged or overheated. The good thing about it is that since it is electric, it is:

a.) lighter than a gasoline powered snowblower

b.) does not require small engine maintenance

c.) does not require noxious, smelly petroleum products

My neighbor had a battery-powered version and he wore it out in a single year, but I think I know why. He wasn't using it correctly. You can't force it into the snow. This overburdens motor, belt, and the rest of the system. You just have to let it eat the snow and make sure the snow is clearing out of the "spout/chute" before pushing forward. If you use it correctly, it's MUCH easier than shoveling. Mine is a plug-in model. I could've afforded the battery powered Snow Joe but I didn't want to worry about replacing batteries.

I'm not sure how much snow we've gotten here, but the snowblower supposedly can eat 11 inches and it was already nearly overwhelmed this morning, and it snowed all day after my first run. I think there was at least another 4 to 6 inches at the end of the day.

I'm ready for spring.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Days Off

Taking it easy in front of the fireplace. I can't keep that rug clean, and you can see why.

My employer officially encourages people to take a day off every pay period. This is because they have to reserve the "money" to pay for the Paid Time Off (PTO) anyway, and they are basically paying double if you keep working. If you have a day off and work instead, they have to pay for both the day off and the day of labor. It's better for the company if the employees take their days off.

Funny thing: it's better for the employees too. At least I feel better if I take a day off every pay period (two weeks). Somehow I got out of the habit last year. I think it was because I planned some travel late in the year. I simply stopped taking PTO.

It's started getting on my nerves though, to not have any three day weekends to look forward to, so I have resumed the habit of reserving Fridays and Mondays off. It feels great!

I earn PTO at a fast enough rate anyway, that I can do this and still accumulate time. I earn more than one day per pay period. If you are employed by someone other than yourself, and you don't get a PTO benefit like this, I suggest finding an employer who provides it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Super Bowl Advertisements, Cincinnati, etc


By Johann Schwarz from Gumpoldskirchen - TryoutĂ–JNT_2 (217) archive copy, CC BY 2.0,

From social media I can tell some of my friends and acquaintances still watch the Super Bowl as much to watch the TV commercial advertisements as for the game, maybe more. I can remember when I was a kid I looked forward to the ads, but now it seems silly and gullible (hey, I'm opinionated in case you haven't noticed). When you watch commercials you are exposing yourself to marketing techniques based upon human psychology. Why do that? Yes, some of them are thoroughly entertaining, but I'm not going to go out of my way to see them.

As for the game, I slightly favored the Rams and therefore enjoyed the outcome. It's just that Matthew Stafford was stuck in Detroit for so many years, and I always thought he was capable of winning a Super Bowl if he played for a franchise that solved the riddle. Good for him. I don't specifically hate the Bengals or anything, nor do I love Los Angeles, but I've been to or through Cincinnati a few times, and it's an inexplicably grimy, unattractive city. Of course it isn't all bad, but it epitomizes the rust belt and is hard to love.

I upheld my annual tradition of cooking homemade onion rings instead of watching the halftime show (I hate most halftime shows) but they didn't turn out as well as usual. I was impatient and didn't wait for them to get crispy enough. Live and learn. Same thing for the Bengals.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Missing Person

The rise at center is an ancient lava vent and a site of past encampment.

I received a missing person / silver alert in my text messages the other day. An older lady diagnosed with dementia wandered off from her home. She'd taken many walks before on the trails in her neighborhood, adjacent to mine across a two lane highway, but didn't return. She was gone overnight. It's winter here.

I found the text when I woke and it gnawed at me until I finally decided I should search an area of pine forest near my house. It was on the wrong side of historic Route 66 but less than a mile away and I couldn't stand the thought of it remaining unsearched, so I message my manager that I would be away from my desk for 20 minutes, put on my boots and went for a walk.

Technically I was trespassing, but I decided to worry about the consequences in the event that they arrived and went anyway.

Abandoned clothing in one of the former homeless camps. It's been there a while.

I didn't find her, but I did find signs of several homeless camps around the handful of ancient lava vents. She was found and returned home by an alert citizen around the same time I was searching the woods. I don't regret taking the time to look. When it comes to ethics, you can't leave behind doubts about how you handled a situation.

Friday, February 11, 2022


Northern Arizona in winter. It was a good day sliding downhill on a snowboard.

I think I've got 5 trips on my annual lift pass at the local ski resort. I've had so much trouble taking advantage of the investment that I decided to arrange a day off work to go. It was a beautiful, blue sky day, with temps in town above 60 Fahrenheit, around the low to mid 50s at the parking lot. It was a pretty good day for riding. I prefer the warm days even though it destroys the snow base. We haven't gotten much precipitation since late December and spring is shaping up to be high fire danger. The snowpack is pathetic right now, but I have high hopes for March. It's often a snowy month in Flagstaff, even in dry years.

My right snowboard binding had some issues. That's part of why I've been skiing instead. I've had spare parts on my Amazon shopping list for a couple of months but never got around to ordering so this morning I improvised a solution involving a screw, washer, and nut. So far it has performed well.

I'm still overweight and out of shape, and I got into another hypoxic state at the end of the day. It took me two or three hours to recover. But I've been exercising since mid-January and I think I'm going to have a good year for fitness. Right now I'm motivated to get back in shape. I need to. I'm not getting any younger.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Infinity Spinning

My messy garage with my Wahoo Kickr setup. I'd like to sell the fishing boat if possible. I don't use it and it would free up some floor space.

My skiing and snowboarding malaise continues. I'm simply not going. But in January I got back on track for running and bicycling. It's bitterly cold here right now so that means I'm stuck in the garage spinning on my bike trainer. It's ok as long as I have a laptop open in front of me with something interesting playing. Not my favorite form of exercise but it's getting the job done.