Monday, December 7, 2009

Where to Enter...

This post poses a problem from the start. I highly desire to update ya'll but how do I do it without drowning on and on about boring this, perhaps exciting that? Flow with me...

The road back to Colorado was long in length and time, but never boring in retrospect. Some may recall me lamenting for a few moments about the drab landscape of Nebraska; well a change of heart occurred. While this didn't happen during the trip, I came across a photo of beautiful forest in northern Nebraska and immediately recant my one-sided and underexposed opinion.

Flash back 8, maybe 10 hours earlier. The lights of E cubed were in my rear-view along with Champaign, IL. I was traveling mostly alone amongst a few dedicated souls, trucking their way to the next pick-up or drop-off. The moon shone bright over my left shoulder as my bearing pointed northerly. I can extract thoughts of feeling not so alone; the moon has that companionship about it. Like most things though, it was not to last. Before the sun's introduction into that part of late evening/early morning, I found the back of my eyelids satiation for my slightly sleep-deprived body. When I awoke, the bright orb star, colored a yellowish orange, was just beginning its tract up and out of the earth, from somewhere else. At this point, a unique situation presented itself: I was now heading due West, while on my six o'clock, the sun was ascending.

Picture for yourself the situation. Many, perhaps all of us have seen a sun-rise and its welcomed beauty, but have we ever found ourselves on the back side of sun-rise? To see the world illuminate as if a bright light were shinning from over your shoulder, brings thoughts of an unparalleled nature. At the time, my current thought train was held up, as if the conductor of the locomotive spied a potential danger in the track ahead. I was struck with a non-violent but surreal thought: the reversed perspective on a seemingly familiar event, item, or otherwise, elicits a new shade of understanding. Looking down at the ant, as he crawls across your kitchen floor carrying some booty of useful nature, you think how small he is; but the ant looks back and thinks how large you are. Is the ant really that tiny or are we just that big? Perspective dictates which answer fits.

Pregnant with that thought, think of a time in your life when perspective played out; where the chance presented itself for you to understand both sides of the coin. Would you go back and change the outcome? Nebraska is less boring glancing back to the moment. I know for sure reconsideration of perspective in my own life would change a lot of previously held notions of x, y, or z. Today will be yesterday and tomorrow will be today; guaranteed. Live not in the past, but reflect upon it's imagery to serve as a guide for where you are going. The reflecting pool of memory is a beautiful and individually-unique place, but keep focus on the larger body of water known as life, for it holds many unknowns - on the surface and deep down in the depths. At times your road will be traveled alone, with others passing, caring not to glance at you or your situation. Find those that cherish you and you them; share openly and honestly all you can.

Respect perspective. What's mine is yours, but what's yours isn't always mine. I definitely gaze rearward and think.........................analyzing things past overwhelms. I'm glad the road revealed to me a new perspective. The application of implications bore into me. I will not succeed every time I try, but I will seek to spectate the various angles, and then decide what, where, or why.

I leave not knowing where to exit. As a story begins, so does an ending. Whether or not it is finalized now or ever, is not important. How it shapes you in the process of being told is what counts indefinitely. Past is permanent. Future is impressionable. Make it as you may.


Alan

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

True Tall Tales of Benjamin Johnson

(Luke and Ben, respectively)


All-man but I'd swear he had some machine parts in him that are fueled by that black oil-like liquid he soaks up in the mornings. To say that Ben, a great friend and Gunny guy, uses a 20 pound sledgehammer to grind his coffee in the morning is perhaps a little far fetched, but upon further inspection, you realize his graces - while huge in generosity and humbleness - often take on the form of simple life for him. The cardiac muscle residing in his strong chest is probably no larger than his hand when curled in a fist, but you'd swear it was twice that size. Often in human anatomy, generalities are made about certain organs; i.e., the small intestine is approximately 9 feet in length. A similar generality could be made about Ben. Sliced post-mortem, his heart would make enough Love & Care sandwiches to feed a small group of about 4 or 5 people, and perhaps have a tid bit left-over for bedtime snack. Who's hungry?

Along parallel lines, Ben's heart doubles as an engine - fueling a great machine. Knowing not where this voluminous power plant first beamed it's potential, I will start where I am in the know: My first experience with Ben was convoluted in that there were too many people to single out the strong riders; but I, being new to "mountain" biking in the literal sense, found that Ben was easily towards the front of the pack. A natural leader, as was to be discovered in subsequent rides alone with him - most notably at the favorite spot of the locals: Hartman's Rocks. One recent memory materializes. Riding up Bambi's to meet our good friend Luke Mehall (climber extraordinaire/philosopher/great friend), I easily had a 2-3 minute head start on Ben and he still managed to crush my lead within 5 minutes of my start. He seems to need little warm-up and even more limited notice that exercise/activity is about to commence.

Ahh, which brings to thought the experience of this past weekend. While on a short road trip to Ouray (read: Winter May Come, posted 11/16/09), Ben, Luke, and I decided that a run up into Box Canyon would be appropriate while the ladies of our party proceeded to "get their soak on" at the Orvis Hot Springs. After the short jaunt past the hot springs into Ouray and up the other side into the Canyon, we arrived at a reasonable point to park. Said parking completed and changes of clothes later, the 3 of us advanced up the seemingly steeper incline of the would-be climb. Being of an Exercise and Sport Science background, I knew that without a proper warm-up I'd be sluggish and depleted of available ATP in a short matter of time, and voiced my desire to start slow. Ben, being the Ever-Start battery of the group, saw no sense or potential excuses with the hill ahead and chirped along at his usual starting pace - which for some can be surprisingly fast. Luke, being brave and willing to try the unknown, attempted to maintain purchase with Ben, but soon found himself alongside me power hiking the remaining incline. Minutes later and with Ben well out of sight, Luke and I both commented to the effect of Ben being a machine and having this insatiable drive despite the conditions - which on this day were mid to low 30's, shaded and cooler alongside the cliffs we traversed, with a foot and a half of snow.

Where do the tall tales end and the real ones begin? With Benjamin Johnson, one may never know and it only seems tall tale-ish because he continues to peak after the good have plateaued. He is not limited by mortal thoughts of failure - though like any good human, he is only good for so long before he needs his black oil-like liquid, coolant of the clear oft blue-appearing sort, and a scrumptious treat of his own creation. Nonetheless, Ben appeared back to the car at the reasonable place we had parked only 10 or so minutes after he said he would. For him, that is a feat sometimes of atypical completion. With the 3 of us in complete company again, we proceeded down the canyon to the hot springs and into the memories of our minds.

While reading of one instance may not be sufficient for those unfamiliar with Ben, one instance with him in the flesh will positively indicate physically what he represents mentally; especially in my mind. Although, Ben may struggle to read sentences about his own self, I think it only appropriate that he receive an eulogy of his efforts in order to continue his humble approach to living. Keep on keepin' on Ben. You have influenced others undeniably and will continue to do so: mind over matter.

And so concludes the true tall tales of Benjamin Johnson...

...at least for this week. May humble be thy name.


Below is Luke's blog about Ben...(which was to overlap and approach the subject from his perspective)...enjoy:

The Leader, Ben Johnson

When I run with Ben Johnson I know he’s always going to be gone, like Forrest Gump running across that football field in Alabama. He was a state champion high school runner, two-time winner of the local 2.6 mile sprint up W Mountain in Gunnison, and probably has a list of victories I don’t even know about.

When I’m road biking with Ben there’s a couple tricks that ensure I can keep up with him. Well, one trick really with two outcomes. If I let him stay in the lead I can simply stay right behind him and draft, which basically means he does all the work and I can reap the benefits and use gravity to my advantage. This ensures that I stay with him while riding, and also enables me to save energy.

This past weekend, mid-November high in the Rockies, I had the good fortune to bike with Ben one day and run with him the next. Well it wasn’t just us, our good friend Al Smith, a bad-ass in his own right, was along for both adventures as well.

With outdoor adventures I typically both love and hate Ben, with the hate always being a short term emotion because Ben typically pushes me past my perceived limits, and the love always lasting.

I think I was probably hating Ben Saturday afternoon, when we were road biking up Taylor Canyon, with an hour of sunlight left, on icy roads on skinny tires and my fingers were so cold they were going numb. This was a leisurely workout for Ben, a 40 mile afternoon ride in winter-like conditions. Freezing and complaining he even offered up his warm pair of gloves and an extra jacket, which I gladly accepted.

Things really got epic as we rounded Almont, ten miles out from Gunnison, and Al got his second flat of the day. We didn’t have an extra tube between the three of us, so like any good Coloradoan Al stuck his thumb out and hitched a ride back to town. Four miles to go there was barely any day light as I looked over to see a buck running parallel to our bikes. The deer hopped with us as we rode till he made a dramatic dash across the road and then jumped over a fence to safety in a rancher’s field.

As the sun set and we still had four miles to go Ben turned on a light on the back of his bikes so that the passing vehicles would see us, at the same time the darkness fell it began to snow. I suffered through this as my feet froze up and felt like ice blocks. When I finally arrived home I could barely waddle up the flight of stairs to my house. I sat inside with a nice adrenaline rush, and felt incredibly alive (then I spent the next half an hour warming my feet up). If I didn’t have Ben Johnson in my life I probably would have stayed inside and been lazy that cold mid-November afternoon in the Rockies.

