Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Rugbread Day!

I decree that today is Rugbread Day! Happy Rugbread Day!

No, I am not really important enough to create my own holiday - only the California Prune Promotion Board can do that. But I do have an annual tradition wherein I produce a blob of festively decorated gingerbread for the centerpiece of my parent's annual Christmas Eve party.

I'd say gingerbread house, but most of my blobs are only houses in the vaguest sense of the word and some just aren't at all. Like, say, this train that started it all back in 1987.

For a couple of years my Mom made a house and I made a train, but in 1989 I took over gingerbread-blob production entirely.

Now that Mr. & Mrs. Original PotatoHead are retired and do a lot of traveling, the blob's theme is usually wherever they've traveled that year. Usually Mrs. O.P. picks food from that country and the whole project takes on a veneer of useful enterprise, rather than a plot by Mrs. O.P. to keep me from getting eaten by a mountain lion.

This year they went to Norway, so I had my choice of a stave church or a Viking ship. Being a lazy wimp, I choose the ship. I have some experience in gingershipwrighting, as seen to the right.

In 2001, in a fit of patriotism, I made a gingerbread America - the first ship to win the race that gets you the big fancy cup now know as the (duh) America's Cup.

Anyway, to return to the subject of this post. There's alway one day that winds up mostly devoted to the blob, and today will be that day. I have decided I will give this little personal holiday a name, and I choose Rugbread Day.

The gingerbread that I use for this sort of thing has no leavening and I use cheap fat, so you wouldn't really want to eat it. It has spices, but otherwise is about as pleasant as eating the dining room rug on which I will inevitably get crumbs and jimmies. However, I was thinking more of the bread we bought in Iceland on the same trip when Mr. Potatohead and I visited Norway. The package read "Brown Bread" in Icelandic, but it looked like "Rug Bread" to me, and that's exactly what it tasted like. It also somehow lasted forever so that by the time we got to Norway I was eating it for breakfast with geitost, which is no errand for the faint hearted.

So in honor of darkish flat substances that aren't as good to eat as they should be and last for frickin' ever, I decree today to be Rugbread Day in the PotatoHead household!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Exam time!

Some of my loyal readers have pointed out that I don't seem to do much work.

Oh, but I do! I do! It's just that I think it would be pretty boring to read about the work part.

But, heck, I'm just sitting here proctoring an exam so let's go through my day:

This morning I wrote the exam for my AIDS class. Do you know how hard it is to come up with multiple choice questions about concurrent sexual networks? Essay question time! That means they'll be harder to grade. Ugh. I can blog about that tomorrow!

Then I went into the office for my "office hours" when theoretically students are supposed to come visit and ask me questions. Why is it that students email me from campus during my office hours to ask questions I can't answer over email?

Nevermind. Don't answer that.

Anyway, then I photocopied the exam. Whhhhoooooooo....photocopying! Should have snagged a picture of that.

Then I tried to finish grading my non major class papers. I knew a couple of students hadn't turned anything in, and I wasn't surprised. But when I went to enter the grades I realized I was missing 19 out of 120 papers (for the whole semester - but the final versions were due on Friday). The next in our series of unanswerable why questions is, "Why wouldn't you just turn something in?" A couple of students thought they had, but sent them in inscrutable formats. To give the others the benefit of the doubt, I have a little list of the missing papers and I'm planning to snag the students as they finish up the exam. Interestingly, of the 10 (out of 30) students who've finished the exam so far, none have missing papers.

Coincidence? I think not.

After this exam is over I have 30 minutes before I have to give my Cell bio exam. Then the grading begins!

Fortunately, I have beer left over from a little gathering I had over the weekend.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Cold Cold Cold Cold

One of the great things about an arid climate is that one doesn't feel the cold as much as in, say, Boston.

However, there's a point where it's just fricken' COLD.

I'd say that point is at about -10 degrees F.

I can't wait to find out what -30 feels like.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Things I'm not proud of

1) This morning I woke up at 8:45 and was standing at the bus stop by 8:52 with all of my ski gear and hot coffee.

2) I had a calzone and a beer for lunch whilst grading problem sets

3) When I wound up on the lift with the best student in one of my classes, I actually pointed out that he didn't need to take the final. (He says he's taking it anyway.)

4) I was so tired after skiing a whole day that I got home, took a shower and was dead to the world for an hour until Mr. PotatoHead called.

Well, okay, I'm kind of proud of #1.

But more importantly...the Headwall is open! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Snow snow snow snow

This was quite the active weekend for Dr. PotatoHead. XC on Friday night and Saturday morning, downhill on Sunday and then up at the crack of dawn on Monday for a little XC before my 9 am class. I wish I'd brought my camera along - the light was fantastic off the ice-coated bushes and the steaming stream. However, 1) I'm not sure how I'd hold the camera, 2) the pictures probably wouldn't have looked as cool as the real thing, 3) it was so cold the camera probably would have frozen to my hands, and 4) we were right next to the airport so it's probably not totally kosher to snap pictures. There were no cows on the runway this morning, though.

(I realize that skiing next to the airport doesn't sound very idyllic, but Gunni only gets 3 flights a day this time of year, and the early morning flight doesn't start until after New Year's.)

Anyway, I'm a little tired at the moment.

It's supposed to be snowing down here, but not a flake has fallen since noon. The mountain's getting some flurries, but the current system seems to be going north of us.

I shouldn't get greedy though - the mountain got more than 80 inches over the past week.

The picture doesn't really do it justice, but the snow on this run was well up over my knees. You can sort of see a little speck about three-quarters of the way up the hill - that's a buried boarder trying to dig his way out. This stuff is perfect for boards - less so for skinny skis.

Here's another run that's just my old-lady speed. I think it's called Jokerville, but I might be wrong. It's definitely off the Silver Queen lift on the front side.

The little town in the valley is Mount Crested Butte. It's basically just the resort village at the bast of the mountain - the practical stuff is all in Crested Butte (or Gunni).

And here's another progress picture of the mountains beyond CB.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Thursday morning ski report, part II

CMBR is finally starting to look like a ski area! This is a shot of Paradise Bowl - a very nice intermediate area of the mountain.

Good cruisers, but nothing exciting. Still, hard to complain when it's free, plus I'm taking my time this year working up to skiing the exciting stuff.

Where did Crested Butte get its name? Well, there's a butte and it's got a big pointy lump of rock on top. It's very impressive from the road, less so in this picture from the lift. But you get the point.

So to speak.

Sorry the light is so flat in all of these. A big storm was moving in and preparing to dump 40 sweeeeeeeet inches on the mountain. Today (Sunday) was clear and cool and the powder was over my knees.

I'll put up the pictures of that tomorrow, but right now I have to go spiff up for the campus Holiday party.

Psychodelic soup

Many of you may be asking yourself how I manage to feed myself without Mr. PotatoHead around.

And you would be right to do so.

The answer is that even I can make soup - and in this case quite a lovely soup if I may say so. It's roasted beet and pumpkin with yogurt. Very fifties in appearance, if not in concept.

Pretty swirly soup. Stare into the void of the pretty swirly soup. Yummmmmmm.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Ski update

Crested Butte did indeed get a fair bit of snow over the weekend, not quite the 2 or 3 feet people have been reporting, but a solid 18 inches or so. I went up on Saturday morning on the free shuttle: 45 students, 3 veteran ski bums, 6 service industry workers and me on a bus intended to seat 30. Cozy! Got some grading done, though.

The skiing was great, although the interesting stuff isn't open yet. It is, however, hard to take pictures when one is actually in the snowstorm. They all look like this: