Pete's Stuff


It may be nearly December, but things are still blooming in sunny Hawai‘i.

More photos below the fold.


A Bit More Fall

Whoops - forgot a few photos that I wanted to post in my last batch of teleshots. So here they are.

A quiet walk at Afton State Park.


The Great (November) Escape

Less than a week now until I'm on my yearly escape from the November gray. This isn't a very good month in Minnesota - too cold, windy, and cloudy to be a continuation of fall, and too warm for most winter sports. And, it's going to be so much fun where I'm going.

First it's Thanksgiving weekend in Seattle to visit the newest member of the family.

Dan, Zach, and Jane.

Annie is flying in from Honolulu, and Jane and Dan generously gave my parents an early Christmas present of plane tickets, so the five members of the Curtis family are going to have a holiday reunion of sorts.

Then it's on to paradise (not Paradise, although that's pretty close to Seattle).

Tropical rain and coconut palms.

And finally back home in mid-December. Even better, all the flights are nonstop and all three for $800 including fees. Sweet... except maybe for the inevitable near-nude pictures of me that, although I don't really care about them specifically (people are way too prudish about the human body), are totally unnecessary for the joke that is airport "security".

By the time I get home, I'm hoping for a full 20+ inches of powdery snow all ready for some serious skiing. The only downside is that I'll miss this year's Possum Trot, thus allowing Ian to lengthen his lead in the lifetime standings by virtue of attendance.

A Map Archive

Just added a new feature on the site - a quick-linked archive of the orienteering maps in my possession, just like many other people have done. I'll be scanning in and adding additional maps as time goes on - back to 2002, even - after all, isn't that what an "archive" is supposed to be?

See the current batch here, or use the link on the left menu underneath "Orienteering".

Camp Ripley, Pillager, MN
Classic Day 2
October 17, 2010
Camp Ripley, Pillager, MN
Long Sprint
October 16, 2010
Camp Ripley, Pillager, MN
Long Middle
October 16, 2010

Even More at Ripley

A lot to write about the Camp Ripley weekend, I guess! As I mentioned previously, we got permission to hold a night-O, but had a hard requirement to be downrange by 9 PM (remember those rules and procedures.) But all the MNOC volunteers have had excellent practice in meet management, and we were actually broken down and ready to leave in less than 10 minutes from the course cutoff time at 7:45 PM. Everyone showed up at Range Control around 8:30, and a number of us headed to the barracks that we had rented out - another perk, since it was A) convenient, B) cheap, and C) right next to the mess hall - all you can eat breakfast, 4 bucks!

Each barrack building is arranged into 6-8 units, and each unit is a single long cinder-blocked room with about 20 single beds. Each bed has a footlocker, and this year we unlocked the door to find the Guard had upgraded! Last year, they had old, kinda-sketchy wooden footlockers. This year, there were nice new 48 gallon Action Packers, familiar to many of us as a favored adventure racing tote. Still, it's not like we needed to use them for anything but tables. This year we had about 25 people staying in the barracks, so we rented out two units and designated one for the church-mice and one for the partiers. I'm sure you can guess which one I stayed in.



They say that a pun is the lowest form of humor. So, something a little more um, elevated.

The Mississippi River valley viewed from Buena Vista Park in Alma, Wisconsin. Lock and Dam #4 is on the right, the Alma coal plant on the left, and the town down below. Click on the image to see a medium-sized version, or try the 25-megapixel large version and the 150-megapixel enormous version, if you think you can handle it! The full size version is big enough to read the street signs down in the town.

Made with Hugin for Mac, an powerful open-source panorama stitching program. I think it did a excellent job of putting together this image, even though I went out of my way to make it difficult:

  1. My tripod wasn't level.
  2. I forgot to fix the ISO, so the exposure varied between individual shots.
  3. It was basically facing into the sun. I hadn't planned it, so I just shot what I had when I got there.
  4. It was a hazy day with a warm south wind, so the contrast was bad.

Either way, it's good practice for what I'd really like to do, which is to climb Mount Elbert next year when I go to Colorado, and take a 360 degree, gigapixel view, hopefully in perfect, "severe clear" conditions like that excursion in 2007.

More Ripley - Sprint and Night-O

Camp Ripley is an interesting place to orienteer. Since it's a military reservation (and the largest winter training facility in the country for all branches of the service), there are rules and regulations and procedures. As long as you follow them, everything is good. (Of course, none of us ever considered any alternative.)

It starts at the entrance - there is only one, on the south side. You drive between two massive stone pylons and are directed to a manned gatehouse where you need to state your business. "Here for the orienteering event" has always gotten a wave through, though. It's still a long ways to the start area at the far northern end of the reservation. First, there's a couple miles of flat, developed area with a square road grid and many buildings of indeterminate purpose. The speed limit is either 30 or 25 mph "strictly enforced". After that, you arrive at a gate with a building to the left with a sign "All traffic must stop." This is Range Control. As in artillery range.


A Story with a Moral

I came across this very short little story a couple days ago, while re-reading some of Grimm's fairy tales on Project Gutenberg. It's usually titled The Old Man and his Grandson, and it's hardly a fairy tale, so that's probably why I don't remember it from the (abridged) collections I read as a child. Anyway, I was so struck by it that I went and read it in the original German.

Of course, not a lot of my readers are familiar with German (and to be fair, I'm pretty bad at it too), so I figured I'd offer up a translation as well.

Part of the reason I tried it was just to see if there were any words or phrases or nuances or shades of meaning in the original that were left out in the translation. Although my vocabulary has dropped to near zero by now, the grammar is still familiar enough that I was able to piece it together with the help of a dictionary. Of course, it helped that I'd read the one translation already, too! Mine is barely different, simply because it's such a short and simple piece of prose. So without further ado:

Der alte Großvater und der Enkel

Es war einmal ein steinalter Mann, dem waren die Augen trüb geworden, die Ohren taub, und die Knie zitterten ihm. Wenn er nun bei Tische saß und den Löffel kaum halten konnte, schüttete er Suppe auf das Tischtuch, und es floß ihm auch etwas wieder aus dem Mund...

Click through the link to see the rest of the original, and even if that doesn't interest you, be sure to read the translation in green.


Back to Camp Ripley

The weekend of the 16th I finally broke my self-imposed hiatus on things orienteering-related, and headed up to Camp Ripley for a weekend of MNOC events. Camp Ripley is a 53,000 acre military reservation jointly managed by the U.S. National Guard and the Minnesota DNR. Because it's so large, been around for so long, has such controlled access, so little development, and lies on the eastern edge of the Alexandria Moraine, it contains some the most pristine glacial kettle terrain in the upper midwest, easily rivaling the Cat's terrain from the 2009 U.S. Champs.

This event was a little more low-key, though. Joe Sackett, Charlie Shabahzian, and Maricel Olaru came up from the Chicago area, and a couple of PTOC and OK folks as well. The rest of the field was filled out by the usual MNOCers. Unfortunately, the entire weekend was cold, drizzly, and rainy, but once we got into the terrain that was the last thing we were thinking about.

Day 1 Middle course. Click to enlarge.

As usual, analysis behind the link.