Archive for July, 2011

Hiking Grizzly Mountain – Ashland, OR

Yesterday I hiked Soda Mountain because my hiking book said the views were extraordinary, plus lots of wildflowers.

Today I chose to hike Grizzly Mountain simply because of its name. Given a choice of Lower Table Rock, Mt Ashland Meadows or Grizzly Mountain, who’d NOT chose Grizzly!

It was a 6 mile hike. 1.2 steep miles up and then a loop around the top of the mountain, and 1.2 miles down.

This is the view at the summit. But one must keep going to the loop.

LOTS of colorful wildflowers. Yesterday I had big beautiful butterflies flying everywhere, today there was a constant buzz from black flies.

I came upon an older couple coming from the opposite direction. They told me that I “am in for a treat. Right around the corner there.” This is what I saw:

Yes, the remnants of the 2002 wildfire [which started from a sagging electrical line].

When I did get to the view, it was similar to that of Soda Mountain, but that was ok…the Rogue River Valley is pretty with Mt Shasta, Emigrant Lake and all.

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Hiking Soda Mountain – Ashland, OR

I picked this hike because I read about the extraordinary views and all the wildflowers. The review was spot on re the wildflowers. Lots of them, all colors and very pretty. Also a lot of HUGE butterflies. There was a smell of cedar in the air.

The trail is part of the PCT [Pacific Crest Trail], which I had never hiked any of before.

It was a rather easy 1 mile hike and then .2 miles straight up. Excellent view of Ashland. Mt Shasta. Emigrant Lake.

The most dangerous part of the trip? Driving there.

We don’t have cable, so have never seen that tv show Ice Road Truckers. However, just before we left for Ashland Ralph put it on Roku. We didn’t see any of the regular season [when they are in the Arctic Circle], but the show was about some truckers in India on this really steep and twisty road where they are driving next to the drop off/edge of a steep cliff. It’s one of the most dangerous roads in the world – someone gets killed every 4.5 minutes!!

I’m obviously exaggerating here, but the road to Soda Mountain reminded me of that Indian road. Steep incline, NO shoulder dropping down several feet, NOT hundreds, rock slides, sunken grade, windy/twisty.

I told Ralph my Return Time (when to call the Park Service cuz I’m NOT back and thus I’m in need of rescuing), but I never thought that it would include the drive! Ha.

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Bear Creek Bike Trail – Ashland, OR

I just happened to be cycling around and found a bike path next to the railroad tracks.  In talking to someone walking on the path, I was told that it’s about 30 miles long and “goes all the way to Central Point!”.  Later, I spoke with 2 other people, and they too said that it “goes all the way to Central Point!”. 

Apparently Central Point is on the other side of Medford, and that makes people happy!  I saw signs referring to it as the Bear Creek Trail and another said it’s the Creek to Crest Bike Trail.

The part I was on stops for a bit and then picks up down on Oak Street.  NO problem, I’ll just cycle down Oak and follow the signs. However, there are NO signs. 

After talking to some locals, and getting lost a couple of times, I found it.  Sure would be nice to have some signs.  One time when I was talking to a city employee [that I just happened to cycle upon], he said, “Ashland doesn’t like to put signs up”.  I guess the bike trial is supposed to be a secret.

To find the trail, you need to cycle past the Llama farm.

Then past a cool abandoned gas station.

Then past the Wastewater Treatment Facility.

The trail follows the path of Bear Creek.


This sign sums up the condition of the path. The only word missing on the sign is “Very”.

Someone did go thru and mark the rough spots with green spray paint. Unsure if it’s to let cyclists know where it’s really rough, or what they plan on fixing at some time in the future. If it’s the fixing reason, they just need to re-do the entire d*mn thing.

Most of the trail is next to I-5. The path is between I-5 and a wall.

There is also a portion where it is right next to highway 99.

And last but not least, I have to mention the REALLY run down, trashy trailer park that you cycle by.