The next day we were headed to the Orvis Hot Springs to soak and recover from the ride. Ben suggested to me and Al that we should, “go for a little run before soaking.” We agreed and I pictured running for a little while around the town of Ouray.

Ben took us past the Box Canyon in Ouray up to a dirt road and then drove back for a few miles. He parked his car and I looked up the road. It was a steep hill, covered mostly in snow. Al remarked how steep it was and that it would be a shock to the system to start the run with such a dramatic incline. Ben shrugged it off, making a masculine comment inappropriate for the tone of this blog and just started running up. I tried to hang with him for about five minutes and then soon Al and I quickly lost him as he ran into the hills.

Al and I power-walked some of the sections and a couple miles into it the road became a small cross-country ski trail in a foot and a half of snow. Two hundred foot ice falls to the left on four hundred foot rock walls. Ice climbers dangled off an overhang to the right. We couldn’t see him, but we knew Ben was still running.

We headed back, running and walking for the hour time slot that we agreed upon. After an hour we knew Ben wouldn’t be back exactly on time, but ten minutes after the hour had passed he was there. “Good workout,” he said in his Colorado way of talking, a hybrid of Boulder and Gunnison in words.

Yes it was Ben, it always is with you.

Luke's blog can always be followed at http://lukemehall.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 16, 2009

Winter may come...


Winter may come but with it comes the beauty of experiencing new places, people, and liveliness. As words form on this page, I reflect back over the weekend and think of how blessed I am to live where I do. To clarify, this world has boundless places of breath-taking natural elegance, but to actually have the privilege to live in one of those areas is truly a blessing not given to everyone, sadly. The escape for some people from the daily grind is oft in the form of day-dreams of a tropical beach, a warm radiant sun, and a cold beverage; for others, the hour and half road trip to Ouray, Colorado suffices, and then some.

A place of profound natural awe, described by some as akin to Switzerland, Ouray finds berth among many unique rock formations on three separate sides. Known as an ice-climbing Mecca, would-be adventure enthusiasts or weary travelers alike can find repose after a stimulating afternoon of the outdoors-especially at Orvis Hot Springs; a 10 minute drive from downtown Ouray-not the only hot springs in the area, but assuredly the cleanest, most-comfortable bang for your buck. Orvis pampers guests with a handful of natural hot pools (steam included), a Sauna, and of course more than ample overnight quarters to sway even the finicky. Pore-exfoliation and the sight of the sun's departure make for a combination of the two no one could quite predict-notably when shared with another or friends of a close family-type sort.

Find yourself clothed and struggling for a comfortable position in the backseat of your friend's Subaru and sooner or later, after a flipped-bitch (the act of turning your car around, aka a U-Turn) or two, you end up at Asii for a delectable Thai feast in Montrose, Colorado. Over ice water, vegetable tempura, Thai ice tea, dumplings, and main courses of varying Pad Thai, Tofu, and chicken combinations, the concept of poop sandwich comes to fruition. If bread represents the good then let a positive about the day come to light, followed by a bad or poopy thought, finished out with a tasteful positive nugget for those partaking in the sandwich to ingest. Satiation of the mind and body makes for a mellow car ride home, despite the fact that your size 13 feet are still uncomfortable in the backseat of the Subaru. No worries though, considering roughly 12 hours later, 9 of which were spent sleeping, you find yourself reflecting back over thoughts of a stupendous Sunday spent with friends who identify and exemplify what it is to live humbly and morally-sound in a place of grand beauty, such as western Colorado.


Cheers and Love,

Alan

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rambling on a Thursday


I've always imagined one day that I'll write a book and share stories from my epic [surpassing the ordinary] life. Is my goal to tout my past around like a prize-winning horse or perhaps am I just merely trying to demonstrate the lessons learned? I'd ere on the later but not everyone who might read it would think likewise.

Being adept at interpreting written word is a time-honored art [a superior skill that you can learn by study, practice, and observation]. Some writers make it very easy to understand what tone or attitude they are trying to convey; others, not so much. With the current state of books becoming more and more technologically advanced, I would not be surprised to find that books of the future will be read on devices such as Amazon's Kindle - very book-like but on a screen no larger than twice the size of current cell phones. Ahh technology...

...welcome to the death [end: a final state] of clear communication and widespread interpersonal skills in the young. With txting [read: texting] becoming increasingly popular and practical all across the age spectrum, it would come of no surprise that many people will lose practice of old-fashioned face to face communication skills [the learned capacity to carry out pre-determined results often with the minimum outlay of time, energy, or both]. If you are able to read this and say with blunt honesty [the value of speaking truth and creating trust in minds of others. This includes all varieties of communication, both verbal and non-verbal. Honesty implies a lack of deceit] that you have never encountered a miscommunication from technological devices; i.e. txting, email, etc., then keep up whatever you are doing. If you find yourself, however, being open and honest to the fact that technology has hindered [to obstruct: hinder or prevent the progress or accomplishment of] communication then pat yourself on the back because you've entered the first unofficial stage of self-help.

The longer I type on this subject, the more I find myself expressing freely on the matter. Perhaps random nights of conversation with friends has spurred this thought; or, perhaps current articles in news sources across the country have enlightened [to make free from confusion or ambiguity; make clear] my gradual acceptance of technological communication. I'd be a stone-cold liar if I said that I don't email, txt, etc.; moreover, I'd redeem myself though, by identifying my need to take an active role in technological communication discernment[discretion: the trait of judging wisely and objectively].

Sending the I had a good time txt after a date is not the same as calling the person and telling them with your tonal inflections and genuine [not fake or counterfeit] attitude. Perhaps it is here that we kick the tech crutch and rely on old-fashioned interpersonal [being, relating to, or involving relations between persons] communication [the activity of conveying information] like it's been done for years since Alexander Graham Bell's invention, or since cavemen turned grunts into sentences about feelings, emotions, and the latest town gossip.

Am I being to verbose [long-winded: using or containing too many words] to a population that already understands this dilemma [state of uncertainty or perplexity especially as requiring a choice between equally unfavorable options]? (Unfavorable in the sense that we can and cannot live without technology). If so, how do we reach the target audience, and what do they look like, dress like, and who are their parents? Question [challenge the accuracy of] the statement. Answer [be liable or accountable for] the statement. To all would-be or current parents out there: keep the I and U in communication; especially when my "I's" are on "U". Teach your children to communicate without their techy devices. Once a generation of great communicators dies, what lays in store for the remaining mortals? Food [anything that provides mental stimulus for thinking] for thought [the process of using your mind to consider something carefully]. Have a good day.


Brought to you by Alan's brain :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Format...

New Format...plus a juicy gem of a picture. Do you dare to find out more on the blog site? http://www.whatisaldoingfuntoday.blogspot.com/

<3

Al

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Winter? I think not...

Well, last week Denver got pummeled with snow while we here a little higher in the mountains were blessed with sweet sunshine and 50-60 degree weather. Now, while to many of you back East (or out West), that may seem mild and quite possibly cold; but, you have to imagine a) the dry climate and b) the higher altitude and proximity to the sun, and then of course c) that summertime highs don't go past 85ish. So to sum up, we have had some beautiful late fall/early winter weather that no one could have predicted but everyone can surely enjoy.

On that note, I have been quite busy inside but more so outside the last week. Last weekend (Halloween) was a blast. Raced in a bike race on Saturday (Halloween) and then had a killer time that evening with friends at the Wine Bar here in Gunny. We all were dressed in our Halloween-best...I as a cardboard box:) If you aren't on facebook, find someone who is and then you can see my costume. Quite original and highly unique, but most of all just fun.

The lab has been steady this past week...really just a busy day of testing and student research on Tuesday, otherwise I spent some of my hours researching potential graduate school programs for Student Affairs-my intended course of study. I've narrowed it down to 4 programs in which I'll apply to: Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO; Penn State, Appalachian State in Boone, NC; and Michigan State University. I feel these 4 programs would be a best fit for me...the first 3 being my top choices over Michigan-which has an outstanding program nonetheless. For those of you who have been patiently waiting to see what direction Al would pursue, well I'd say you can breathe a little more easily now; I'm definitely pretty solid on this choice and am anxious and excited to get my application materials in. I have my letters or reference in the mail to me and/or scheduled for a finish date of Nov. 20th. Last thing to do besides applying is for me to write my letter of intent and double and triple check things.

In other news, I have been doing a lot of volunteer work lately. Partly because I think it would look good on my resume but mostly because I believe it is the right thing to do...guess it's my mother in me. For those that know her, she definitely gives her self whole-heartedly and asks for little in return. With a role model such as she, how can I begin to not want to mirror that? Also, I find the return feeling volunteering gives me satisfies much more than possessions, etc. So what kind of volunteering? Well Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings this week I spent helping my friend Luke set up climbing routes in the fitness center for a bouldering competition held on-campus Saturday. Being that I am an intermediate climber, if I could on-site (climb a route on the 1st try) then the route was deemed intermdediate or recreational in difficulty. Also, I helped carry and clean things up after the route setting was done late Friday night.

