'Tis that time of year again, when a young boy's fancy turns to thoughts of driving long distances to eat fatty foods. We're leaving for Phoenix tomorrow morning. Provided we can actually make it out of the Willamette Valley, it should be a fairly uneventful trip. Bit of a blow happening here today which will undoubtedly dump massive amounts of snow on the Siskiou Pass and close I-5, thus necessitating chains, 4WD, and mountain skillz. At least with our luck.

But that said, the Nitro is a motherfucking beast. (It's a Jeep Commander with a better body and interior, essentially.) So I don't anticipate any problems that can't be managed.

After Phoenix, it's to L.A. for a couple days w/ the Beesons and my sister's family, and then home again. I will update as appropriate.

I was half-way up the 6-odd mile road to Timberline Lodge from the highway (literally driving up the side of Mt. Hood, which is a neat trick no matter how you look at it) and I decided "fuck it, I'm going to Meadows instead. A quick call to the Elle Randall Sno-Report (powered by Google) confirmed the conditions, I whipped a bitch in the middle of the road, and powered the extra 10 miles to Meadows.

There's no particular reason for this, at least not based on actual conditions. Mt. Hood Meadows and Timberline Lodge are, after all, on the same mountain (two of the six ski areas at Hood) and have pretty much the same snow and the same weather. In fact, from the Mt. Hood Express lift at Meadows you can clearly see the Palmer Lift at Timberline, and you could easily ski from one area to another. (Snowboarding from one to another might involve a bit of hiking, but I suppose it is possible as well.)

But the differences, while subtle, are important. First off, Timberline is closer to Portland (10 miles closer) and thus hard to pass up for the Portland afternoon ski bunny. They already had to drive by Ski-Bowl, Ski-Bowl West, and Summit to get to Timberline. Asking them to pass that up and go all the way to Meadows is a tough thing to do. So Timberline is more crowded.

The second difference, which you could only really tell by going to both areas, is more important. Timberline is on the south face of Mt. Hood, while Meadows is on the east face. The south face has a gentle slope, so the runs at Timberline tend to be pretty much straight lines. The east slope is much steeper, so the runs at Meadows switch back a lot. This sound dumb, but at a large resort with high speed lifts, consider this. It takes you about 10 minutes to get from the bottom of Timberline to the top on the high-speeds, and it takes about 8 minutes to go the 1.5 miles to back to the bottom, unless you dilly-dally. So you spend more time on the lift than on your board(s) at Timberline. The runs at Meadows, with all their switchbacks, are shorter as the crow flies, but much, much longer in actual distance travelled. So you can take about the same 10 minutes to get from bottom to top (this is trickier at Meadows, since the whole resort is staggered) but it easily takes 20 minutes to get to the bottom, up to a half an hour if you meander.

So, at Meadows, you get that Holy Of Holies at a ski area: you spend more time on your board(s) than on the lift. And that's why it's better.

(Timberline has a far, far better lodge, and much better food, but if you're gonna sit in the lodge eating all day, why the fuck don't you just stay in Portland and go to a restaurant?)

Anyways, I guess I didn't need to justify my decision to the vast majority of you that don't live within a couple hours of Mt. Hood, but if you ever visit here in the winter (and why wouldn't you want to, really?) you'll be armed with Local Knowledge. Long story short, I'm a bit sore as a result of being slightly (heh) out of shape, but all in all a fun day. Next snowboarding day will be in Arizona, oddly enough.

Anyways, I came home and found out we got a new cat. "Accidentally," I guess it "just showed up." Mmm-hmmm. Oh, and I got a speeding ticket. My first in Oregon since I was a teenager. Whee.

'Tis The Season...
posted December 14, 2007 by Chris Randall

That's right, kids. It has now snowed enough in (certain parts of) Oregon to break out teh snowboard and hit the slopes. Tomorrow will be my first time back since my rather tragic accident in which the toenail of my left big toe met its untimely demise c. March. Hoodoo, my local ski area, isn't open yet (not enough of the white stuff down here) so I have to drag ass all the way to Timberline. Either that or go to Bachelor, and Bachelor doesn't have shit all for snow that machines didn't make, plus I actually have to drive right by Hoodoo to get there, and that just seems wrong.

So, Timberline it is, unless I'm feeling especially sparky and decide to go all the way to Meadows, but that's unlikely, because I'm rarely sparky at 7 in the blessed AM.

posted December 12, 2007 by Chris Randall

Callisto is officially finished. (For the second time.) Or at least the recording and mixing is. The next two tasks on the table are mastering and cover art. I'm gonna work on the latter for the time being, and master when we get back from our Holiday Trip to Phoenix. So you can expect a shiny new Micronaut record some time in mid- to late-January.

The next order of business is to begin writing some new CR stuff. I will put up frequent videos of the progress on that. I'm going to do things a bit differently this time; the next album will be a mixture of high-tech programmed stuff and the lo-tech pots-n-pans vibe of the first album. Whether it works or not will certainly be open to interpretation, but you'll be able to see most of it as I do it. Or at least the laying tracks part. The mixing part is fairly uninteresting, as it largely consists of me staring at a computer screen, occasionally swearing.

Simultaneous to this, Wade and I will be doing a new Scanalyzer record. We may try to get Dean in on the mix, if he can learn to love the noise.

So that's the outlook for 2008 on my front.

Highway Lights
posted December 8, 2007 by Chris Randall
Highway Lights

We went down to the Mohawk River valley and Eugene today to have a browse around. Fairly nice in that valley, I have to say. Found one house in Marcola that might be a keeper; it's in our price range and a top-to-bottom remodel. I held the shutter open on the way back home.

posted December 6, 2007 by Chris Randall
I just got done skimming this article in the Grey Lady, and I have to say that this is just the kind of shit that gets under my skin. I really find it tedious that these people, Senators and Governors and the like, have to spend ridiculous amounts of time and money convincing a few thousand people in Iowa and New Hampshire that they're Joe-fucking-Six Pack.

Quite frankly, I find it suspicious when a person that should have a bit of class, and certainly has a bit of money, can find such joy out of getting mustard on their tie. "Look at me! I'm just like you! Except I have a bank account with several million dollars in it!" You're a fucking senator, for the love of christ. Act like one. If I wanted my next door neighbor to be a senator or the president, I'd vote for him. (His name is Ike, and he isn't that bright, but a nice guy. I don't think he'd make a very good member of the school board, let alone the president of the United States.)

Just A Test...
posted December 5, 2007 by Chris Randall

Just testing hotlinking directly to my Flickr account. Admire the bright lights and pretty colors, then go ahead and ignore this.

Web 2.0 Fuck Yeah!
posted December 4, 2007 by Chris Randall
In the interests of absolutely swamping the world with data, I've gone ahead and made a Flickr account. I am merrily uploading masses of photos right now (their interface is quite nice in this regard) but it'll take me a while to tag things with meaningful information.

In any event, I haven't quite figured out how to interface Flickr with the rest of the world, but this appears to be the link I'm supposed to give out. I'll be adding photos throughout the day. Only the Cloud ones are from the new camera. The vast majority are from my old Panasonic, which is not a DSLR. I tend to do mild editing to almost every picture I take, usually just contrast and such, or amping the color a bit.

But if you were curious as to how I see the world, that's a good place to start.

EDIT: Okay, I've uploaded a metric fuckton of pictures to that account. I just went back through the last two years of iPhoto rolls and grabbed ones I thought looked interesting enough to share. Now that I have a bad-ass camera (as opposed to a pretty good one) I imagine the volume of images available to upload will increase significantly. But there you go. I don't suppose you were expecting pictures of Al Jorgenson or something, were you?

posted December 4, 2007 by Chris Randall

And they said Chicago is windy. Har har har. Remember the storm we had this time last year, when we lost power for five days? Apparently it's an annual occurrence. This one wasn't as bad for us in particular, but in general it was worse than last year's. Lots of flooding, including one of the towns we were thinking of buying a house in, Vernonia. Their shit is fucked up right now, like Katrina fucked. The coast got hit the hardest (look at the wind speeds in the picture above) but the whole state, and Washington as well, got a pretty sound thrashing.

Not much damage here to speak of, not like last year's storm. Just a fuckton of rain. But a few trees did come down. Here's our neighbor's meth lab guest house after eating a chunk of Doug Fir. Very exciting.

posted November 30, 2007 by Chris Randall

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