(older entries, separated by genre or date, are listed at the bottom of this page.)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The First Annual Inaugural Blue Zoo Pro-Am Invitational

Alright. I'm just gonna start blasting out posts in fast forward. 

So last year we created a new weekend that I am gonna do my best to get to stick- the First Annual Inaugural Blue Zoo Pro-Am Invitational. Yes, every year will be called the inaugural one. 

What is it? A family friendly weekend full of fun where the dudes escape to play golf and drink beer then we all get together for fun the rest of the weekend. I love this not only because we've been talking about golfing together for years, but also because my Dad has weekends like this with a few different groups of friends and he always loves them. Now I have my own. 

We met at Gina's Dad's place for some swimming and family friendly beach time, i.e. ladies drinking fancy drinks on the beach while kids play with sand. I jumped in, we drank a few beers, and Damien was majestic.

Then it was golf time. The only other time I've golfed with this many dudes was at Voss' bachelor party weekend, and it was with a lot of the same people. It also involved more drinking than golfing.

Right off the first tee, I could tell this was gonna be hilarious. 

I was trying to stay hydrated so I brought water, but everyone else brought a lot of beer and demolished it. I went my own way though, and smoked up on hole #3. Golfing high is weird.

After 2 holes, we combined our different groups (just to appease the golf course) into a retarded mess of a six-some.

It was a mess.

Especially for Jake.

this was like 4 inches deep of water

It was a gorgeous day and I had a lot of fun. We had great weather that was prime for instagrams.

Triple Instagram HDR. Booyah.

It was a lot of fun and truthfully, I kind of wished I hadn't smoked- while it's fun to be retarded and party, I really like golf way more when I'm doing well. I think we all generally tried our best, but I definitely felt like I was a little more serious than others. That was good enough for 2nd place, losing to Shaun by 1 stroke. I don't know if he's gotten worse and I've gotten better, or he wasn't entirely at his best, but I'll take it. We knew our scores going into the last hole, so it literally came down to one shot. And he didn't blow it. Bastard.

This was a fully posed shot of Kevin scouting his shot:

I remember I had about 10 years to take pics during this hole, because Tobin had never played golf before, and was easily the worst golfer I've ever played with. For someone who had never swung before and was part of a sixsome, he should have taken 1 practice swing, fucked up, tried again, given up, etc. Play fast. If you hit a ball into the woods, pick up and drop farther down the hole. Don't take 8 practice swings, spend 2 minutes staring at the ball before you hit it, then hit every shot out of the woods and follow exact dropping rules when you're on your 15th shot of a part 4 and you're not past the women's tees yet. 
I think we spent 2 hours on 3 holes. We nearly ran out of light.

But no, we just got gloriously perfect light:

The original plan had called for possible mountain biking after the golf- we'll have to reconsider that for next year if people are interested. It just got too dark too fast, so we headed home for campfire and sweet jams under the giant NEMBA tent. I love that thing.



Jake had a nice highlight that night when he decided to step into a giant candle.

Guy can't have fun unless he's on fire!

We drank and were merry. I eventually hit the hay, probably with cats crawling all over me.

Day 2 started out cute:

Shaun, Ice, Le Tobin and I decided to go for a small hike as it was hot, we didn't want to do too much, and Ice was hella pregnant and wasn't looking for a marathon. We hit up (I think) Eagle's Ledge? It's a small hike nearby that goes to a nice viewpoint and is pretty nice but still makes you work a little. It was one of the worst hikes of my life. The bugs were absolutely horrific, just all over us every second. The view was nice though. 

As was the hike down, as I talked with Natalie about her business and her life in general. It was a nice way to reconnect with her, since I don't see her enough. 

We got back and everyone went their separate ways. I wasn't ready to call it a day though, so I went back to Gina's Dad's with her and Kevin and swam some more, even though swimming was pretty much just sitting in water and trying to avoid slime. 

I headed out eventually and was met with this gorgeous rainbow.

Awesome weekend. For this summer's edition, I'm hoping to have some trophies, at least for the winner and last place loser of the game. Maybe worst shot, I don't know. Hopefully we can have this stick as another thanxmas/squamtoberfest/lakerage/saltzmcdrunkingtons, etc. 

currently listening to: With Dead Hands Rising- Behind Inquisition

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Ossipee Patch Hunting 1: Bald Knob Mountain

After earning a patch for hiking all of the Belknap Range, I started looking for other patches I could earn. I used to make fun of people who have to always be training for something- people who like to run but don't feel complete if they aren't running marathons or doing mud or zombie races, but now that I'm in the middle of trying to earn 3 different hiking patches, I think I get it. It's nice to have a goal. And years later, to be able to look back and say that I did something I set out to do- it's pretty cool. 

