Tuesday, January 20, 2009


A while ago, I met a girl in L.A. who was actually friends with another friend I met there. We call her Gallo, because that's her name. But it's her last name, and I'm not sure why we call her that. Anyway, she ended up dating a talented documentary maker, and he works at Sundance every year.
"Wanna come hang out?" Gallo says.
"Why yes," I say. "Yes I do."
Park City is where Sundance happens, and that's about half an hour east of SLC, through a great big canyon. It's a small ski town, and I'm sure you've seen pictures of the celebrities that swamp the place during the festival. We stayed in one of the local's houses. Turns out they do just like the locals in New Orleans do during Mardi Gras, which is to get the hell out and rent their houses out to yahoos that want to come have no space for parking and nowhere to go to the bathroom. And pretty much all you do for a week straight during Sundance is go see movies.
Well, you do if you got tickets seventeen years in advance. I hadn't. But I knew Gallo, and she knew Todd the documentarist, and so we got in to see Tyson, which turned out to be a surprisingly human view of Mike the boxer. Yeah, everyone knows he's the guy who bit that other guy's ear off, but when you hear him tell you that he was getting head-butted (which is an illegal tactic), you suddenly see it in the slo-mo replays, and you wonder how you could have missed it. Of course, cannibalism is probably not the best way to respond, but really, who can say what they would do in any given situation, blah blah blah. And the film reminds you that under all that goofy hoopla, he really was one of the most amazing ass-beaters of all time.
He looks funny in a tux. Yup, he showed up. Tuxedos are meant for people who can't lift Winnebagos. He was soft spoken and friendly, and answered the audience's questions in an amusingly frank way. And when someone asked him if he was meeting Paris Hilton later, he didn't kill them like I would have.
After that, I saw Elijah Wood on the street. He looked taller that I thought he would.
While we were walking back to the house, a car full of locals that couldn't get out idled up. I guess they were brain-dead, because they had spraypainted the car with the word LOCALS and were wearing no shirts in the 30 degree weather. And they all hung out the windows and continually screamed, "I WISH I COULD WALK AROUND WEARING A PEA COAT!" I'm pretty sure they were brain-dead, but I have to admit that just about everyone who came to Sundance (including me) was wearing a pea coat.
Sundance is now done.

Friday, January 16, 2009


I know the pilot whose name you've already heard (along with First Officer Jeffrey Skiles, whose name you haven't) did a fantastic job getting this plane down in one piece and with no fatalities, but I also wanna say out loud that the three reasons that you have all these front page pictures of people standing on the wings of a floating plane are Doreen Welsh, Donna Dent, and Sheila Dail, the flight attendants on duty. The reason I want to say this is that no one else in the media did.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sibling On The Slopes

So my parents had taken my sister and me out to the slopes in Washington sometime in the mid-eighties... that's when we both learned to ski. I enjoy telling that story to Utahns, because when they hear I learned to ski in a building, they make funny faces. I've only gotten back into the snow since I've been here, and Renee hadn't skiied since. So I think we both suspected that, when she arrived here shortly after Christmas, it was going to be less of a vacation and more a slaughter. "As long as there's beer," she said.
She doesn't wake up until after one PM either, so we were both asleep as we drove up to Snowbird the next day. I explained as best I could about traversing and weight shift, about edges and cambers, but all she did was stare out the car window at the snow.
"That's snow," she says.
"I know," I say.
"No," she says. "But there's snow." When we actually arrived at the mountain, she kinda went into a little mini-trance. I had to put the beer in her hand.

We got her strapped into the board, and she practiced a little on the flat part at the bottom of the hill. Then we jumped on the lift, and when we got to the top, she fell right off. But what you have to know about Renee is that she trains horses, and so regularly falls down from a much greater height and with more velocity, and so this and every time she fell down, she came up laughing. First hurdle was getting into a standing position. For some reason, she just couldn't stand up without her feet slipping out from under her. We tried all kinds of stuff, including using me as monkey bars, but nothing worked. She finally arrived at this little maneuver:

And once she knew how to get up, she didn't stop. It was like watching me two years ago. I saw her get confused about the same things that confused me, grin at the same things I grinned at, and she got ice face about as much as I did. And by the end of the day, she was shredding pretty good.

And then there was more beer.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Planes Get Ice Face Too