Fortress of Solitude

I made a serendipitous discovery today. The bathroom on the 2nd floor where I work was ocupado so I went up to the 3rd floor. As I walked in I was taken aback by this sight:

I don't think I've ever seen stalls that extend to the floor. I'm not as bathroom observant as the Elder Statesman, but I think I would have noticed and remember something like this. Has anyone else seen this?

At first I thought it looked claustrophobic, and I wondered if there would be enough ventilation - that's kind of important sometimes. But as I settled in to do my business I realized I liked the extra isolation.

I now dub this bathroom the Fortress of Solitude.

And the stall doors had this appropriate latch to indicated occupancy (since you can't peek under):

I feel like I just experienced the bathroom of the future. Well, at least 5 years from now.

Now my curiosity is piqued, do the bathrooms get better as the floors go up? I must know, or get used to disappointment.

Update: The 4th floor also has Fortress of Solitude stalls, but the 5th floor does not (Sorry Brannen).

Bathroom Flowers

As I reported Sunday, the bathrooms at the new job have fresh cut flowers. I was told they are changed weekly. This was last week:

A right lovely arrangement, if I do say. Smelled good too, a big plus in a bathroom.

Monday morning I went to the bathroom, even though I had no business to do, just to flower situation. Sure enough, new and delightful:

If this is some twilight zone / dream / matrix / alternate reality, leave me be. I'll take the blue pill, Morpheus.

The New, New Job

Wednesday I started a new job at Fusion-io.

It's kind of a new, new job because I'd only been at the last job at SecureAlert for 5 months. Working at SecureAlert was OK but I didn't love it. So when I got an email from Fusion-io informing me of another open position I went in for interviews. I say "another" because I interviewed at Fusion-io back in February but didn't get the job then, although I was very impressed with the company, products and people.

So now I'm at Fusion-io and really like it. They treat their employees very well. The break room has free soda and other drinks. Lunch is brought in 3 times a week. They sent a welcome package to my home with a hat, bag, water bottle, ear phones and a nice card.

My cube is better than any other place I've worked and came with a glass and thermos with my name on it. My PC is high end with dual monitors, and it arrived the day I started.

I work on the 2nd floor and have a window just outside my cube. The view isn't amazing, but it's nice to have any view at all.

The bathrooms are clean with automatic toilets and sinks (with auto soap dispensers) and include a feature that shocked and delighted me. (Dug, you better be sitting down for this.) Fresh cut flowers. As I washed up the first time, I smelled a floral scent but thought it might just be the soap so I looked closer and was amazed to discover the flowers were real. I mentioned this to a co-worker and was told the company has fresh flowers brought in each week. I'll check out the new arrangement Monday.

By lucky timing I was able to attend the group's team building event with Jolene. We met at Orson Gygi for a Chinese food cooking class. The instructor explained all the courses we would be making then turned us loose. Gail, Jolene and I made Salt and Pepper Shrimp. I'm not into cooking but I did my best chopping peppers, onions and garlic. Also helped with Chocolate Wontons and deep frying the Orange Chicken.

When it was all cooked we ate. There was plenty of food. The Orange Chicken was my favorite.

After the meal we went to the Desert Star Playhouse and watched a spoof on It's a Wonderful Life.

Jolene and I had a good time and got to know the people in my work group.

It's been a tumultuous employment year for me. At the beginning of the year I was laid off from the start-up I had been with for 4 years because they ran out of money. Then I was unemployed for 3 months. Then I was hired in 3 days at SecureAlert and worked 10+ hour days the first month. And now I'm working for a company that didn't hire me the first time around. Life takes strange turns sometimes.

Spontaneous St. George

Jolene and I had been going back and forth on going down to St. George. On the drive home after a nice Thanksgiving dinner at my parent's house, we decided to do it. Friday morning we packed up the car and headed south.

After dropping off our two youngest at the in-laws we rode Prospector from the Cottonwood trail head. Such a fast, flowy trail.

Then we rode Church Rocks both directions. Here I am chugging up a bumpy slope.

A little ledge dropping.

Then Prospector back to the car.

The next day we met up with Andy and Rhonda to ride Barrel Roll, Precipice, and the Rim trails on the other side of the gulch.

Jolene had done the Rim trails, but this was her first time on Barrel Roll - she liked it.

It had been a long while since we last rode with Andy and Rhonda, it was good to see them again.

It was well worth the drive to get in some Dixie single-track with sunshine and mid-60s (perfect not-too-hot, not-too-cold temperature).

We have an invite to go back after Christmas, we just may do that.

