February 27, 2006

Ten Bucks

Went snowboarding at Buck Hill last night, mostly because it was only $10 but also because I needed the fix. Though it was a gorgeous evening, 30 degrees and hardly even cloudy, conditions were borderline suicidal. It was what you’d expect from a ski resort located within the confines of a major metropolitan area; icy, unforgiving, and crawling with grommets who need to be assigned more homework.

I made a fairly wretched show of it, spending much of my time marveling at the novelty of riding a chairlift to the top of a “mountain” and finding myself in the middle of someone’s suburban neighborhood. I also enjoyed that the run-out from one of their terrain parks went smack through the middle of the bunny hill. Such is a recipe for disaster.

That being said, some of the kids out there were so good in the terrain park it was disgusting. I watched one kid, who must have been ten years old, throw a 540 off a kicker. I watched another guy do a front flip, and then gap the rainbow box approach to the landing of a completely different jump. The guy who followed him through the park nailed the same gap, but threw a 360 in the process. Then there was the kid on skis who threw a corked backflip with full twist.

All I managed to pull was a tendon in my thumb, which I had previously tweaked crazy-dancing at the matt pond PA concert last week. It was starting to get better and all, so obviously I needed to fall on it. Hard.


February 22, 2006

Secrets Between Friends

www.ivebeentoduluth.net is now alive and kicking!

Break out your world-class martinis everybody, as tonight there is cause for celebration. After months of work conducted in absolute secrecy, a project that I’ve been working on has finally gone live. I have no doubt that there are bugs that still need to be fleshed out, and steps in the whole process that I haven’t even considered, but I’ve never really let things like pesky details stand in the way of a really good time.

Everyone, I would like you to say hello to www.ivebeentoduluth.net, a pet project of Brainside Out Industries. Yessiree, after all that yammering on about the bygone era of The Shirt, and after all that ridiculous placement on Google, someone finally went ahead and did something about it.

We are open for business and ready to serve all your existential t-shirt desires. The shirts arrived today, hot off the press, and I must say they are beautiful. Our expert fontographers spent hours squinting at screen captures of a certain late-80’s movie, and hours flipping through (online) font books, just to make sure that we could match the typography as closely as possible.

the famed i've been to duluth t-shirt

Well, all the hard work has finally come to a head, dang-nabbit, and we’re drowning in a sea of hot t-shirts that are achin’ for some wearin’. Fortunately for us, we’ve got a killer website gunning on our side, ready to sling orders like nobody’s business. Beyond the slick color scheme and somewhat familiar layout, we’ve got some neat abstraction layers happening between the structural and visual aspects of the design. What does that mean, you may ask? Well, with a smattering of PHP and a few alternate stylesheets, we very well may see what it means when spring finally gives way to summer.

Even so, we’re still rocking some pretty sweet stuff in the current rendition, including accessible popup windows that do away with tortured javascript calls, and some sweet AJAX nothings accomplished with the teeny-tiny moo.fx effects library. Curious what we’re geekin’ out about? Check out the questions page and click the handy-dandy links on the right. Heh. Needless to say, even with all this wizardry the site still validates through and through.

Anywho, this has been one of the top secret projects that we’re currently working on. The others mostly involve pirates and their kin, and as such we rarely discuss them for entirely different reasons.


February 20, 2006

Battle

It begins in subtlety, a slight breeze against your ear, perchance the beating wings of an insect or a hummingbird larvae, but they have long since gone south or preserved themselves in crystals. You brush your ear but the sensation doesn’t go away, instead growing into sound. Yes. You can hear it now. It’s definitely something, real, not in your head. So quiet though, and you survey your surroundings but it doesn’t seem to be coming from anywhere in particular. For lack of a better idea you check under your shoe. No, nothing.

The sound grows, mechanical in nature. Snow blower? Ice auger? It has been cold for so long that these are the only things you can think of. No, there’s more than one, definitely more than one, perchance an army of ice fishermen all armed with augers.

The noise increases. It moves faster than that. Ice fishermen cannot make this kind of haste. The magic of internal combustion is at work, here, certainly a pack of engines. But what? Snowmobiles? If so, Polaris or Arctic Cat? For once you are alone and over the approaching din you shout at the top of your lungs that in all honesty you have no preference, no preference at all, and you think that the two camps should just pick a weekend to meet on Lake Mille Lacs with their snowmobiles and just have it the fuck out.

A duel will settle this.

But that is for another day, as a chorus of tortured engines are approaching. The noise becomes unbearable, the belch and choke and stutter that is the siren’s call of weekend mechanics everywhere, and finally it appears. With a final shot at the accelerator the leader blasts over the horizon, airborne and glistening in the frigid sunlight. The suspension protests as it hits the ground, skidding sideways but correcting, always correcting. And then the full army appears, a hundred strong, and you know what is headed your way.

MONSTER TRUCKS!

That’s right, a legion of monster trucks, frankentrucks if you will, hideous pickup zombies that have been coerced into living again, if only for a weekend. Cannibalized from the remains of hundreds of other trucks, the only thing that frankentrucks despise as much as their own existence is the species with the audacity to bring them back to life. To this wild pack you are the one, the manifestation of their agony.

The air fills with noise, the sun dims behind dark clouds of exhaust. You can taste the atmosphere, it is thick, it is palpable. The pack sees you now and they are headed for your position. They will not stop if you stand your ground. They will not give up if you run.

