Icing the Runners

POSTED IN | 10:41 PM
What is a bit of snowfall without a trip down the hill in the toboggan? Seems as though I live vicariously these days in many things, sledding included. But some pretty choice facial expressions.

I love this one. Raw adolescent rapture.

This bulldog was cracking me up, attacking his owner and running down the hill beside him. Less snotty/congested than many flat-facers and quite nimble.

Super bulldog away! Look at his chubby flanks rippling in stride. Haha.

Though he's not quite so confident ON the sled as beside the sled.

The end result. Not sure if high-speed sledding is in the bloodline.

darn tree, ruined the shot...

In other exciting news, it got significantly above zero today. Woohoo. And there was much rejoicing. Kind of crazy when warming to 20 degrees represents a net temperature gain of 50 degrees. Minus thirty cuts you down deep, to the bones.

Dude, where's my car

POSTED IN | 11:59 PM

I came out of work, circa 9 p.m. and wondered why my body heat was escaping me like blood from a terminal wound. The dry air heaved densely into my chest, momentarily freezing surrounding tissue on each of its dark descents.

I pondered this respiratory assault keenly, wondering its origin and stern intensity.

Then, I happened upon a lowly thermometer, keeper of mercury's soothsaying and read the numeral utterance:


Egad. Bloody cold, my chillens.

So, I brushed off the snow from my pious windshield that so faithfully bore the ice scraper onslaught while my mitts neared serious frostbite.

Still getting a grip on this real winter stuff, it seems, Jemima. A whole different ballgame, to be certain.

And I miss my 4Runner. Observation would have it that the White Wolf isn't so keen in 12 inches of snowfall on poorly plowed streets.

Perhaps Mr. Sandman also has a few spirit-warming nightcaps in his bag of dreamy tricks...


Mammy, get my snowshovel...

POSTED IN | 11:38 PM
The mid-50s delight of yesterweek gave way to zero degree frigid snow massings this weekend. I figure if it's cold it might as well snow, and since I live a block from work and drive a whopping 20 miles per week (depending on traffic), getting around town is mostly a non-issue even with the arctic dump.

Perhaps there will be sledding this week. Plenty of snow-pack, with about two fresh feet. We'll see what the doctor orders in terms of work deadlines. Looks to be a rather hectic week(s) on the horizon. Vacation time is usually dreaded by those not taking it when you work in a three-man newsroom. All hands on deck, Mammy. Just after you get my snow shovel.

Happy winter, people.

Cold, sad poopis, confined to the back while the fam sleds. This has to be agonizing in the dog world.

Is there any hope, lil' Buddy?

So much sadness... (don't worry, i gave him a few pats post-pictures. dusted his head off and got the tail wagging again)

Front door shot.

Down the block.

Suspicious Powder

POSTED IN | 12:56 AM
Perhaps the news story of the year unfolded Wednesday night in the Jackalope City (that's where I live, and that's an official title). Pretty crazy anymore what kind of frenzy a "threatening note" accompanied with any type of white powder will create.

Hospital lockdown for four hours was the end result here. Standing outside in the cold this whole time amid the sundry cops, homeland security and FBI(!) peeps wasn't as enjoyable as you might think. Funny Uncle Sam doesn't recruit them for their sense of humor. :(

All told it was a pretty big Charlie Foxtrot. But no one got hurt and everyone went home with a story to tell their great grandkids about the suspicious and harmless white powder. The Great Hospital Lockdown of ot-Nine! Almost enough for a palpitation even now.

Go here for the whole story

BUT. You can't beat shots of hazmat dudes in their moon suits. Thus:

The big suit up. I guess these supermen just change into costume out in the open. Lame.

*Roger that, headquarters. The chicken is heading into the hen house, over*

Post sample retrieval and test. I guess they don't really care about the journalists getting too close to the "contaminated" suits. Typical...

Just outside of town

POSTED IN | 12:59 AM
Went on a horse feeding run the other week with a co-worker in need of a little ranch-hand assistance (as only a rookie, unsalty city slicker can provide). But throwing the alfalfa cubes to the stallions with the whipping sage-brush wind lightly pealing the open range proved a worthwhile hour away from the office indeed. A jockey of the desk earns no respect around these prairies.

If only I could learn to be content with a little scrub grass and alfalfa cubes. So much simpler would my life be.

Laramie Peak in the distance.

Come and get it!

Oftentimes a true statement.

Pictorial pat on the back

This weekend the Wyoming Press Association's annual winter convention converged upon the heart of the Cheyenne metropolis.

The convention features some workshops and critique sessions for all things newspaper (writing, photography, arithmetic. hah). But the convention's flamboyant colors shine from almost the beginning, as the gala is essentially a raucous party, with publishers, editors, reporters, photogs, designers and sundry other newsroom lackeys from across the state raising pen and glass in a cheery toast to the year's news gone by.