Someone actually commented on my Belknap post with the link to earn the Castle in the Clouds patch (info here). So, I decided I would do everything they asked while reaching the top of all the main summits outlined here, and that way I could earn the patch by hiking all the specific trails Castle in the Clouds asks for, while feeling that I could confidently say I owned the whole Ossipee Range (since CITC only requires you to hit 5 summits). 

I decided to start with one of the smallest with good views and a really terrible name: Bald Knob. The entrance is right on Route 171 in Moultonborough, only a few miles from the Castle in the Clouds entrance. I'd never been on 171 before. I've been there a lot now. 

where you park

You walk a ways into the woods on a boring fire road, then you can see where you're going right away. I love when you can see where you're going.

The trail got steeper and was incredibly rocky right away.

Here's some people who passed me:

After awhile of hiking through some pretty rocky and surprisingly steep stuff, you come out to a lookout, which I felt made the hike worth it already.

I had to stop a lot on the way up- it was very humid, and this was steeper than I was ready for. I was a sweat machine. The trail loops back into the woods from that lookout, then starts to get real ugly:

But then it was over. The internet says it's 1,116 of vertical gain in 1.1 miles, which is the steepness of a lot of the bigger hikes I've done, so while this was short, it was certainly a work out. Rather than going straight to the lookout, I went to a higher section that I felt should be the summit, but there was no marker. The view was pretty rad:

But walking towards the viewpoint, I knew I already loved this mountain:

I saw a gigantic Turkey Vulture flying around too. I tried to get better pics, but even though it came super close, this was the best I could do:

Quite the nice view up there. I bet you can't tell which pictures are edited HDRs and which came from my normal camera:

Winnipesaukee and the Belknaps in the distance

I walked way down the rocks and all around for different views. All were damn fine. I especially liked this road, with a view of Castle in the Clouds in the distance: 

This was taken from that road. Awesome.

I had places to be though, so I started heading down. The entire way down, I went though scenarios in my head for how my 5 interviews the next day at Hubspot (the job I didn't get) were gonna go. I just completely zoned out the entire way down the mountain, worried about everything but excited at the concept of having income again at what could be a very cool job. I was quite the mix of emotions, and actually (and sadly) essentially practiced interview questions the entire way down the mountain. What a loser. 

I drove as fast as I could to get to Albee Beach for what could possibly be the last Swim Thursday of the year for me (it wasn't even close to the last). When we got there, it was looking a lot like rain. And there was a weird sand babe made in the sand: 

Very cool. 

We threw the B while it started raining on us. After awhile of freezing to death and getting rained on harder than we wanted, a command decision was made, and we packed up and headed to Brewster Beach too. I have no pictures of this expedition, but it turned out to be probably my favorite Swim Thursday of the year. Crap weather, just the 3 of us, and the annoyance of getting dry, getting right back in soaking wet clothes, only to then try to dry off with a soaked towel again after- none of it mattered, because we had an absolute blast. The lines were set up for the Brewster High School swim team, so we practiced swimmer dives and made a thousand jokes about how we were on the team, just training for our next match. 
We did flips in the water over the lines, we threw the B hard, and we had a blast. At one point, we swam to someone's giant float that was anchored in front of their house next to the swimming area. I thought this was a bad idea and didn't think we'd ever be able to get on, but we all managed, and couldn't stop laughing at the concept of us thinking we were all incognito in this person's giant float, but the reality of them very possibly just standing in their living room watching 3 fat guys climb into their float and lie there as obviously as possible, thinking nobody would see them. The float couldn't have moved more for the 10 minutes we were hanging onto it, but we thought we were sneaky. 

It was finally time to leave, and I was absolutely exhausted. I don't remember what we did for dinner, but I went to bed super late after trimming up my beard and hair, laying out interview clothes, finalizing my resume, etc. I drove to Tobin's the next day to get dressed (so I wouldn't get my clothes all wrinkled) and make my hair look nice, then sweat through everything on the 2 block walk to the interview I barely made it in time to since it was 90 out. I was there for 3+ hours, going through 5 half hour interviews and being made to wait for another 20 minutes just to have the main recruiter guy walk me out. I met up with Shaun and Natalie for a celebratory dinner because I was so certain I would get the job, but also out of relief of such an exhausting day. I didn't get the job, but in hindsight, I'm very happy about that. 

I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's pretend it's still AUGUST. 

So yea, Bald Knob is steeper than you'd think, but totally worth the effort and generally a pretty short hike for awesome views. And the Ossipee patch hunt begins!

currently listening to: The Mars Volta- B-Sides