Before that on Friday afternoon I spent 3 or so hours helping my friends Tim and Mike (also ESS students) set up a Cyclocross course on campus for their race Saturday and Sunday. To cap off the weekend, I spent a few hours this morning doing a clean-up of some of the campground/climber areas out at Hartman's Rocks with my friend Luke and some fellow student climbers. Again, it was great to feel productive and communal in helping with all of these things. Obviously I don't deserve the volunteer award of the year for this, but I think it's an ideal example of how we can be good stewards, good friends, and all around self-less individuals by helping others without expecting anything in return. My one arguement about popular religion is that too many people are under the false pretense that you just give money and you "secure your spot to heaven," whereas others give what they can-their time or genuine self and feel rewards intrinsically that just a donation of money wouldn't do. Anyways not to blabber on and convolute the good things I've mentioned...I think volunteering is a great way to help others and be a good person and of course find out more about yourself. End of story.

Hope things are well elsewhere. Hard to believe it's November 8th already. 2 weeks and I'm on the road for home for Thanksgiving. Hope to see many or all of you over the holiday period (including the Christmas holiday as well). Hugs, kisses, and stuff.

Love yous guys.

Al

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Back at it

Hello again. Just a quick diddy about my trip this past week. As some and most of you may know I was over in the Colorado Springs (Front Range as it is called here) the past week for recruiting purposes at the college. Normally, a person such as myself does not attend such college fairs for highschool recruitment, but being that we are a larger department, I convinced my bosses to let me go. They paid the meals for the week and travel and living accommodations were courtesy of my friend Ben's admission travel budget. As you can see from the pictures (http://picasaweb.google.com/aldsmith3) we had a lot of free time between fairs to get into the outdoors! Most other admission counselors and recruiters at the fairs from other colleges opted to eat, drink, and be merry but Ben and I had other intentions. It was great to experience a handful of new areas in Colorado. Definitely hard to judge places until you try them. Found some beauty and so forth I wasn't expecting in the Colorado Springs area.

In other news, for those of you wondering how my "W" Mountain Race finished 2 Saturdays ago, I took 35th out of 90 or so racers. 23:50 was my final time. The course was 2.6 miles and gained about 1,000 feet over that 2.6 miles. Ben and I followed up the race morning with an epic mountain bike ride at Hartman's Rocks for the better part of 3 hours on a sunny, mildly warm, and beautiful afternoon.

It snowed here in Gunnison today! It was so exciting to see snow again. I know some of you are dreading it but the snow really adds another layer of beauty to the scenery out here-crested mountain tops, dusted sage brush, etc. Also, the presence of snow excites me for the ice hockey season, which started yesterday (Monday), though I didn't sign up till today because of monetary issues. My first game is tomorrow night. I am excited! Glad to get back on the ice and have some competitive fun.

Not too much else going on...looking forward to coming home for Thanksgiving and time with family (especially the Baker clan) and friends. Hope ya'll are doing well. Keep in touch if I don't hear from you or see you as this holiday season approaches.

Later ya'll

Al

As always, check out the photos online (link is above) if you haven't already seen them on facebook.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

News News

Hello again. Good news and an update real quick. I am leaving Sunday afternoon for a week-long trip to the Front Range (Denver, Colorado Springs, etc.) to do recruiting for the RESS (Rec. and Exercise & Sport Science) program here at Western, as well as the college in general because lord knows, not many high schoolers know what they want to pursue in college. I will be tagging along with my friend Ben Johnson from Admissions as he attends different college fairs all next week. It will be a nice outing from the lab for me. I am getting funding for food from my department and luckily I can stay on Ben's admission tab for lodging and transportation. Yay.

I'm really fairly excited about this trip. I think it will provide some valuable experience and definitely I always enjoy mixing it up with newbs (new people).

If you haven't seen my photos from God's Crag yet, do yourself a favor and give them a checking out! (http://picasaweb.google.com/aldsmith3)

Hope ya'll are well as always. More to come after the trip. Tune back in a week or 2. Peace!

Al

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Lovely Fall Friday

Hey guys. Just a quickie about the week about done. Had a day of surprise and fun yesterday (Thursday). Found out that I was runner-up for Best Waiter in Gunnis0n. It's called the Gunnison County People's Choice Award. I was completely surprised! I had no clue that was going to happen. Also yesterday had my very first mountain bike race at Hartman's Rocks. In the spring and fall the local Gunnison Trails Association does races at Hartman's to raise funds and to get people outside. This race last evening is the last for the season. Anyways, being it was my first race I entered in the short course with 2 other people. I probably should have entered in the long course under the Sport category (other category was Expert), but I wanted to smash it the first time I raced. Took 1st place by 10 minutes. No big deal though because everyone is just out to have a good time, free beer, and half-off pizza afterwards in town at Pie-Zans Pizza...yumm.

So that's my big day of news. Lastly, if you thought that I had myself straight...you were wrong! I am most likely not going to apply to the online Master's program. Reason being I feel I can save having to repay school loans by being a graduate assistant and thus going for virtually free. So look for updates as to where I will decide to continue schooling. Whew. I just can't make up my mind can I?! haha.

Catch ya'll around.

4. Best Waiter/Waitress
CHRISTIAN INGRAM, GARLIC MIKE’S Al Smith/Garlic Mike’s

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy Roktober

Hey ya'll. Fall is here as is October...aka Roktober. So good to feel that brisk fall air and semi-warm sunshine. The nights are chilly (low 30's) but the days are gorgeous and ideal for being outside mildly clothed. Still into that wonderful mountain biking! Going again tomorrow in CB and then racing in a local race at Hartman's Rocks next Thursday! Woo!

Tuesday evening (this week) marked my last night of work at Garlic Mike's for the winter. We do the bulk of our business in the summer tourism months and being that I still work at Hertz rent-a-car, I've decided to give more time to that job. One justification for such is that I'd need to work 2 weekdays and 1 weekend at gmikes and that was difficult if I was going to work at Hertz as well. So, I decided if I couldn't do 1 day a week at gmikes to just let myself be unscheduled until busy season next summer.

In other news, there is of course the HAPLab video up. It is gaining popularity and probably at it's peak thanks to many of you. I have a new thing to share this time...an article written by my friend Luke who is a freelance writer as well as the Assistant Director of Public Relations at Western. The link to the article on Western's site is as follows: http://www.western.edu/news/training-smarter-not-harder-with-the-wsc-high-altitude-performance-lab Please check it out! Neat to read what someone else writes about the lab I work and try to flourish in.

As always, if you are on facebook (aka the book of faces, fbook, or just the book) be sure to add the HAPLab to your fan pages. More picture are being added slowly. I have new ones up from 2 weeks ago showcasing our equipment. Lastly, I am slowly preparing to apply to an online master's program at Cal-U of PA for a MS in Exercise Science and Health Promotion. Slated start date would be January 2010. The entirely online program lasts 12 consecutive months. I'll need to take out loans to pay for this, so if you have any advice with the federal loan process please let me know! I'd love any insight. Hope ya'll are doing groovy. Gotta go get the chicken out of the oven and and then go play some ultimate frisbee with students. Peace ya'll.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

....Sucess!

Well, for those of you that are out of the facebook loop, I created, filmed, and edited a video highlighting what it is I/we do in the HAPLab here at Western State College and let's just say...great success!

If you'd like to see it, please follow this link to youtube and turn up your speakers! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2gXxBI1FjE

Basically, I feel like a micro-celebrity now. I guess it's enough exposure that I feel highly content. I'm really just thrilled to get people's feedback praising me for my efforts and so forth. Very extrinsic. I posted the link to our campus-wide email and have had many people respond. This is inline with what I hoped for: exposure. I want to make the lab a place to come to. There is a lab of similar sorts somewhere in the front range (Denver) area, and they charge boocko bucks for their testing where as we charge nominal fees. Of course I'm always out to make deals with people (i.e. couples testing for $50) in order to get people in.

So what i'm asking, if you could or would, please promote us in ways that are comfortable to you. We do offer distance assistance for those that don't live here. Obviously it's limited by not having a true hands-on test, but we are available for consult. However, you are not expected to do anything if you don't want to. Just watch and enjoy. It will make you smile and perhaps laugh.

Love you all. Take care!

Alan

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Back from Taos...

Greetings. I got back this morning from a short road trip embarked on this past Friday to Taos, New Mexico to see Erica, Ev, Elana, Elliot, Stephanie, Rob and Adelay. Rob's friend Paul (whom went out to the Pacific Northwest with us) also joined us for the duration of my weekend stay.

The short drive (4 hours on the way down, 3.20 on the way home due to a shortcut) was filled with awesome Colorado scenery. Be sure to check out my photos online (http://picasaweb.google.com/aldsmith3).

As of today, I am trying to update more via the blog so I can spend less time talking on the phone to people. That may sound very impersonal and rude but I often find that my free time is taken up doing something and that I am less apt at wanting to speak via the telephone. Sorry guys.

