20140325 – Wot no Tweenies; Wendy’s skiing parallel; Wendy ponders a season pass for next year!

Tuesday – blue bird day, 55F. Must be a blue bird day, Wendy’s skiing.

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Wot no Tweenies. Why is it so quiet? Why is it so tidy? Why is it 08:00 and not 06:00?

Oh that’s it Jaspers and the kids have gone home. Missing him already. And his parents too.

Lazy start to the day to allow the snow to soften up. No car, so it’s back to the bus. It really is a great service.

Get a few easy runs in and then stop for coffee at the Mid Mountain lodge. Snow is getting very slushy.

Up McKonkeys and the snow at the top is so much better. A few more runs and then we stop for lunch at the Snow Hut, my favourite watering hole. Resist the temptation to break the 2nd Commandment, so no beer.

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Then we take the long Home Run back down.

Wendy’s skiing seems to have really improved. I think she’s been having secret lessons. Parallel turns are coming together nicely. Impressed.

Home for afternoon tea and Carol picks up cot, baby gates, toys, baby seat and bedding she has kindly lent us. Really helped for baby Jasper – thanks to Hal and Carol.

Well I can understand why kids aren’t allowed smartphones in school.  Kurt and Fiona used to just sit there engrossed in their iPhone, not a peep out of them. Mind you after Tweenies playing Angry Birds must seem like the equivalent of Quantum Physics. 

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Thought for the day:

“Everybody in this country should learn to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think.”— Steve Jobs.
Mind you given the state of software / web sites I do wonder where common sense went!

Now here’s a thought to bear in mind, from a prominent leader of the religion of peace:

“Radical Islam is a creation of people who do not believe in Islam. We don’t have radical Islam, we don’t have moderates, we don’t have extremists. Islam is one religion following the Koran and the Sunna”.

Wednesday – grey and some snow.

We’re getting plenty of birds now on our bird feeder. Each morning we get a Northern Flicker Woodpecker. Much more stimulating than the IMG 2990Tweenies.

Wendy’s volunteering at the hospital this afternoon.

Real lazy start to the day to allow the snow to soften up and hopefully take advantage of some new snow.

It’s still a tad icy from yesterdays melting, but at least it’s snowing and as a result there’s hardly anybody skiing. Have a few runs and then a coffee to give the snow chance to come down and improve the skiing. Sadly there’s only about an inch so it’s still like a skating rink on some of the IMG 0756 runs. A couple more runs and I chicken out and call it a day. Silver Queen, normally a double blue, has the distinction of being a 40 degree gradient ice rink – what joy. Need to stop halfway down to sharpen my edges.

Software Normal All F..ked Up – SNAFU Of The Day

Starbucks – try to register my Star Rewards from packets of coffee. Doesn’t work, goes round in every decreasing circles. Why am I green card when I log in? I thought I was Gold card. In fact iPhone  app says I’m gold. Why does it have to be so complicated? Time to ring them. 

“Ah there’s a problem with logging stars on the web site”, she says. Of course “they’re working IMG 2991 n it!” She logs them for me. It appears that I’m a green card in the UK but Gold in the US. Something about needing a US address. Despite the fact that my app is in $. So much for being a Worldwide Company. She says “yes it’s confusing isn’t it”. It seems to me you need to have an advance degree in stupidity to comprehend it all. Ask her if Starbucks values and goals are “We have always believed Starbucks can – and should — have a positive impact on the communities we serve. One person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”, perhaps they could start paying some tax in the UK. It’s lost on her.

Thursday – snowy and cold day.

Ski in the morning. It’s snowing thank Chione, after yesterday we really need it.

By lunch time I’m cream crackered but am volunteering at the NAC. With a 10 year old in a mono-ski. It’s just pouring down with snow but this youngster just keeps going for it down First Time. We have to chase after him. He has amazing balance and can ski down on his mono-ski in a bucket seat with no poles. Now wonder they call this the National ABILITY Centre. We get 9” of much needed snow. 