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When it Comes to Technology, You Definitely “Act Your Age”

I was reading 47 Mind-Blowing Psychology-Proven Facts You Should Know About Yourself from Business Insider, and I thought #12 was interesting.

Author Susan Weinschenk wrote the below:
#12 — When it comes to technology, you definitely “act your age”

Let’s start with full disclosure: I’m a baby boomer. Ok, I’ve gotten that out of the way.  I do have two millenial children (now young adults), and most of the people I work with are Gen Xers.

How did people get together before cell phones? — My son (age 20) recently asked me how people ever got together when I was growing up. “There weren’t cell phones, so how did you ever arrange to get together to hang out?”, he asked. I had to stop and think about that for a while. “Well”, I answered, “We had regular phones. We were at home a lot, and we’d call each other on the phone and set up a day and time and place to meet. It was all done way ahead of time. And then we had maybe one or two places we would hang out. So if you called someone and they weren’t there (remember, no answering machines or voice mail either), then you’d go drive around (there was a lot of driving around) to the one or two (or maybe three) places that everyone tended to hang out, and eventually you’d find who you were looking for.” It kind of worked, although it meant that you spent most of your time looking for each other!

Generational definitions — I’ve done some of my own exploratory research on generational differences in the last few years. Here are the age group definitions I’m using for this blog post: millenials (born between 1982 and 2002), Gen X’ers (1961-1981) and Boomers (1943-1961). I focused in my research on differences in technology use and expectations. Here are some of my findings:

  1. Dualism vs. Ubiquitous – Boomers think that technology is a separate thing. They “go on” the internet. They “make a call on the cell phone”. They look something up “on the computer”. They have a distinction between doing a task and the “tool” that they do the task with. Millennials don’t have that dualism or separation. They look something up (of course they are doing it on the computer… why would you even think to say it that way?). They make a call or text someone… the technology is implied and assumed.
  2. Is the technology trapping us? — Gen Xers live their life with technology. They work with it, they use it to be more productive. They like to customize and personalize. The Gen Xers are actually the group that is most enamored by technology, but at the same time they feel trapped by it. Boomers, on the other hand, remember life without it, so Boomers may use it and may be addicted to it like everyone else (see my blog post on Dopamine Makes You Addicted To Seeking Information), but they can more easily let it go and live without it. Interestingly, millennials have integrated all the various technologies into their lives, but they are the ones that will say, “We need to talk more instead of all this texting.” or “People are forgetting how to even just talk to each other”, or “I don’t use email. It’s a hassle and it’s too impersonal. If I need to communicate I call them or text or facebook”.
  3. No one likes small fonts – All the generations I interviewed for my research commented on how much they dislike small fonts online. We think we only need larger fonts if we have a lot of Boomers in our target audience, but all of the generations commented that text was often too small.
  4. Like things to scroll? – Boomers don’t like things that move and scroll on the page, such as banners that change. They REALLY don’t like that — it is a reason why they would abandon a site. Gen Xers are fine with these moving parts and Millennials will get bored without them.
  5. Interesting and fun — Millennials expect websites to be at least interesting, if not fun. Gen Xers and Boomers are willing to give up fun if the site can be customized for them (Gen Xers), or it’s a useful tool (Boomers).
  6. Twitter and Facebook – Gen Xers love twitter. Millennials prefer Facebook. Boomers are trying both, but are still a little bewildered.
  7. Gen Xers are outnumbered — You’ve heard how large the Boomer generation is in numbers, right? (78,000,000 in the US). The Millennials are an even larger group (80,000,000 in the US). The Gen Xers are a much smaller group (55,000,000).
  8. Gen Xers have to guard against design bias – If you are a Gen Xer you have to be really careful. Gen Xers are doing most of the website design. But most of the people they are designing for are not them! They have to make sure they are not just designing for themselves, and they have to test their design with different generations.
  9. Millennials are most affected by “people like me” – If you have pictures of people at your website the millennials are the most sensitive to what the people look like, especially to how old they are. I’ve seen millennials glance at the page they landed on at a website and click out of it within 1 or 2 seconds because, “this site isn’t for me. That woman was old” (by the way, the woman looked about 35 to me!).
  10. They are not going to “grow out of it” – Sometimes when I give talks on this topic people will ask me, “Isn’t this just an artifact because these people are young? Soon they will grow up and get married and have children and then they will be just like all the other Gen Xers, right?”. I don’t believe this. The differences are deep and have been ingrained since childhood. The Millennials are not going to grow into Gen Xers, just like the Gen Xers are not going to grow into Boomers.