Thoughts from the trip:
The Smith family is moving in a new direction. I can't say I'm part of that but in many ways I am indirectly involved. We have shifted from one big unit of adults to a unit of adults with little ones pooping, crying, laughing, smiling, and cementing new memories. I love to see my little nieces and nephews smile and react to me but I can say that I don't yearn for a child of my own. I often wonder now if I will ever want one of those. I know I'm selfish in the basic picture of my life, but I just don't see myself moving too far past that to make time for a kid. In all respect sisters, too much time is wasted with those little darlings to have a functional doing/seeing/moving/etc family unit. I love my time with family but I miss the days past when things were more simple. The portrait has changed...for the better in some and many regards...for the worse (in the meantime) temporarily. Please don't take offense my emotionally loving sisters and brother in laws. I'm stating it how it is...from my perspective. Yours will differ, as will anyone else reading this.

On an ending note, enjoy your lives wherever they may find you and don't forget to cherish what you have. I know I love living where I am and I was very happy to be back in Gunnison this morning after being away. Hope any and all of you can make it out here to see what I mean. The simple life here goes on day after day...come join in.

Cheers and love,

Alan

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hear ye, Hear ye!

Well, it's been a while! If my math serves me right it's been...well, over a month. I am very sorry for that. Thanks Marge for dropping a line to see how I was. I totally didn't mean to forget. I have been really pretty steady with my summer life. Things to do, places to see, etc. Flying home to PA for a 8 day visit/getaway was the first I left the Gunny Valley for over 2 and half months. Been sticking it out; working a bunch, getting outside a lot, making some memories with new friends.

Anyways, a short intro in to my recent absence. I'm back at it though and been working in the lab (HAPLab) for 2 weeks now. Classes started and the students are back. It is great to have people flowing through the hallways again past the lab. I met a lot of students last semester and some of them are still here for another year or 2. Very nice to see familiar faces as compared to when I started in January and knew nobody!

I've made or enhanced new friendships this summer as well. My friend Ben, who is an admissions counselor at the college, has introduced me into the mountain biking realm out here. It is sick (no throwing up) as to how much land there is to explore and have a blast doing under your own power. Hartman's Rocks (where I ran the Sage Burner 25k race) is where we frequent often. Speaking of which, last night, myself, Ben, Jason, and a new guy Zack (both who work at the college) rode into the sunset of a sun and the moonrise of a full moon! No where else in my life have I ridden by moonlight and loved it. We had to break out the headlamps for one trail, but otherwise it was indeed epic!

Reading just some of the things that have been going on you can see how I'm busy with new experiences, new friends, and one hell of a beautiful and unique place here in Gunnison. It's captivating as mother and father can hopefully atest. You'd maybe think with the onset of winter nearing (it's now probably late late summer, early fall here now), that we would be bummed for snow but your wrong! Ice Hockey starts October 26th! CBMR (crestted butte mountain resort) opens for skiing in November, and after a hearty snow, the double track at Hartman's is groomed for XC skiing-of which I am going to get into more this winter!

Now you can see how it's addicting to stay here. In a way, it's not the money you make (or don't make) that keeps you here, but the beauty, serenity, and irreproducible experience of the Gunnison Valley.

I know I just spouted at the mouth via my fingers for a short bit about outdoor this, outdoor that but it's been my life more as of lately minus when I am working at the college, Garlic Mike's, or Hertz rental car. Hope ya'll are good. Live the life you long to live.

Cheers!

Alan

P.S. and of course do check out my pictures! Many have been added, some cool looking ones. http://picasaweb.google.com/aldsmith3

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Happy Birthday??

Is it appropriate to post on my birthday? Sure, why not? Oh I can't even think of a good excuse why not. Perhaps I am just asking myself rhetorical questions to entertain myself at 2 in the am. Why up so late? Ohh, feel like burning the midnight oil because I can.

Been a hectic past week up until oh probably Friday. Testing is finally done in the lab and Scott is gone away on his honeymoon. I am happy they are getting away from the drag of the daily grind. If I sound like I'm complaining, please forgive me. I am merely expressing the dissatisfaction that came with the seemingly relentless testing we did the past 2 weeks. Granted it is the day of my birthday, 25 years to the day, but I in many ways am just updating the readers of this blog with some news from my life and some thoughts from a perceiving mind. Please pay no mind to what I say. I often ramble just to get thoughts out of here [my brain].

Work at Garlic Mike's otherwise, goes well. I work with a lot of fun people and we function as a team instead of individuals out for themselves like some chain restaurants may. I have learned much in the past 4 weeks of employment; though it feels like much longer than 4 weeks. One more month of busy business and the flow of customers should reduce. We shall see!

I continue to work at Hertz rent-a-car once or twice a weekday evening to do the night flight. Makes for a very tiny paycheck but it keeps me in practice with the computer system at work, and it's antiquity.

I will say I wish to get out into nature more, but in the past few days, I have found content with sitting in my chair on the porch and enjoying the nothingness of a daytime without work. Evenings are another beast entirely. Can't have your play without work though. On a side note, I have pork chops steeping in BBQ sauce and onions in my Crock Pot waiting for me to delight on upon the 'morrow. Sorry for the discontinuous thought; the smell of it invades every inch of my small but quaint apartment and spills out into the hallway. Away with you, you begging scoundrels! Haha. I am entertaining myself this late into the evening; or shall I say early into the morning? Moving on...

One thing I've noticed with this blog is that I tend to carefully choose what I say for fear of shocking you the readers with what I think about this or that. I take a decent amount of care to watch my language, and usually never disclose anything personal that would embarrass myself permanently. Does that bother you as a reader? In some ways it may, but then just think of all the secrets the government whispers behind pursed lips (just an example, nothing against the government). Do you feel so bad now?

I apologize, it is late and my mind loves to pour over things of non-related natures. Think of it as a small change of direction; like when the wind shifts and you are now faced with a bitter wind in your face instead of at your back. As much as we wish the wind to be on our back, carrying us on our way, we often inconveniently have to face the wind. It is the small, unnoticing moments like this that help shape us as adults in an ever-changing environment. Granted, we probably rarely take stock of the fact that such things occur, but when you stop to think [read: moments like this] we realize that, shit, we are adapting and dealing on a subconscious level. Welcome to yourself. Enjoy the ride. :)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th

Sorry it's been so long...nearly a month. That will happen though in the summertime; or just any busy time such as this for me. For those still hanging on for the news, I did get the job at Garlic Mike's Italian Restaurant. I am actually headed off to work tonight in about 30 minutes. I'm a little bummed about giving up my July 4th evening and missing out on some fireworks but I did get to go enjoy a beautiful day and parade up in Crested Butte this morning so.

As always, there are pictures still being added to my Picasa site (http://picasaweb.google.com/aldsmith3). Please find yourself a few minutes to peek at life here in CO.

In other news, I'm waiting to hear about getting off work this next coming Saturday so I can travel to Champaign, IL to see Erica, Ev, Elana, and hopefully the new baby! Also, Mom, Amy and Andrew should be arriving as well. Hope to get to see them. Not sure of much other news here or there. Hope things go well wherever you find yourselves this summer. Take 30 seconds and enjoy life...it's a wonderful thing.

Later.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summertime?

Hey guys. Why the question mark in the title? Well, being that it is my first summer here in Gunnison, I am getting used to this all. I grew up with Pennsylvania's hot and humid summer times and this just doesn't compare at all. Not only has it been lacking to reaching higher than the mid-70's, we have been inundated with rain and T-storms in the afternoons that last briefly and move on. People that have lived here for a while tell me that this is a non-normal summer thus far. All I know is I hope that a more "normal" summer comes soon! I swear I have more covers on my bed now then I did in the winter time! The heat in my building is turned off for summer; so it's all or nothing. No customizing how hot or cold. Not to worry, I am surviving fine. Just getting used to this. I will admit though, I do miss the heat and humidity of PA. Nothing wrong with taking a figurative shower just from going outside.

In other news, I had an interview today at Garlic Mike's Italian Cuisine here in Gunnison (check out their website! http://www.garlicmikes.com/). I was interviewing for a serving position. The restaurant in my opinion is the premier Italian eatery in the valley. If you were to transplant Garlic Mike's in a major city, it would do quite well. Anyways, there is 2 serving positions open and I was 1 of maybe 7 or 8 applying. The only good news I have on this is that Shawn, the manager, said I was towards the top of the possible candidates list as we were finishing our half hour interview. Of which I took up all 30 minutes of it. Yay! So, I am to receive a phone call this Saturday if I got the position or not. Now while I still work at Hertz and obviously the college, this job would allow me to work evenings and weekends outside of my job at the college and possibly still Hertz on non-working weekdays. We'll see. I can't make any choices yet till I know but it definitely is a step up in the work world from Hertz.

Finally got a Colorado driver's license and just transferred my PA title today for a Colorado one. Got myself some CO license plates too. Been busy busy otherwise. Not so much in one particular aspect, just in general. Have a new intern at the lab from Dakota State for summer and started working Tuesdays all day at Hertz to get some extra hours this summer. So between all of that and the personal life I sort of have, I have been hoping.

