Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fifteen minutes of fame, well sort of...

So the say that everyone gets fifteen minutes of fame, so heres mine. The College of Natural Resources here at Cal has a magazine called Breakthroughs and we (myself and my boss Allen) featured in an article about the instrument we're developing. Follow the link to see the article:



Monday, January 21, 2008

Colorado New Year and the great snowboarding saga!

Following the success of new year in the snow at Lake Tahoe last year I journeyed east this year, in search of a real winter, to Colorado and the Rocky Mountains. Fort Collins, home of the New Belgium Brewing Company, was the first destination to see in the new year at Chez Colette (photo 1). Colette having just moved there to start a professorship at Colorado State University. The new Belgium Brewery ( were we spend new years eve with a tour and tastings would be a great place to work and not just because its a brewery! The company is a co-operative as in all the employees own a part of the business and therefore have a vested interest in the companies success. After one year of employment, a stake in the company is awarded along with a neat New Belgium bike. After 5 years, employees are rewarded with a week long trip to Belgium to learn skills from their master brewers. Recycling and sustainability also feature heavily and all the power generation comes from wind farms. All this and theres a slide that leads to the tasting room, what more could you ask for. Being Colorado (Denver is the mile high city, being a mile above sea level), there was plenty of snow, freezing temperatures, ice skating (photo 2; I'm the one on the floor, I suck at ice skating) and snowball/ice fights (photo 3). It was a classic way to send off 2007 and welcome in 2008 with a bang.

After new years I spent 5 days up at Winter Park in the Rockies learning to snowboard with Mike (english guy I met on a research course in France 6 years ago) and a bunch of his University friends from the UK. It was a tough first few days with multiple bruises and sore muscles before I final got the hang of it and was cruising down the pistes. For the final two days we were rewarded with real Colorado powder, 4 inches of fresh fluffy snow on the first day and 8 inches on the second. This was awesome and exactly what snowboards were designed to ride! I have truly been bitten by the snowboarding bug and this past weekend I was up at the Heavenly resort at Lake Tahoe with my housemate Lindsey and several of her friends to cruise the slopes. Two weeks previously Tahoe had had 12 feet of snow, I kid you not and although snow was not as fresh and fluffy the base was pretty damn thick and it was all good. The views from the top of the Mountain were impressive looking down over Lake Tahoe (photos 4 and 7) and for the Friday at least the slopes were not overcrowded (photo 6). An impromptu performance by the University of California's band (all the musicians on skis) added to the atmosphere (photo 5) and the fact that the Condo we we're staying in was 2 minutes from the ski lift and was free (the owners are friends of Lindseys parents) were definite bonuses.