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SNAFU of the Day

Tried to get an online pension estimate. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe that I get my state pension next year! The government site supposedly has one User ID and Password for ALL their services. Tried my Tax Id and Password. Not recognised. Tried my County Court access. Failed. Am I surprised. Try to set up a new one. Wants my National Insurance Number, Post code and Telephone to allocate me a Government site User ID. Doesn’t work. Told to contact the Help desk- now theirs an oxymoron if ever there was one. Speak to the usual un-empowered, jobs worth. Give them same info. They can’t answer why others don’t work but say they’ll clear my access so that I can try again. Still doesn’t work.

Ask the obvious question “Why do I need another unique ID when I already have one? It’sIMG 3002 called a National Insurance number”. If I want to complain I’ll have to write in. A sure fired way to stop complaints. Even if you bother to complain you just know it’s a complete waste of time.

Another example of the complete lack of thought or common sense. I bet an IT guy was involved in the need for yet another number. For Chione’s sake let’s think about the poor customer who pays your wages. He’s already got enough log ons, ID and passwords to fill 10 A4 notepads. Don’t they realise I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast. Where’s the retribution against such rank stupidity?

Unbelievable. Well no, I suppose sadly it’s just typical.

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Members of Newbury’s Muslim community have been left upset and angry by West Berkshire Council’s decision to allow a new supermarket to sell alcohol next door to Newbury Mosque, Pound Street. In January, the council’s licensing sub-committee granted the new Southern Co-operative store, due to open in the summer, a licence to serve alcohol. A small petition with just 58 signatures objected to the move.

While the Bangladesh Welfare Centre had no problems with the store being built, it ludicrously claimed that the sale of alcohol next to a place of worship would increase crime, antisocial behaviour and racial hatred. Of course no evidence was submitted and it is pretty clear that supermarkets are hardly crime hotspots for antisocial behaviour and racial hatred.

If anything trying to impose islamic laws on local non islamic communities is doing more to contribute to racial hatred than anything that could result from a Coop having a drinks section.

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The council said “It was not as if it was a licence for a pub where people could sit and drink next to the mosque, that would be different.”

Why would a pub be different? This is England and not yet under the barbaric control of sharia law. If the 58 signatures don’t like it then there’s an alternative – go live in a muslim country.

Friday – blue bird day.

Powder alert. 9” fresh powder yesterday – thank you Chione. Up at the crack of sparrows for first tracks. A real treat today as I get to ski Deer Valley today. Luxury and no snow boarders. In the lift line for 8:50. By 10:15 it’s coffee time, after 9 runs and 16 miles. Meet Wendy for lunch up at Empire, by which time I’ve cracked off 16 awesome runs and 32 miles. Can’t resist a couple of runs down rather than the bus, so it’s 18 runs, 36 miles and maximum speed of 44 MPH. Awesome skiing. Living the Dream. 
Finally finish watching “The Newsroom” season 2. Pretty, pretty, pretty good but not as good as “The West Wing”. Really enjoyed those bits we stayed awake through. We’ve had a free trial of HBO for nearly 3 months and this is the only thing we’ve watched. Do not think I’ll be swelling Comcast’s coffers with an HBO subscription, even if it is only a few dollars – Netflix rules.
Some good news for freedom of information:
Not a good day then, it would seem, for The Times and the cause of greater openness in public affairs as it appeared to loose a case. However, the court then announced a remarkable judgment with wide ramifications. The much-vaunted Freedom of Information Act, said the court, and the European Convention, has no more power to force a public body to disclose facts that it would prefer to remain secret than does English common law. Such law, stated the court, has long held a presumption in favour of information being revealed in these circumstances rather than concealed.

The consequences of this Supreme Court ruling cannot be overstated. Never mind the strictures of Parliament or Strasbourg, the court is saying that time-honoured common law has long suggested the existence of a public right to access information about actions performed in its name. The authorities may seek to limit our knowledge of what they do and why they do it — but in doing so they emphatically do not have the law on their side. Thus what appeared to be a triumph for the forces of opacity turned out actually to be a victory for transparency.
Saturday – a blue bird day. 2” fresh snow.

