Saturday, August 30, 2008

This One's for Jay

Moose tosses a shoe at the monthly horseshoes tournament.

Once a month over the winter, we get a two day weekend. That means extra sleep, harder partying, and a double elimination horseshoes tournament. The tournament takes place in the Vehicle Maintenance Facility. They clear out a couple bays, board up the vehicles left behind (see the above picture), and then put in the horseshoe pits. Everyone is randomly assigned their partner when they show up.

It takes focus and determination to win when you've been drinking all day.

The tournament starts around noon and runs until it is done. Because there are only two pits and sixteen teams, there is a lot of downtime between rounds. Between games, you just eat, hang out, and heckle when the opportunity arises. They provide drinks, chips, chilies, and even light up the grill for dinner because the tournament can run so late. I'm terrible at horseshoes, but my teammate, Will, and I managed to win one game before losing two in a row to bow out. It was definitely a good time though.

I don't know many people my age who are good at horseshoes. It seems to be an earlier generation's game. The older guys at the tournament definitely seem to be better. That might just be years of playing down here, but I think it’s a little more than that. Any thoughts on that from playing back home, Jay?

Spending another weekend in style.

It Burns When I . . .

Yet another failed trip to see the sun, but I was close.

It burns when I stare directly into the sun. Yesterday, I finally saw it. After almost two weeks of failed attempts to get out and see sun, I had pretty much given up trying. I figured I'd just see the sun when it got to town. Lucky for me, a friend harassed me into joining him for a quick trip to his work center where they could see the sun. Fantastic!

The sun's quiet way of taunting me to get out for a hike.

All week, I had been seeing signs that the sun was clearly out. Some one would take a picture or the sun would illuminate some upper part of town. Unfortunately, I've been so busy fixing printers, computers, and getting ready for the tripling of our population next week that I just didn't have time to steal away to one of those higher parts of town. The one time I did get up to work on an antenna, the terrain blocked any view we might have. By the end of each work day, the sun was already gone so I couldn't head out for an after work hike. It was kind of demoralizing.

The sun was so bright it was blinding.

All that has stopped now. It's kind of odd. I don't think I ever stared at the sun over the summer. I think I just took it for granted. However, yesterday I stared at it until my face got too cold. Then, I went inside and stared at it until I got sun spots. I'm curious how long it will take me to take the sun for granted again. It is kind of shame, but I'm sure it will happen. Hopefully, I can take a time out to remember yesterday from time to time.

With the return of the sun, our temperatures will begin their slow climb back up. We've been regularly seeing the temperatures hover between -30F and -40F for the entire day for the past few weeks. We hit our low for the season of -45F ambient last week. Oddly enough, it didn't feel that cold because there was no wind that day. The more recent -25F day with a ton of wind felt much worse. According to our weather history, by the time I leave here we should be having days between -15F and -30F. That'll be so much warmer! Honest.

A new photography trick with the sun that B-Nelson showed me.