They are honking. They are flashing their lights. These are not warnings, these are promises. The ground shudders with their approach.

The first one is a Chevy. You have five seconds. This is your battle. You expect no outside intervention. You fold your hands into your pockets and rock back onto your heels.

Go.


February 14, 2006

The Most Popular Thing We Do

After much thought and careful consideration, I have added a link to our Desktop Wallpaper Gallery in the site navigation. Nothing is new, of course, unless of course it is, in which case it is new.

My Valentine’s Day consisted of buying a case of Danish beer and slicing my knuckles open on an envelope. This was enough excitement for the day so I took a nap for two hours.


February 13, 2006

Salty Peaks

Scotch. With ice. This shall chase my cold away.

We have returned from Utah, a land bursting with abundance of powder and wives. In the two weeks leading up to our trip it snowed just about every day. In the week that we stayed at Alta it didn’t snow a single inch. Nevertheless I would go back there in a heartbeat. I ache in the absence of mountains. Saunas, stick shifts, tea and mountains. It is with these four things that one can invent true happiness.

I caught up with friends in Salt Lake, some of whom I expected to meet, others who were a complete surprise. These were all great things. I am still snowboarding quite well, despite a dry season in the Pacific Northwest last year, and a prior season that was cut short by the snap of bone. Apparently I still know how to ski as well, and was able to hold my own at Alta for a couple days. That is, until we met a local gal on the chairlift who took me down off the backside.

At more than 10,000 feet we climbed and traversed a half mile, and with my mouth full of copper and exhaustion I proceeded to roll down the 40 degree slope. She danced, quite literally danced, to a small grove of trees, and once she was satisfied that I wouldn’t kill myself getting the rest of the way down, bade me good afternoon and went off to shoot The Columns. I decided to hit some groomers under the Supreme lift, in an attempt to fish my ego out of the gutter.

This trip consisted of equal parts skiing and snowboarding, which I found to be just fine. My complete switch over to snowboarding back in 2001 was partly to pursue a personal goal, and partly a financial decision. I couldn’t afford the gear for both sports, so I decided to blow everything I had on the sport that I didn’t know how to do. Yet.

In other Salt Lake news, today it came to my attention that the trailer for the movie Pirates of the Great Salt Lake is now online. You must go watch this trailer. You must then watch it again.

To be honest, I am a biased observer. First off, My name is Dane and I can’t stop thinking about pirates. These guys are cool; and by cool, I mean totally sweet. Sometimes I dress up as a pirate. Other times I build pirate websites. When I work at camp I am known as Dane the Pirate. Like any good pirate I even have pirate secrets, about which I am not currently at liberty to talk about.

Despite all my love for pirates, my passion pales in comparison to that of The MacKay. The MacKay is a good friend of mine who runs his own business making handcrafted pirate hats, and he has always been my outfitter for piratical gear. I sport an acrylic-treated Captain Jack Sparrow hat in brown, which currently resides on my freakily awesome pirate skull hat stand. At the favor of the ocean breeze, I would love to grab an original MacKay hat in black before I return to camp for the summer.

All this is to say that my friend The MacKay was responsible for outfitting the cast of Pirates of the Great Salt Lake with pirate hats. And that his friend Quicksilver provided the necessary piratical ceramics. The MacKay actually traveled down to the San Francisco Independent Film Festival to see PotGSL, and Bilgemunky has been kind enough to publish his review of the film.

Needless to say there is plenty of stuff going on down in Utah, without even beginning to mention the convenience offered by polygamy and state-run liquor stores. They even let you pump your own gas, but everything you buy there has, like, a 25 percent sales tax stapled to it so they can pay for the Winter Olympics.

The 2002 Winter Olympics, that is.


February 1, 2006

Proliferation

This shall be quick and dashed off, as I’ve been up way too late the last couple nights. What have I been doing, you ask? Keeping secrets. Keeping secrets, and getting rid of people who ask too many questions. Your inquisitive nature is your most endearing characteristic, as well as your most dangerous. You blessed people. Your math and science skills shall be the future of this great nation.

You must be stopped.

Hey! Hey, hey, hey! We’ve been doin’ this sort of thing for five years, now. We’ve been blogging since before it was even blogging. Why, back in my day we didn’t have weblogs and blogs and vlogs and aulogs and slogs and clogs and such… we had online journals. You see, these were journals that we kept online, so we could educate the interweb on such important things as floor scrubbers and matching sweaters and those crazy Japanese movies where people would dress up in robot costumes and rampage through a miniature cityscape made of styrofoam. And now, thanks to our great efforts, the interweb knows all about this great stuff!

Except in China.

Hmm. Recent empirical tests point to what I have suspected for some time; this PowerBook has an over-zealous delete key, that will sometimes delete twice for the bargain price of one hit. This behavior is charming, charming that is until you want to write something, where it will produce creative and efficient spelling that uses fewer letters than mandated by the English language. It’s also charming until you want to delete messages from your inbox, where you will frequently toss out H0T XXX PR0PEC1A GR!LS WANT Y0U [email protected]@K NOW! along with $$$IMPORTANT$$$ MESSAGE FROM NIGERIA, LAND OF JUNGLES AND TECH-SAVVY APES WHO RUN DIAMOND CONGLOMERATES.

Because, I mean obviously, I want to save at least one of those.