I'm out. Hope ya'll are enjoying your summers.

Oh and P.S., my parents are coming to visit this Wednesday for 3 days! Should be fun; looking forward to some visitors!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Hartman's Rocks

video
A video from up at Hartman's Rocks Rec Area. Just minutes from Downtown Gunnison. Awesome place to bike, hike, trail run, camp, dirt bike, off-road, and be outside in it! Only can really experience by being here. Video and pictures only do so much. Anyways, enjoy and don't forget to check out the photos as always.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wow, I'm slow at updating, but...


I have a really good excuse because I have been busy, busy, and more busy! Most of my last month has been spent getting ready for my first mountaineering trip out to the Cascade Mountain range in the Pacific Northwest; namely Oregon and Washington. My brother in-law Robert and his friend Paul planned a trip to attempt summits of 3 separate peaks in the 9 days we had in the region. To give you the short and skinny, we only made summit to one :*(

Reasons: first attempt up Mt. Hood, was blunted by hard driving cross-face snow chilling us as well as taking our vision away beyond 30 feet in front of us; first and only attempt up Mt. Rainer (the grand daddy! and tallest peak in the Cascades) was halted a quarter-way into the morning of day 2 by constant snow all day the previous day and the conversion to rain in the night - which slowly was causing our snow cave to collapse, and thus freaking me out a bit. I'm not necessarily claustrophobic but I definitely wasn't comfortable with at least a foot of snow above me and the sounds of avalanches off in the distance above us in elevation on the mountain. Avalanches really do sound like a train coming, kind of funny in a non-humorous way to experience! So since avalanches would make it unsafe for further climbing upward, we decided at around 3 or so in the morning to pack up what we had packed in our packs and make trail for the van. Slept the remainder of the morning in the van until around 6 or so when we made the drive back out of Mt. Rainer National Park and to a Denny's! Thank goodness for 24 hour food service. I won't lie, we had some funny early morning, lack of sleep laughs at Denny's; some of which may not be suited to be discussed on this blog. haha. :)

Let's see...second attempt up Mt. Hood was successful! *(at least for Rob and I). Michael, the 4th member of our party, who is a good friend of Rob and Paul and who's father taught Paul and Rob pretty much everything they know about mountaineering also in turn taught me some things...yay. Anyways, we started off after sleeping in the parking lot either in the van or by the shelter, up the mountain at around 2 am. Michael started with us as well but turned around after about 10 minutes of hiking upwards because of difficulties with breathing due to his recently acquired acute sickness (which I eventually got and am just getting over now!). Fairly uneventful hike up the mountain...very quiet and the light from a half-moon was sufficient to light our way. I definitely prefer climbing/hiking in a calm evening/early morning vs. a blazing sunshiney day. Stops were made every 40-60 minutes either for clothing additions or subtractions, urination, or nutrition until we got to about 9,000+ feet, at which point the glacier started and crampons on boots happened! After said happening of cramponing-up, we came across a climber who had got hit by some chauce from above on the ice cliffs and managed to crampon herself in the leg somewhere in the series of being hit and falling a short distance; or something of that sort. Anywho, Robert, being Doctor Duty, rendered the climber and her friends with some first-aid assistance. Additionally, he helped fashion a foot harness for her to hold her legs up so sliding or "glacading" down the mountain would be a bit easier. After the short medical stop, Paul, Rob, and I continued up to what is known as the Hog's Back (picture in the upper left corner of the blog post). At said point, Paul was feeling severely dehydrated after lugging his 250 pound self and 40 or so pound pack up thus far, so he rested with us for a while on the Hogs Back (which is what we are doing in the picture...resting) and then proceeded to work his way down the mountain to safety and euhyrdration. At which point, Rob and I continued our trek onwards and upwards! I was a little bit nervous b/c the Hog's Back was definitively a razor-like edge that allowed little traversing except for with well-placed cramponed steps or in existing tracks the people before us had left. After reaching the top of the Back, we traversed left to approach the 'shooting gallery' as we referred to it as, because of the falling chauce and ice from climbers above. Are you loving the play-by-play yet? Anyways, steep-ish 60 degree or more of upward slope climbing and we made the top of the ridge, which was a razor edge as well with a thousand foot plunge down the other side of the mountain! Another 2 or so minutes of simple hiking to our right along the razor edge and we were on the summit! Summit time was approximately 9:20am. So a little over 7 hours of climbing/mountaineering/etc. to reach the top. Had there been less people perhaps we would of made it in faster time. A weekend with great weather made for a popular place on the mountain that day.

Our final story of a mountain for the trip was to be Mt. Jefferson. In between the attempts on the 1st two mountains, we stayed in Portland (for the Hood attempts) at Rob's friend from medical school Nicole's pad, and at McChord Airforce Base, in Washington because of Paul's job in the airforce. So anyways the Jefferson story...

Planned to hike into what is known as a base area called Jefferson Park the night before a summit attempt. Driving up to the trail head we were halted by deep snow on the road and were forced to park approximately 2 miles from the trail head and post-holed (hiking in snow while subsequently punching through it up to your ankles and often half-way up your calves) our way up to the trail head in shorts and tee shirts! It was a good 60 some degrees but the snow was stubborn and a few weeks off from melting completely. Arrived at the trail head after an hour and half trek upwards. Discovered shortly after that trail to Jefferson Park was not marked at all and our topo map only showed us following a creek. Furthermore, our trail was snow covered and required more post-holing to make any progress. After about a half hour, we decided a summit was g0ing to be impossible b/c the snow was too deep and our arrival was a few weeks early for the season. Also, J. Park was another 5 miles and the sun was starting it's decent to the horizon; so with a smiling disappointment, we made way back to the trail head for a night of camping, food, and fun campfire (our first of the trip!) stories, before tucking all 4 of us into a mega-mit (tent-like structure with no floor, designed to be set up/torn down quickly). The next morning found us hiking back the 2 miles to the car in 45 minutes and then back to Portland evenutally for our final evening together as a group. Tears :_(

Dinner that night was awesome and came thanks to a restaraunt called Henry's in downtown Portland. If you are ever there, do yourself a huge favor and check it out. Amazing food, huge, HUGE beer list :)

Okay so that's my story. Not much else to add, and I've been typing a shit-ton.

Final story while I'm blogging to update those that haven't spoken to me or heard from me in 23 some days since the last post.

Ran the 2nd annual Sage Burner 25k Trail Run here in Gunnison yesterday! There was a 50k version of it too, but I was not feeling up to attempting 31.8 miles of trail running, the 16.2 was plenty for me; especially considering the furtherest I've ever ran in a day was 6 miles! Had a fun time doing it, despite having tired and sore legs later last night and today; T-storms and showers held off and the temperature was nice. I'm proud to say I finished 46th out of 114 entrants for the 25k! Not too bad for my first ever race. I look to do more in the near future. Oh, my final time for 16.2 miles (approx. 25km) was 2 hours 52 minutes and some seconds.

Hope things are well with ya'll. Sorry for the long over-due post. Easier sometimes to save up all the big things to talk about. Keep on keeping on...love ya'll!

Al

P.S. check out all my photos from the trip at my website for pictures!!!! (http://picasaweb.google.com/aldsmith3)

Friday, May 1, 2009

May 1st

Happy May. Sorry I don't have a lot to report. Been busy with the onset of classes finishing for the semester. Please redirect yourself to my blog for the HAPLab (http://haplabblog.blogspot.com/) to read about the fun exercise topics I've been discussing. I think you may all find the blog's contents informative.

Take care,

Alan

Friday, April 24, 2009

Updates Updates

What's new out yonder you may wonder? Well, not a whole lot. Been busy socializing I will say. I have been making new friends and acquaintances exponentially the last few weeks. Doing such has kept me busy and away from spending time in front of this computer updating you all, or on the phone talking to those that I do talk with.

Biggest deal I suppose you could state is the recent date I went out on Wednesday night. The assistant Athletic Director Megann opted to take me to a bar & grill called the Trough over on/by the Dos Rios Gold Course. She is 24 like I and a graduate of Slippery Rock University back home in PA. Nice thing was that she knew of areas that were familiar to me...IUP, Pittsburgh, etc. I must say I was slightly intimidated by her physically b/c she is 6 foot 2. Ha. Cutting to the chase, do I see potential in a relationship? No. Do I see a good friend? Yes.

What else fun happened this week you may ask? Well, I have continually been afforded the opp to play ultimate frisbee with some students that play on the field outside my building multiple times a week. As recently as last evening, in the shadow of a capture the flag bust, we played a game of ultimate with a light up disc. Pretty awesome fun to get out and mix it up with slightly younger humans. I tell you, being around a college atmosphere makes you feel younger...at least for me. I'm not sure how Amy feels. Anyways, the more I talk to current faculty in my department, the more they encourage me to become a professor like them. I have received comments on how I interact well with students and seem to have a knack to teach subject matter. This is all very positive feedback. I am not 100% decided, but I believe that it will be my intended path of study...becoming a professor that is. One step at a time. Nothing new as far as graduate school yet. This month's top 2 choices are Chico State in California, and University of Colorado in Boulder. I hear the latter has a great Ex. Phys program.