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Diet going extremely well, with the assistance of red wine, now down to 13 Stone 4lb. Just 4 lb’s to go.
We ski with Hal and Angela. Hal has a free buddy pass for Wendy.
Angelas a little downhill racer these days. No fear. Wendy struggles to keep up with her. Give Angela another couple of years at this rate and even Hal and Carol will be struggling to keep up. Have a great morning skiing with a stop for coffee and cake for Angela.
Hal tries to tempt me to join him down Blue Slip (Black Diamond in the middle of Blue Slip bowl). It’ll have to be groomed better than that and I’ll probably need a few brandies.
Wendy’s tired out by the time we get down to the bottom. Not surprised given the number of turns she does. It really is so much more restful to go straight down!
Home for lunch. Then a walk down to the supermarket and liquor store – Wendy’s out of brandy again!
Angela comes round. I think it’s mainly the iPad she wants to see, not us. She wears the iPad games out and then resorts to Disney movies, courtesy of Netflix. Tweenies is much to babyish for her she says.
Wendy ponders whether a season pass might be good for next year. As an OAP it’s only $500. At window prices she only has to ski 5 days and it’s cheaper. At discount prices she needs to ski 8 days and its cheaper. So far she’s managed 5 days this year. However if you have a season pass then you don’t mind going up for a couple of runs, whereas $71 for a couple of runs can be off putting. Seems like a good idea, but hopefully she’ll get a free one if we get on the winter mountain host programme as promised.
On Wednesday, four snowboarder called Wasatch Equality dropped a federal lawsuit on the Little Cottonwood Canyon resort, challenging its longstanding skiers-only policy.
A lawyer for the snowboarders said that because of Alta Ski Area’s arrangement with the U.S. Forest Service, it must comply with the equal protection clause in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

Alta is one of only three, very sensible, ski resorts in the United States that does not allow snowboarding, and Alta is the only one of these resorts that is operated on public land controlled by the Forest Service.
The ban excludes a “particular class of individuals from use and enjoyment of public land based on irrational discrimination against snowboarders,”.
It pits those who stand sideways on a single “snowboard” against those who stand forward on “skis,” creating hostility and divisiveness, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court.
Plaintiff Drew Hicken said there is no reason skiing and snowboarding can’t coexist. This guys probably never skied with snow boarders
“We feel that it is time for Alta to let go of outdated prejudices that perpetuate a skier versus snowboarder mentality and allow everyone, regardless of whether they are skiers or snowboarders, to share the mountain together,” he said.
An Alta spokeswoman said the resort wants to gather more information before commenting on the lawsuit.
One out-of-state skier coming off the mountain Wednesday said Alta is for skiers.
“It’s the only place left. Give it to ’em. Snowboarders go anywhere else you want to go, but leave Alta for the skiers,” Kevin Hurley said. “Where we live, we gotta deal with snowboarders, and we’d rather deal with skiers.”
Snowboarders have a reputation, deserved or not, for riding reckless and without regard for others on the mountain. Believe me it’s a deserved reputation.
Now a few tips for the judge when reviewing this case. See the 7 point code below and the reasons why snow boarders are incapable of complying with the various points.
Seven Points to Your Responsibility Code:
Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects. See 1, 2, 6 and 8.

People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them. See 1, 2, 6 and 8.

You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above. See 3.

Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others. See 4.

Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.

Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas. See 6.

Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.
1 Snow boarders have as much idea of personnel space as the Japanese in rush hour boarding their metro. There can be a whole empty ski run and they’re attracted to skiers like moths to a light.
2 Snow boarder ski down sideways on and are therefore blind sided for 180 degrees to their left or right and hence can’t see people on their blind side.
3 Snow boarders suffer from regular bouts of sleeping sickness and take group siestas across the middle of the slopes, usually at the narrowest possible point or over a brow of a hill so that they can’t be seen. 
4 Snow boarders can’t follow simple instructions, such as look behind you before setting off. Even instructors can be seen teaching this by example.
5 Snow boarders are ignorant knuckle draggers. Even if they run into you they just can’t be bothered to stop and apologise. Their feet are automatically attracted to seats on public transport.
6 Snow boarders can’t read. Even simple words like SLOW baffle them. Evidenced by their break skiers neck speed in slow zones, where signs are posted.
7 Snow boarders move too much snow down the mountain.
8 Snow boarders are reckless.
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