Mid-Week Moab

Wednesday I went to Moab with Jolene and her friend Susie. This would be Susie's first time riding in Moab. Always fun to take someone to Slickrock for their first time.

Here I go up the first steep ramp.

And Jolene.

As usual, I opted for the half pipe instead of the switchback.

Dropping into the Wooly Gully.

The last two trips I didn't make it up Cogs to Spare. I thought I had it on the first run this time but my tire was wet and sandy from a puddle and spun out right at the crux, rotten luck. I made it on the 3rd try. Here's the crux.

Finishing off Cogs.

We still had some daylight so on the way out of Moab we hit Bartlett Wash. I hadn't done Bartlett. I thought it would be a bigger area, but it was still fun. A slickrock playground. Here's Susie riding back down with the full moon above.

Had burgers at Rays on the way home to give Susie the full Moab trip experience.

Driving up Price Canyon the van slipped out of gear a few times then dropped into "limp home" mode which meant 40 mph the rest of the way home. Just glad the van didn't die.

Saturday I saw a message from Shammy saying the foothill trails were perfect. With the rain I thought they'd be a mess. So with daylight fading I changed and rode into the hills. There was some snow and little mud up high but overall it was good. At a muddy spot coming down Crank the front wheel slid and I fell over, banged up my side and forearm a bit. Finished the ride down Rollercoaster and Bramber. Fun ride.

Helloween 2011

When October rolls around and the air gets cooler and the night comes sooner I look forward to the annual Helloween night ride.

Race/ride genius Rick started it some years ago. This year Rick was slammed with work so I pinged the group to gauge interest. Several people replied so it was on. It had been a few years since we rode Corner Canyon so it was the easy choice.

When I showed up a little before 9 I was glad to see bikes and lights. (You never know how these things will turn out.) People kept coming. We had a quick huddle, picked the best costumes, picked the route (with no small disputation), took a group photo then headed out.

I still shake my head in disbelief that Miles rode all night in that gorilla suit, and on his shiny, 2-week-old Pugsley.

We went up Corner Canyon, west on the BST, up Potato Hill and up Ann's to the top for a regroup. Went down Ghost then up Canyon Hollow and another regroup. The hard men went up Jacobs, the rest of us did the Rush joy ride then Creek View back to the EQ. Dug's video shows the action.

The traditional nightcap is breakfast food, ala Dennys or Village Inn, but Dug tempted us with In-N-Out, good call.

Ryan mentioned he'd brought some big boy big wheels if anyone wanted to take a run. I've been anxious to try them after seeing the crazy Squaw Peak videos so I was instantly in. Ryan took the maiden run down north Suncrest while I followed in his SUV. It looked OK so I did a run.

The big wheel was more stable than I expected. I thought it would be kind of squirrelly with the plastic rear tires and all. It handled 45 mph down the S curve just fine. Maybe I'll give Squaw Peak a run some night (hi dear!).

Rick, it worked better when you had the reigns, put 2012 in your calendar now.

Park City Mountain Tour

Saturday Mark N. and I did a nice tour of some of the best trails in Park City.

We started up Armstrong. Most of the leaves have fallen but a few bright patches remain.

Then south on Mid Mountain. This spot in the Pines with the Aspen leaves carpeting the trail and decorating the trees like ornaments was striking.

About half way to Deer Valley this stand of Aspens glowed with sunlight and leaves.

We went up Team Big Bear and did the Flagstaff loop. We decided to explore more of the trails over on Bald Mountain so we took Deer Camp over. We found a stunt trail off Homeward Bound and played on the tamer stuff. I rode the log shown below (that's not me, I stole this photo).

We goofed around on Lila's Lair and Dog Pound then headed back on Mid Mountain.

We took Johns 99 (first time for both of us, it's a nice trail) then descended through the Aspens of Johns trail.

We finished up with Sweeney Switchbacks. My legs were drained and I was tired. But what a great ride. Cool air, stunning scenery, tacky dirt, an excellent mix of trails, and good company.

The meal at Tarahumara capped off the day.

Columbus Day Moab

I headed down to Moab on Columbus Day with the guys.

Dug and Brandon made videos.

We carpooled down in the Mad Dog van. Then transferred to the shuttle van for the ride up Sand Flats Road. A storm a week or so ago had put snow in the LaSals so the Whole Enchilada was out, but we could still hit UPS, LPS and Porcupine Rim.

Dug wearing his sunglasses-of-many-colors.

A little snow up top.

The crew.

The views into Castle Valley never get old.

Jesse descending a ramp near the end of Porcupine Rim.

I didn't ride very fast or aggressively so I was always last. Kinda bugged me, but when I'm riding my bike instead of working I can't be too upset. UPS and LPS were new to me and it had been years since I last rode Porcupine - the trail has changed some.

We still had some daylight so we rode Pipe Dream. I liked it but it's a butt kicker. Riding from town it has a lot of steep ups. I was cramping so I bailed when we got to the south end and rode back on the road. They told me it was easier the other direction so I should have taken the trail back.

Finished the trip with a burger at Rays. Good times.

Park City Addiction

Three Saturdays, three Park City rides. I may be an addict. Knowing the snow is coming I can't resist getting in mountain rides. And it's so good right now - cool temps, good trail conditions, Fall colors.

The route was: up Armstrong, north on Mid Mountain, then Ironman to circle Iron Mountain counter-clockwise, Mid Mountain over to and down Empire Link (my favorite PC trail), Down Daly with Ginas and South Sweeney Switchbacks. 21 fantastic miles.

Up Armstrong with a carpet of leaves.

Oh the colors.

Jolene threads a rocky spot on Mid Mountain.

Just wow.

The new section of Mid Mountain along the east face of Iron Mountain is rocky.

Mid Mountain Aspens.

Color everywhere.

Is this forest enchanted? I say yes.

Down in Daly Canyon we came upon this bull moose. Note my shadow, this was a little too close for comfort.

If I could I'd be up there riding right now. Worth taking a day off work.

Jamie's First Car

Another life milestone today: Jamie's first car.

It's been coming for a while. Most days Jolene and Jamie were able to juggle the van, but some days left Jolene stranded at home. Jamie's been working and saving her money. Jolene has been surfing KSL Cars for weeks.

So here's the new addition to the family, a 2002 Toyota Camry with power sunroof, seats, mirrors, locks and windows.

We split the cost with Jamie. She has the option to buy us out. She's going to get a loan for $1-2,000 to boost her credit score.

Jamie is very excited, it was fun to watch her. Suddenly I feel older.

Shortyz - Favorite Android App

I've had an Android phone for about a year. Overall it's been good. It's nice to always have a camera, notepad, contact info and games.

At first I went nuts downloading apps, now I've weeded out the duds and only add a few new apps a month.

For games, Angry Birds was fun for a while then I got bored of it. Stupid Zombies is a similar style game but deeper and more fun. Jolene likes Jewels. Alchemy is interesting but it got weird after a while. Flight Control is fun and I still play it. The Moron Test is clever but got old. Doodle Fit is a nice puzzle game, as is Unblock Me. Kade plays matching games once in a while. But there's one game that gets played way, way more.

Shortyz. It's crossword puzzles and I play it daily.

It downloads a bunch of free crosswords every day - I like Washington Post and USA Today best. For most puzzles it will tell you if you typed the wrong letter which makes the puzzles more friendly but I imagine purists are outraged - relax, it's just a game, play it how you want.

Nothing is deeper than language so it's no surprise that word games have long-lasting appeal. I've learned some new words along the way, of course some are just crossword fodder.

Most of the clues are adequate, some are really clever, and a few are such a stretch I groan. After a while you get to know the clue style of each puzzle writer.

I feel motivated to finish each puzzle yet it's easy to stop and pick it up later so it's perfect for on-the-go. Shortyz has kept me entertained through many waits and when it's my turn it's easy to put it away.

I enthusiastically recommend Shortyz. I'm sure there are good crossword apps for the iPhone / Touch too, go get one.

Park City Again

Park City was so good last Saturday we hit it again, now with more Fall colors.

We started where Mid Mountain crosses Guardsman Pass road. Went south on Mid Mountain then climbed up Team Big Bear to the Flagstaff loop - it's really nice up there.

The new Road to Ruby trail seems unnecessary, but this section through Aspens was pretty.

Jolene at the south end of the loop. Look at the mountains, trees, clouds and blues skies - gorgeous.

Jolene just came up a steep spot on Flagstaff.

We took some trail over to TG but ended up on some trail above TG. The trails connected so it worked out. I like TG, narrow and rugged. Some good color along the way.

Surprised to see flowers up so high this time of year.

Then we took McConkies (a ski resort double track, unfun grind) up to Black Forest which started out OK but then got steep. Jolene's leg (the one she broke) was hurting and she didn't like the hang-your-butt-off-the-back descents so we bailed and walked the bikes down a ski run. My bad for not checking the elevation profile.

We finished off with Mid Mountain back to the car then ate a late lunch at El Chubasco.

On the way home we stopped and watch 20+ kite boarders zoom back and forth and get airborne at Deer Creek Reservoir.

I'm loving this warm Fall weather. I know it won't last so I'm trying to get out all I can.