What the crap else? Well, the weather here has been pretty delicious the past few days. Highs in the 60's, which to you back East may seem cold, but in reality it's quite warm here. Even summertime here only gets into the high 80's (if we are lucky) I hear. But being closer to the sun :) we feel warmer at lower temps than ya'll. Warm enough to be shirtless - as I can attest to yesterday during my run with Scott.

Lastly, no news yet from the Club at Crested Butte. My source Madelyn is dependable but its the folks that run the ship that are shifty. I think it's a stressful time up there b/c they are over budget on their renovations and so forth, so we'll play it cool till mid-May, at which point I will call hoping for answers. If I don't get that job, I'm not entirely sure what I'll do for summer work yet. I get paid I think approx. 50 percent less in the summer for my work here at the college so it could be rouggggggggh till work is found.

Training to go climb Mt. Hood, Jefferson, and Rainer still goes well. My running and hiking is going to help me for sure. As of this morning, I'm clean shaven in preparation to start growing my beard for the climbs! haha. Love that ability to grow facial hair.

Take care ya'll. Catch you when I do!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hike to Signal Peak (behind the college)

video

So not the best video, but y0u can still see the vantage point and how here in Gunnison we are situated in a surrounding of mountains! Snowed a bunch on Thursday eve/Friday morning but tis almost all gone by today...at least down out of the mountains. Hard to tell in this video. Hope all is well! ttys

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

And....BACK

Hello peoples. I am back in Gunnison finally...well I have been since Sunday evening. As you may recall, this past weekend I was in Loveland (just North of Denver 40 minutes or so) for the Easter holiday with my cousins Renee and Lory, Renee's husband and children, and Lory's new friend Jason. It was nice to have some family time out West here because my family was doing the same back in Indiana (minus of course Erica, Ev, and Elana in Illinois).

I am excited to announce to you guys, my readers, a new Blog I started as part of my job at the college. It is a blog designed around exercise and sport science topics. So, each week I will post a new topic for discussion amongst any and all peoples interested. No log-in is required. Just visit the blog (http://haplabblog.blogspot.com/), read up, comment if you'd like. It will be a great source for exercise topics and almost mimic an exercise forum. Why is this good? Well, many of you probably wish you had a better handle on your exercise habits and/or lifestyle activity habits. This blog will be your chance to ask any questions pertaining to exercise/activity/nutrition and have expert feedback all free of charge! Tell your friends, family, co-workers, etc. It is my brainchild. I intend to maintain it every week...even better than this blog (no sad faces! haha). So yes...

I believe last post left you with the news that I was not being offered a job at the Club at Crested Butte. Well, after speaking with the lady that works there that I know, she stated that they are 99% sure that they want to bring me on-board for summer. So I am waiting for the day they call and offer me a job. We'll see!!!

Otherwise, things continue to go well. Today and yesterday have been sunny and in the high 50's. Can't complain...though there is a chance of snow tomorrow through Saturday I believe. Crazy spring-time weather. For those unaware, I set to go climb Mt. Rainer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Rainier) in early May with my brother-in law Robbie and his friend Paul. To help ready myself for this experience I have been hiking around Gunnison with a 50 lb. pack of birdseed! Cheap training method. I look forward to it. Lucky for me though, I have altitude training on my side already...being that I live out here at 7,700 some feet.

Hope things are going well for ya'll...hurry spring time along if you can. Take care everybody.

Love,

Al

Oh and of course, new pictures have been posted from Easter as well as some sunset photos I took from the other day. As always, the website for my photos is http://picasaweb.google.com/aldsmith3. Bye!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Back in Gunny...for now.

Hello all. I am back from my Sacramento trip. All went well. The sunshine was quite a relief because with the sunshine, there was warm weather and not snow! (though it is all about melted again here in Gunny)

A lot was done in the short 3 days we visited. First off, we stayed with my cousins Shawn and Katie Claybomb. Be sure to check out my Picasa website pictures (follow the link to the left, or this one http://picasaweb.google.com/aldsmith3). Secondly, I, Scott, and Tim visited Chico California (just north of Sacramento by about 80 miles) to see one of Scott's former classmates from his doctoral program at Univ. of Northern Colorado-Greely. His friend Chen is a Biomechanics professor at Chico State. The University is a lot like my alumna matter IUP. It is a division 2 school with about 15,ooo students; and the university resides in Chico, which is about 60,000+ residents. Very beautiful campus; in fact, much more so than IUP, possibly because of the longer warm months. I am seriously considering applying there for Graduate school. As I may have stated in an earlier blog post, I intend to apply for a graduate assitantship or teacher's assistantship to defray completely or partially tution. I know I just mentioned that I look to possibly go to school in North Carolina, but perhaps I can do my doctoral work there?! The key difference is the contact I now have in the Kinesiology program at Chico state in the form of Chen (whom is in a few of the pictures).

Not forgetting the whole purpose of our trip to Sacramento though. Tim's 50 mile (!) race was on Saturday. The race started at 6 am sharp so we all got up and ready around 3:45 in the morning! Whew, talk about early. If you follow the pictures in order, they take you through the course in a sequential fashion. Scott and I were crewing for him, so after each aid station we would hop into the rental car and rush off to the next station about 5 or so miles down the course to offer him food, gatorade, water, mental support, etc. Made for a busy morning. Cousin Shawn met me at the 2nd to last aid station (Rattlesnake Bar nature area) and got some photos as well. For those of you that keep in touch with him, feel free to email him for his take and perhaps photos. One nice thing about starting a race at 6 am is that it finishes decently early too! Tim finished 5th overall and was only 12 minutes behind the winner. He finished at 6 hours and 16 minutes! What an accomplishment. 650 people entered the race and an unknown amount probably didn't finish.

The wager for next year is that Shawn will pay for both Scott, Tim, and I's race registration costs, if we all enter it and finish it! Can you imagine me doing 50 miles in a day!? Haha, lucky for me I have a year to train...going to climb lots of mountains as a cross-training effect rather than purely running distances.

Other fun things about Sacramento: Shawn has gotten into Long-Boarding (a longer skate board), and taught Scott and I how to. I took a bit more passionately to the sport than Scott did but at least he tried it a number of times. I will try to put some videos up from our few skating sessions in Shawn's neighborhood. By the way, the pictures of his house and the houses around are quite beautiful. Do check them out please! (http://picasaweb.google.com/aldsmith3)

Things continue to go well. I had 1 Lactate Threshold test in the lab yesterday; one today, and a VO2 max test later today as well as tomorrow! Thursday morning will find me off on a field trip to Denver with the college to tour exercise physiology facilities and sports-related businesses. The trip lasts till Friday afternoon, at which point I am planning to head to Renee Early's (my 1st cousin) house for Easter weekend. Her sister Lory, my cousin as well, will be coming into town Friday night as well. Should be a fun weekend with extended family; though I will be missing all of you back in Indiana for the first Easter in memory. Do take care this Easter season and cherish what you have; never know when it could go away.

Talk to you peoples soon.

Love,
Alan

P.S. Oh and before I forget, I did hear about the job at the country club in Crested Butte; they are still undergoing budget restraints - partially due to the economy, and their 2 million dollar renovation, so if I do get hired it won't be until late May before the grand-reopening. I'm not crossing my fingers on it, but I am hopeful. We'll see. ttyl.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April 1st...

Well I could start this off by saying it snowed last night...APRIL FOOL'S!!!! but then I would be disappointing in more than one way. Sadly, it did snow last night and is still currently putting down such as I write! I'd say there is an easy 6 to 8 inches on the ground right now, and it's increasing! So much for a good April Fool's day trick. Perhaps I'm getting too old...hmm...NEVER! Since I already broke the ice for the April Fool's thing, I feel it is too late to start with a new one so let's just move on.

For those of you that read this and had a chance to be in town this past weekend, then you probably might have gotten to see me. For those of you that live in Indiana but did not get to see me, I apologize. Even my family - Mom, Dad, Steph and Rob only got to see me for a good solid evening of dinner. You probably think I flew home right? Wrong; I had the grand idea to drive home...haha. The real reason was so I could switch out mom and dad's vehicle that I had used to haul out the uhaul, in favor of my small 4 door Mazda Protege. So I left here in Gunnison last Wednesday morning (the 25th) and traveled to Lincoln Nebraska to stay with Lory Baker, my cousin. After a delicious dinner, good conversation, and a few card games I went to sleep in order to wake up early to drive to Erica and Ev's in Champaign, IL. I was delighted to reach their house by about 3 pm local time. Getting there early allowed me time to visit and play with that beautifully cute niece of mine, Elana Kay. Not forgetting the important part either, I got to visit with Erica and Ev as well! Early Friday morn found me on the road again for good ol' Indiana, PA!