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FREE Green Show [Rathskellar] – Ashland, OR

We saw the 4 member hearing impaired dance group, Rathskellar, perform.  The show is billed as: Music, dance, poetry, drums and skits with the art of Sign Language.

I didn’t see any drums nor hear any poetry. It was basically 2 men and 2 women [all hearing impaired] perform simple dance moves to 80’s songs. Ralph knew all the songs from his high school days. I wasn’t all that familiar with them.

It was impressive that they were able to count the beat and dance based solely on the vibrations from the loud music.

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FREE Green Show [Koto Player] – Ashland, OR

Tonight we saw Mitsuki Dazai play the koto. The koto is a traditional Japanese wooden instrument with thick, really tight strings. Underneath the strings are bridges, which look like little ivory Eiffel Towers.

While tuning before each song, she would change the placement of the bridges [and pitch]. Some times she changed them during the song.

She also wore picks on her fingers, and thus “finger picks” the strings. There was NO singing. In general, the songs were NOT melodic, but did “sound Japanese”.

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FREE Green Show [Living History Part II] – Ashland, OR

Since we enjoyed the first show so much, we returned to see the second part of the living histories series, as part of the Green Show which takes place every night from 7.15 – 8 pm. Since it was beginning to rain a bit, the performance was inside.

Tonight’s performance was a historical account of life as a middle, lower class person [someone who has a trade – baker, shoemaker…] during the time of Elizabeth I.

This wasn’t as interesting as the first part. Unsure how much had to do with life as a noble person is more interesting than a commoner, vs hearing some of the same material again.

Tames Alan was entertaining, nonetheless.

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Same Sex Couples Can Marry in NY

Sunday was the first day that same sex couples could legally marry in New York. It reminded me of when I lived in NYC in 2007, I went to the Gay Pride Parade.

I found it interesting that in this parade, companies were proud of their gay employees. There would be a company float, with their gay employees on it, or a convertible with a high level [VP] employee riding on it.

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FREE Green Show [Living History Part I] – Ashland, OR

Since we didn’t value the ticket prices the same as the Shakespeare Festival Ticket Price Committee, we partook in the Green Show. Every night from 7.15 – 8 pm on the outdoor courtyard stage there was a FREE performance.

On the first night after we sat down, I read that the “performance” was a historical account of life as a noble person/courtier during the time of Elizabeth I.

Oh-oh. We are in the front row and already I’m thinking of an escape route game plan.

Who Knew there would be NO need? It was excellent. I would have paid admission for this and wanted it to last longer.

The actress/performer, Tames Alan, was excellent. She came onstage in her Elizabethan sleeping attire and slowly got dressed. The hoop skirt plus 13 layers of skirts. The corset (some so tight women miscarriaged). The fleas, ticks, lice on EVERYONE [thus the need for a lapdog…hopefully the buggers jump from you to the dog]. The twice in a lifetime baths (once when born to get the mothers blood off and “a spritz” on the eve of your wedding). ALWAYS having the white pancake make up on, even when going to bed. They never washed it off, just kept adding to it…

The same actress will be back to tell us of the life of a middle, lower class person [has a trade] during this time period. I am now looking forward to that!

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Balloon Fest Balloon Over Our House

We woke up and looked out our French doors to see a balloon from the Balloon Fest flying above our house!

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