And toast they did. Certainly the beer flows like wine in this industry, dear friends, as my few drinks (au gratis - courtesy the boss) paled next to the dozens downed by fellow printsmen. A boisterous crowd, these journalists, belied further by a half-dozen convention goers whipping out their six stringers 'round midnight for an apparent traditional hoot nanny in the hotel lobby. American Pie lilted at nearly a dirge, but the booze-injected utterances carried the tune ever onward as deftly as a wide-out Gabriel.

While the overall tone of the several-day hoopla was heavily tempered by the hemorrhaging fire-sale newspaper industry (it's scary out there, people, with Wyoming's largest daily The Casper Star-Tribune laying off a further 15 people only last week), it was cool to put faces and handshakes with bylines of journalists who get their beats on across this vast Cowboy State.

And of course the affair isn't complete without the awards for the previous year's news coverage. There's a bevy of accolades given out from advert design to writing to photography.

So, to close the eventful annual pape fest, I was pretty pumped to come home with a first place award for best feature photo in the large weekly category (more than 2,500 circ.)

Alls in alls a good weekend. Not sure how long Wyoming will entreat my company in the future, whether personally or professionally, but it's pretty jive to pull down a nifty blue ribbon from the Kool Kids tree every so often. Something to tell the grandkids about. And the resume.

Happy journaling, everybody!

Here's the shot that got the award. From the state fair back in August. Taken with my simple point and shoot, actually. Take that, decked out Jackson Hole News & Guide photogs...(bunch of spoiled rich kids. so they say...)

My first attempt of the photo. Interesting lighting but ultimately too shadowy.

And lastly, here's how the pic ran in the paper back in August. Click to make it larger if you fancy. My first front page photo on the job, incidentally. Beginner's luck...

Black as Sin

POSTED IN | 11:08 PM
Night highway driving in Wyoming is kind of like cruising through the black maw of outer space. Even the temperatures are equal from time to time.

But when you live in a state with a population density of three or fewer people per square mile you'll understandably have plenty of elbow room on the interstates too, where, when manning your combustion-powered starship over the barren expanses, it's not uncommon to go miles without the presence of any fellow vehicular star pilots (I've never used my high beams so much on the interstate before).

And in my somewhat plentiful trips to and fro Denver (a three hour tour, one way) these past months for army banding and sundry other tomfoolry, I've performed the majority of my marauding at night. (If you've received a random evening phone call from me, it's likely I was in the car on one of these excursions)

I'll say my appreciation and understanding of Han Solo's plight is quite keen following my experiences. And while I don't have to worry about tractor beams or Imperial entanglements, I am also without the advent of hyperspace abilities. If only I could blast up to Wyoming from Colorado with a push of the nav computer's shiny "ENGAGE" button. But perhaps that will come in the future.

But to illustrate my traverses through the pitch tracts (where it's possible to completely forget you're still on our planet Earth), I'll throw out a few driving shots for the viewing pleasure.

I-25 cruising, somewhere between Cheyenne and Douglas on your average Sunday night. Not even a highway patrolman on this stretch. Thankfully I haven't hit any wildlife (a somewhat often occurrence around here it seems). A 800 lb. elk hood ornament isn't the kind of excitement I'm going for.

And then we switch the lights off on the interstate for a few second exposure in the ensuing darkness (kids, don't try this at home). Thankfully the moon was a ghostly galleon that night, providing ample illumination.

Also of note, the ol' Camry rolled over 200k on the odo just last week. I was mildly wowed and then offered a quick prayer to ask blessing upon my aging ride to not strand me squarely in no man's land.

Thus, driving in Wyoming, friends. Wyoming ranked seventh in the nation in population growth last year. Supposedly there's 29,000 more homeboys running around these plains, surging the total population to 522,000. Wherever they are I'm not seeing them. I think those census peeps are whack.

I went to Oklahoma for a few days

POSTED IN | 10:32 PM
Well, I ventured home for a few very quick dias to the Okie motherland, to put some social serum in the bank and bid farewell to some peeps who won't live there come my next visit.

A more in-depth post is in the works, but alas I'm writing for The Man this evening, so I am overtly brief. Here are a few quick home snaps from the Soonerland sojourn.

Happy 2009, e'erbody!

The old Jones House dorm crew. Reunited for the last time until who knows when. The gentleman on the right is heading off to the that blissful Singapore island and the other lovely individuals call the Golden State home these days.

Lo, a Stuart/Ling family photo. The whole Ling clan ventured the short 10k miles to Norman, Oklahoma to watch their beloved asian brother earn his undergraduate honors. My first time to meet Dan-O's sisters. Lovely folk, one and all.

Of course what would a venture home be without a dog walk? Here's Molls scouring the field for something she'll likely never find.

OK sundown.

more later...