I arrived by about 3 pm in the afternoon eastern standard time, dr0pped my car off to be looked at before it's trip back West, and then had a wonderful evening with friends uptown. I did not get to see all the friends I would have liked to, but the most important ones I did get to see and that was fine with me. Can't please everyone. Saturday, I was invited to play in a wiffleball tournament at the Rose Inn with my good friend Adam, as well as some other friends from Indiana that I know. After which, I hung out with Rotten Robbie (oh how he hates that name, haha) and then eventually had dinner that evening with the fam at Steph and Rob's pad. Sunday morn found me up early packing and anticipating a delicious breakfast with mom and dad at home. I was sad to have spent so little time with mom and dad...next time you two!

I repeated the same route on the way back out except for one small detail. I first traveled to Erica and Ev's; slept the night, and then headed West on the same route as I had come East except that instead of staying with Lory I went straight for her sister Renee's house in Loveland, Colorado. Needless to say, after 15+ hours of driving, I made it! I wasn't exhausted as you might think; I think at that point you are beyond tired and just wired for survival! haha. That was Monday, and of course Tuesday morning found me driving from Loveland (which is just North of Denver aka the Front Range) to Gunny.

So I'm back into the swing of things. All in all I traveled ohhh easily 3,500 miles by car in 7 days!!!!! Wow, that seems a lot, and it's not terribly bad by yourself I think b/c at least you have no one to argue with when you get cranky...

So today is Wednesday and tomorrow obviously Thursday...well, where I'm going with this is that I'm actually headed back out the door tomorrow at noon time; this time though with Scott and our friend Tim Par. We first will be driving to Denver International Airport from which we will be flying to Sacramento International!! A little bit about Tim Par, 23 or so years of age, lean and muscular, exceptional distance runner. He is the reason for this trip further West. He is running, on Saturday, in the American River 50 mile race (http://www.run100s.com/AR50/)...check out the link to learn more! Lucky for us though, Shawn and Katie Claycomb are graciously offering their house and hospitality for the duration of our stay; which goes till Sunday afternoon. Scott and I are fairly confident Tim will do quite well and maybe/probably win the race, if his head is straight. He has been training hard for this race and Scott is pretty much his coach. I joke with Scott and say that if he's the coach then I'm the road manager...planning the trip, lodging, etc. And, lucky for us, since I am an employee of Hertz, we are renting a car using my employee discount for a mere 14 bucks a day! Lucky/fortunate us!

So, that is the news from the past week and the news yet to come for this week/weekend. Wow, the snow continues to come down...jolly good (hope you caught the sarcasm). Take care and would love to talk to any and all of you soon. Haven't heard from some people in a while. Oh well, Happy April!

Oh and P.S., as always, Pictures have been posted to my Picasa website...click the link that follows to view (http://picasaweb.google.com/aldsmith3)


Alan

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Special Visitor...


Dr. Shim is the guy on the far right with the blue sweatshirt on. In this picture, he is administering a choice reaction test to Kirky (kneeling girl at the end of the table).


Well, this weekend, we here at Western State College of Colorado were blessed to have a special visitor and good friend of mine, Dr. Andrew Shim (formerly of IUP), now out of Dakota State University in Madison, SD. Scott and him had been planning a Health-Fitness and Anaerobic Performance Seminar for the past month and a half, and Friday/Saturday were the implementation of said planning. I am always happy to have a visitor come to Gunnison, and that now makes 2 visits for Dr. Shim in the last 2.5 months!! Wow, my family and friends are being put to shame, ha ha ha?

The students that attended - mostly all ESS Majors (exercise and sport science) hopefully got something out of the 2 day seminar; at worse some of them got free weight-vests and pants from Arnie @ Ironwear fitness in good old Pittsburgh, PA! (an awesome guy Andrew and I had the pleasure of knowing when at IUP - his website www.ironwearfitness.com).
We had Andrew lecture for the morning sessions while the afternoon sessions were all hands-on. If you go to my pictures online, you will see some pictures of the labs and lectures that he did here at the college.

Other highlights of the weekend? Well, with a special visitor in town, that means special dinner plans! Scott and Liz were most gracious in housing Dr. Shim for the duration of his stay and on Friday evening post-seminar, post-exercise/working out, we found ourselves in Crested Butte at the Ginger Cafe for a delicious and authentic Thai meal (Scott and I's mutual friend Tim "vegetable" Curry, joined us for dinner as well - We call him "vegetable" Curry b/c he ordered such for dinner and his last name is Curry...ha ha). If any of you ever make it out to here, I will take you there if you'd like...or any of the other wonderful places. Speaking of which, Saturday night, we went to the Gunnison Brewery for dinner. In addition to brewing their own micro brews, which are highly palatable, the Brewery serves up fresh organic beef! (& chicken too). Another great place to stop in and eat if you are ever here . I think that makes it my 4th or 5th time now eating at the Brewery.

In other news, I'm still waiting to hear about the personal training job at the country club in Crested Butte. I will keep ya'll informed when I know more.

BIG NEWS, for those that may read this in the next week...I am traveling back home (via car) to Indiana!!!! I need to return my parent's vehicle to them and pick up my own car. Also, I am looking forward to visiting family and friends and hopefully hitting up Gatti's for some needed things:) Thanks in advance Steph! I will be in town from Friday afternoon till Sunday morning. If you read this and would like to see me, get a hold of me! (724 388 5449)

Lastly, this blog is now PUBLIC!! That means no more logging in with user names and passwords. Just go to this website and read away, worry-free. If you have anyone else in mind that may like to read this, please pass on the word and the web URL (http://whatisaldoingfuntoday.blogspot.com/).

Hope things are well and that this weather front moving in doesn't bring snow!!!! Finger's crossed and breathing slow, whew. Talk to some of you soon, and more of you hopefully later. Be well.

Alan

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Friday the 13th! (at least here in CO still)


It looks chilly with long pants and a fleece on but just the cool breeze from the ocean kept me a tad chilled. The sun was warm and lovely :)



So there is no big connotation with it being Friday the 13th, just thought I'd mention it....owowoh spooky! haha. Well, here it FINALLY is; the update I promised yesterday delivered a day late. My apologies. I had all intentions of having it out hot and fresh yesterday but a hectic 9.5 hour day at work washing and cleaning cars wore me out! So tomorrow (Saturday) is a big big day for us at Hertz. We have 31 rentals coming between 9 and 5pm. Doesn't sound or seem like much maybe to you, but for small-town airport us, it's huge! Unprecedented possibly since last spring break time. As mentioned, Terri (also an employee at the college like me-who works at Hertz, the reason I got the job) and I have been slaving getting cars cleaned for the big day tomorrow. We had to have about 10 or 12 vehicles brought over from Grand Junction and Montrose CO so that we will have enough for all our rentals. In addition to getting ready for the big day tomorrow, we have had some busy days renting 12+ cars in a day the last 3 days. So you go from cleaning and washing a car as fast as possible to renting cars and back again...what a madhouse of activity and constant physical and mental stimulation. The rental business (at least here) is like playing a board game, you gotta plan your moves ahead so you don't screw yourself in the end.

So, beyond that exciting chunk of news, I was privileged to travel further west to sunny San Diego from last Saturday till Tuesday evening. My friend Madison here at the college was driving back to her home for spring break and invited me. I obliged and proceeded to secure a plane flight home Tuesday afternoon b/c I had to work Wednesday through Sunday at Hertz. It was awesome to get out of CO for a bit and see some new beautiful country. We spent 15 hours driving all day Saturday to arrive in San Diego Saturday evening. Please check out my pictures to see all of the lovely shots I got!!! Here is the link for those that forget to bookmark it!!!! (http://picasaweb.google.com/aldsmith3) Do check out those photos, in may ways, it is self-explanatory, though if you would like further clarification, etc. please feel free to email me (aldsmith3@gmail.com) or call me (724 388 5449).

Let us see...what else. OH! Also another reason why I'm glad I put off blogging till tonight. This morning I had the great opportunity to go up to Crested Butte (the beautiful and much more plush-monetarily speaking-ski resort community 30 miles north of I) to interview at the Country Club @ Crested Butte. I was interviewing for a position as a personal trainer. A non-traditional student and mother of another student at the college personal trains there and she spoke highly of me to the managers. From which of course, I sent a formal cover letter and my resume and 1 week later I am asked to come interview. Yay! Anyways, I spoke with Madelyn (the mother of my friend Tim and non-traditional student) called me later today after my interview saying they were very impressed with me. I thanked her for getting my foot in the door and speaking highly of me. So, it's not official yet but I imagine I will have a job opportunity coming my way soon hopefully! Besides a beautiful drive up to CB everyday that I'd work, the club is undergoing a 2 plus million dollar renovation and everything in the health club is getting updated! What a great way to start for me and for them! (Pending I get the job of course). Oh and also, the going rate for personal training is $60 bucks an hour! Not too shabby eh? I'll keep yins up on that.

For now the love/social life continues to go well. No new developments. I am not upset by such though b/c I have enough women friends to fulfill my company for women (read: non-sexually). Hope all is well else where! Is it me or does it seem like spring will maybe spring early this year?

Take care ya'll :)


Alan

Thursday, March 12, 2009

...

Dear Readers,

Thank you for your patience as I quite sparse and sporadic in my posting. No worries though, one is coming your way tomorrow! (hopefully), hot and juicy. Bib-up. Catch you then...



