An impromptu solo mini-cannonball. (Part One)

My brain is fogged. I’ve been driving for two days straight with minimal sleep, after two previous days of driving as well. I’m only ~250 miles from my journey’s end, but I really felt the need to get out of the car.

So here I am, sitting in a Burger King somewhere west of Boise, Idaho, sipping on a cold coke zero, munching on some terrible onion rings, and scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed to just give my brain a rest. How did I get here?

Continue reading “An impromptu solo mini-cannonball. (Part One)”

Christopher Graduates!

Chris shaking Rick Steves' hand after receiving his diploma.

It has been a very busy June and early July here at Chez Goolsbee, so apologies for the lack of updates. The day after Nick Graduated he and Chris hopped in the car and drove “home” to Washington state where they visited friends. Nick was able to attend the AHS Graduation ceremony where he would have walked across the stage had we not moved to Oregon. Christopher went to Seattle and took the LSAT test for entrance into Law School, afterwards he visited friends. Sue & I dashed up to Olympia on Friday, June 15th to watch Christopher participate in graduation at The Evergreen State College. He completed his degree in March, but the ceremony took place at the end of the Academic Year. Like all things at Evergreen the event was filled with unbridled enthusiasm and energy – along with a healthy dose of chaos. It was wonderful.

The scene as the graduates file in.

The day was sunny and beautiful, and we were all there to see Christopher receive his Degree.

A little creative chaos never hurt anyone.

Speedy the Geoduck makes an appearance.

TESC’s mascot is the Geoduck and the school’s motto is “Omnia Exteras” (look it up) and the day was as out there are unrestrained as every other graduation is dull and constrained. Everyone just smiled and enjoyed it, including the school administrators and staff. The commencement speaker was PBS travel show host Rick Steves (of Edmonds, WA) and he delivered a passionate oratory on living life and seeing the world.

Rick Steves speaks.

Continue reading “Christopher Graduates!”

Nick Graduates!

Nick Goolsbee, Graduate.Dynamics for the last time.

Sorry for the not so great audio on the last one. I was VERY far away (shot with a 600mm equiv lens) and there were people all around me talking away…

Nick will be attending Oregon State University in Corvallis in the autumn. Today he & Chris are driving to Washington – Nick will be visiting his friends in Arlington, and Chris will be taking the LSAT test at the UW in Seattle. On Friday we’ll all be in Olympia to watch Christopher graduate from Evergreen State.

Congrats Nick, we’re very proud of you.

Nick Goolsbee, Graduate.

Changes to the fleet…

As some of you know, digital.forest was acquired earlier this year. While my payout as a stockholder wasn’t “retire now” in scale, it has allowed us to upgrade the Goolsbee fleet. First and foremost I set out to buy Sue a cruiser to help her sore back and smooth out her hectic driving schedule with something super-comfy. We test-drove a lot of mid-range machines, and she settled upon a Mercedes-Benz C300. It took me a month or so to find the right one, at the right price. She now enjoys a 2009 C300-4Matic. It is hands-down the best car we’ve ever had in the Goolsbee garage. VERY comfortable, and drives super-smooth.

This means her 2006 Jeep Liberty CRD is now for sale.

Christopher finished school at the end of the winter quarter, and is now preparing for law school. Since he loves the car and learned to drive in it, I’m giving him the TDI. It for him will be like the ’80 Diesel Rabbit I drove when I was his age – a great, reliable, frugal first car.

“How about Chuck? What does he get?”

I wanted something fun for my new commuter car. My drive to work is actually quite enjoyable – a choice of twisty two-lanes, largely without traffic. I love to drive roofless. I like to shift my own gears. (In hindsight, I’ve never owned a slushbox for *my* daily driver.) I don’t need more than two seats. I didn’t want to spend that much. I started surfing Autotrader and eBay for used cars meeting the above criteria. After filtering out the Miatas (sorry – while I know they are GREAT cars, they are also nearly ubiquitous) my searches turned up a good selection of interesting cars. MR2s. TTs. S2000s. 350/370Zs. Boxsters. SLKs. Some 911s and Corvettes. Even a Jag (Holy depreciation Batman!)

After the wonderful experience of hucking the ClownTown Roadshow’s old E30 BMW around the track now twice – with every lap bringing a grin to my face, I figured I owed a look at the Z3/Z4 line of cars. A coworker at Facebook loaned me the keys to his 2006 M Roadster while I was in Menlo Park for meetings several weeks back and halfway through the drive I decided this would be my next car.