Alan

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Well, this picture can sum up the past weekend, minus a few other events which I will reveal. If you aren't entirely sure what you are looking at I'll fill you in...It's the Olympic circles obviously at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. There are many more photos (same naughty, some nice) on my picture website (http://picasaweb.google.com/aldsmith3)

We were at the Olympic Training Center (OTC) for the Rocky Mountain American College of Sports Medicine conference. The ACSM is a governing/educating body for us in the Sports Science field and many times the position stands our government adopts on exercise comes directly from them. The Rocky Mountain is just a more local extension of a national group. Back home in PA it was the Mid-Atlantic ACSM.

In addition to attending lectures and hearing various people talk, myself and 2 other students went mountain bike riding at Palmer Park in CO Springs. It is a very rocky and beautiful area just northeast of the OTC. Plus it was nice to have a chance to do some outdoor activity without snow impeding our fun. Anyways, some of the lectures/speakers...one was from a guy who had run across America (from San Francisco to New York City) in 51 days! When free from injury, he was averaging 60-70 miles a day! He'd sleep about 4 hours a night and do it again. What an experience! The other notable speaker was a Medical Doctor who is one of the doctor's in the medical tent for the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii. He has been doing such for a number of years now. His spiel was about hydration, more so along the lines of not only being hydrated, but having the correct sodium (salt) balance. Often times, endurance athletes are hydrated but they are hyponatrimic (low salt). Words of wisdom to those of you planning any intense outdoor sessions where you'll be sweating in the heat...get your fluids and make sure there is some sort of sodium content in them (i.e. Gatorade, etc), but don't overdue it. Secondly/lastly, he also spoke about prevention of heatstroke. If you remember the Minnesota Vikings football player Cory Stringer, who died a few years ago from heatstroke. Often times, the mistake medical personal/trainers/coaches make is to call the ambulance when in essence you can save someone from dying from heatstroke by simply immersing them in an ice bath. 9 times out of 10, cold fluids or even an IV to boost hydration/speed cooling will not work and a simple ice bath will save them. He referenced 2 amateur runners in the Marine Corps Marathon (Washington, DC) where 1 died and 1 lived. The 1 runner who was put into an ambulance and sent to the hospital ended up dying b/c their core body temperature was too high and the life-saving steps to bring it down weren't taken; where as the other runner who suffered from heatstroke was put into an ice bath at the medical tent and lived to run another day. The simple lessons...Rob, this is for you.

Anyways, I didn't mean to write so much about that last deal, but it obviously meant something to me and in ways you can pass it on for those of you that find yourselves running/exercising in more extreme conditions.

In other news, I am currently applying for a job personal training at the country club up at Crested Butte. They currently do not have any or many male personal trainers and are in need. I wouldn't probably start until May and the club is undergoing an extensive make-over so I have hope of being able to work there. A non-traditional student (40 some year old mother) works there now and she put in a good word for me. I'll keep you updated on that.

Hertz Rent A Car continues to go well. I make almost as much money there in a month as I do with my job here at the college, so it's nice to have a 2nd income. Gotta crawl out of the debt hole somehow! haha.

Hope you all are well, I hear from bits and pieces of you and quite frankly, I'm not sure everyone who is signed up for this blog even reads it anymore, so for those of you that read it, thank you!! Take care, be well, and don't forget to smile.

Alan

Monday, February 23, 2009

It's snowing again!

Hello. As I speak/write, it is putting down the snow outside! It's the big soft fluffy flakes too! Gotta love how everything looks when it's said and done:)

Anyways, speaking of snow, this past weekend I was privileged to go skiing! WooooooO! There was an email going around to faculty and staff here at the college that they were in need of volunteers for the ski race weekend up at Crested Butte (the ski resort North of me 30 miles). So, I responded to the email and discovered that not only would I get free-time between races to ski but also a complimentary lunch and another whole day's worth of free skiing (in the form of another lift ticket). For those that aren't familiar with lift ticket prices here...80 bucks will buy you a day...from 7 or 8 am to 4pm. 60 smackers will get you a half day. Pretty damn expensive! Worth the price? Umm, yea I guess but man sure expensive...glad I've got a 'free' one.

Lets see what else was going on Saturday...well at the race, I was responsible for watching the a certain section of gates that the skiers have to pass through in proper order, otherwise it's a fault. I put up new pictures through my Picasa website. (REMEMBER: follow my link in the FYE section of the blog). Pretty easy work and then got to skiiiiii, woop woop. Man, this snow makes me wanna go again. This is my 2nd year now not using any ski poles. When the snow isn't deep (like at a groomed resort such as CB) using poles isn't entirely necessary. I feel faster without poles and in some instances I can skate ski faster than people with poles! What is skate skiing? Well, it has practical uses in both Nordic as well as downhill skiing. It is a more newer fad amongst younger generations though older ones have adapted it as well. In Nordic ski racing, skate skiing is the fastest method, where as traditional or classic Nordic is more for leisure activity.

Anyways, also on Saturday night I went out on a date with a friend of a friend. I won't reveal too many details besides that it was very nice, we sat and talked for over an hour after finishing dinner before she went home and I to work at Hertz. If it is in the cards, I will give you more details as they become available. If you don't like waiting...too bad! haha.

Not too much else is new. Had a busy hectic day of work yesterday (Sunday) at Hertz. I was the one-man show for the most part. My boss Rayna came in for oh say an hour and then left. I'm finally starting to figure it all out. You'd think that renting cars is easy...well with the 10 or so different classes of cars you have to try and best match the class you have with what people are requesting for the rental. Sometimes that requires having a car returned and then having to rent it out in another hour. If that is the case, then I am out in the garage cleaning the car and washing it in under 15 minutes. Sounds fast, that's why rental cars don't always smell or look so great. Though, it seems the nice luxury cars get better treatment than the lower classes (i.e. Cadillac Escalade vs. a Ford Explorer, etc). Then of course there is problem-solving involved when a customer has a discrepancy with their rental agreement, etc. I'm still learning all the little quirks of our computer system which still runs in a format a few steps/years ahead of MS-DOS. Pretty rediculous! It's the Hertz company not so much us here in Gunnison.

Anyways, I enjoy working the easy hour in the evening because I get to walk there from my apartment and it's about a 17 minute walk, which is enough there and back for me to get some thinking time as well as a little bit of cardiorespiratory work.

I was excited for spring to spring, but with the onset of this fresh "pow-pow" (Scott and I making light of the terrible grammar some stoner students use to refer to snow) I doubt it will be soon. Hopefully/maybe by the end of March?? We'll see!! I'll try to get some pictures of the snow today....too beautiful to not! Keep up the good work ya'll....whatever that may be.

Later gators,

Alan

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A new update will be hot off the press tomorrow sometime. Have been busy this weekend. I will explain. Keep on smilin'

Alan

Monday, February 16, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Impressions of Gunny...

Last evening as I was walking before dark around town. I decided that perhaps I should visualize the town of Gunnison a little bit for you who have not been here.

Where to start? Well, the streets are all up/down and left/right. Only one street meanders through town and that is Route 50-which goes East/West otherwise, not including campus, they all are straight. One cool thing about standing on any of the streets except maybe facing East, is that you can look up and see mountains or scenery. Gotta love the constant form of visual entertainment!

Getting out and walking about town it definitely seems a lot bigger than it is. I easily spent 40 minutes in the same Northwest part of town without doubling back on anything. There are some quite boring houses, and then there are some very cute and well maintained houses/homes. Some people live in theirs for the sake of living, and some express themselves with some neat paint schemes. Solar panels aren't huge out here but there are definitely more of them here than anywhere back East that I've seen!

Roofing...Tin roofs are in! It is quite easy to spot a tiled or shingled roof here-the snow just sits on the roof instead of sliding off like with tin. Some of the h0uses are quite close together with little room for outside yard activities but that tends to be the homes that are just for living in...not expressing. As you get a little further away from town central, you see the yards expanding quite wide. Another thing, there is no elevation gain or slight up's or down's here in town. The roads are flat flat flat. Only exception being over by campus or some of the smaller foothills where the road will rise. As I may have mentioned before, Gunny sits in a valley and therefore a flat section of no-rise at that.

In other news, I am starting Tuesday with a professor's wife in fitness programing (aka training). She has had some previous pulmonary issues so it should be interesting to see how she deals. She seems quite eager to start. I will work with her 2 days a week for a nominal fee. Granted, I could get twice as much someplace else for my qualifications, but hey it's Gunny!

Furthermore, I may be getting a summer job at the Crested Butte Country Club personal training. CB is the rich resort area just north of town by 30 minutes. Check out the website: www.skicb.com. One of Scott's students (non-traditional mother who's son Tim is also in the program-great kid by the way) has asked Scott for a recommendation so I may have more work besides Hertz and the HAPLab this summer. Busy busy. Whew.

Anyways, to get the full Monty, you'll just have to come check out the lovely things Gunny has to offer. Lots of little independent shops; though no independent Pharmacy...hmmmm. Haha, talk to you all later.