I decided upon a color & trim choice (blue exterior, grey/wood interior) and went hunting. Autotrader turned up a few, as did eBay, but then I was referred to a car broker in the Bay Area. The idea is you tell them what you want, and about what you will pay. I knew what I wanted, and my shopping gave me an idea of what the fair market value of these cars are now, so I laid it out for the broker. He found me one in SoCal within a few days, and now the car is mine. Totally painless process. I highly recommend it over trying to buy on your own.

The car is a 2007, has ~33k miles, and is REALLY nice.

the car d.f bought.

While I’m not a huge fan of the Z4 styling, the M version seems to tone down some of the more outrageousness, while upping the “ultimate driving machine” bit. It is very much a modern E-type: Classic “long bonnet, short boot” styling. Minimal interior, maximum driving pleasure. High horsepower & torque straight six. Laughable cargo space (though easily 3X what the Jag has!)

I’ve only has it a week, but every mile has been grin-worthy. The miles per gallon can’t touch the TDI, but the smiles per gallon is way past the redline. I can afford the gas now. 😉

Crash and Burn!

Not really me!

Last summer Nick was the Team Captain of a American Cancer Society Relay For Life team in Arlington. Bend also has an annual Relay For Life event and Nick has started building his team of Bend High School athletes to contribute and participate in the relay this July.

Today we ran the pre-event “Hope on the Slopes” up at Mt. Bachelor. He roped five fellow X-C and Nordic Ski Team members along, plus me. I wrote the names of the 3 closest-to-me Cancer Survivors/Victims on my bib: My mom, Carol Goolsbee (Breast Cancer Survivor), my Grandfather Charles C Goolsbee (died of Lung Cancer), and my great friend and long-time colleague Patrick J. Clark (died of Esophageal cancer in 2006.)

Prizes are awarded for most funds raised, most lifts skied, and (the whole reason I was there) most vertical feet skied. Anyone who has skied with me can vouch for the fact that I tend to ski fast. I love making long, loping hard-edged turns. I seriously trashed my knee playing hockey in my 20’s so I stay away from the crazy slopes of my youth, and now get my thrills from speed. I’m not an insane speed-freak, as I’m always in control, and don’t do high-speed fly-bys of slower skiers on the slopes. BUT, give me a fast groomer and open slopes and I can burn it up.

Today however – I just crashed and burned. Conditions were not good. In fact they were downright awful. High winds. Poor visibility. High winds. Temps in the low 20s. High winds. About 7″ of new snow and more coming down every minute. Did I mention it was REALLY windy?

My assignment for Nick’s team was to get as much vertical feet as possible. My plan was to just stick to the Pine Marten Express and bomb down the run “Thunderbird” which follows the fall line and lift line right down the middle of Mt. Bachelor. Up and Down as often as I could. After an hour of this I had accumulated 6000′ vertical feet of downhill skiing, which meant I was on track for ~36,000 vertical just on my own (assuming an hour break for lunch.)

I was going about 45 MPH* just under the lift about 2/3rds the way down the hill on my 6th run when something happened to me that hasn’t happened in the last several seasons of skiing… I fell.

My left ski caught an edge somewhere under the powder and shot out to the left. My ski came off instantly and I somersaulted violently down the hill. Hard. So hard I lost my poles. I also lost my helmet & goggles. I had all the wind knocked out of me, my coat filled with snow, and was dazed and confused for quite a while.

The folks on the lift above me would have called it a “yard sale” as equipment was strewn all over the slope.

My right ski stayed attached. After regaining my senses I rotated the right ski so it would be on the downhill side and got on my feet. Two skiers stopped and asked me if I was OK, and one of them kindly retrieved my ski and one pole which was quite a way up the hill. I grabbed my helmet, goggles, and other pole which was just a few steps above me. I thanked my good samaritans and put myself back together again and skied down to the lift. At the top something didn’t feel right. I was nauseated and uncomfortable, so took an easier run down, stopping often to rest. At the bottom I took off my skis and walked – and found out what was wrong. I’d pulled my right calf muscle so bad I could barely walk. Limping into the lodge, I decided my day was done. Sorry Nick!

I wish the conditions had been better, as I know I could have racked up 40,000—50,000 vertical feet with blue skies and groomers. =\

Maybe next year.

Despite my early exit, Nick and his team came in 2nd place in total vertical feet skied, and 1st in Most Lifts skied. Congrats Nick!

If you would like to contribute to Nick’s Relay For Life team, and help in supporting Cancer research, click here.

* I have a cool iPhone app which uses GPS and ski area data to track your skiing. This is how I know exactly how much I’d skied and how fast I was going when I crashed.