Monday, January 23, 2012

Un Altri Sei Mese

A couple weeks ago, I pushed some paperwork through to extend my time here in Italy. Again. My date to leave had been February 2013, putting me here for five years, which is the limit for single people. But for some reason, I decided to give it a shot anyway. I only asked for six months, instead of a full year, hoping I would slip through the cracks. After my Commander approved it last week, I turned it in to personnel, and today, I got an e-mail notification that it was approved. Now, my departure date will be sometime in August 2013. I'm pretty stoked to stay here even longer, but not sure if I'll try my luck on extending again. I guess we'll see.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Written while thanking God for 800mg Motrin

Last night started out innocently enough. I went to Sacile for a glass of wine in the piazza at Cafe Commercio. Mandy and David joined me, and then we all had dinner at Cellini's. The wine began flowing faster and faster. Mandy left after dinner, but Kristen and Renee showed up with a whole entourage as David and I walked to Bar Bicicletta. Things got a little fuzzy after that, but I do remember these things:
1) Offering Kristen a dollar to hit on the cowboy in Bar Bicicletta.
2) Giving Renee, our DD, wrong directions as we drove to Movida, causing us to do a loop around central Sacile.
3) Dancing. A lot.
4) Walking squarely into a big window. Hard.
5) Meeting some really cool people.
This is about the only evidence I have from last night, but it's definitely worthy:
Me, David, and Renee by currtdawg
Me, David, and Renee, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

Despite all that, I woke up feeling really good this morning. Still, it will be a while before I have another Saturday night like this one.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Becoming Less Round

My last PT test was in April, and since I scored well, I don't have to test again until April of this year. The only bad thing about that arrangement is how much I've let myself get out of shape. My running regiment has become sporadic, at best, and even though I'm my diet isn't bad, I tend to overindulge from time to time. I'm 15 pounds heavier than in April and a full 25 pound heavier than when I left the desert in June 2010. My goal is to score well enough on this year's PT test so I won't have to test for another year, as opposed to six months. We've been working on getting some gym equipment in our work area, which will hopefully prod me to be a little more active, because the chances of me giving up cheesecake are slim to none.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Wide Open Spaces

Nassfeld by currtdawg
Nassfeld, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

Rodriguez, Boswell, Berg, Steven, and I spent the long weekend in Nassfeld, Austria. We left Friday after work and made the two-hour drive to our hotel, which was right on the slopes. When we went down to breakfast on Saturday morning, there was a little newsletter on our table giving information on the weather, meal times, and other goings-on in the hotel for the day. It was very poorly translated from German and included the line, "Joke: If two scrambled eggs meet, one says: 'Anyhow I am so messy...!'"

Nassfeld by currtdawg
Nassfeld, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

On the slopes, there were a lot of people around, and it seemed busy; but there was so much area to ride, we never felt crowded. The runs were wide, and I don't think we took the same one twice all weekend.

Nassfeld by currtdawg
Nassfeld, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

There wasn't much going on in the town where our hotel was, but since all our meals were included and there was a bar in the hotel, we didn't really need to venture out at night. On Sunday morning, we were a little disappointed our daily newsletter didn't have another joke. But the weather report was downright poetic:
"On Sunday the last snowy showers fade away, it breaks up and the sun comes in completely Carinthia. The wind decreases, indeed, it remains unmoved." Priceless.

Nassfeld by currtdawg
Nassfeld, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

On Sunday, the slopes were nearly empty. We never waited at the lifts, took our turns wider, and acted as if we owned the damned place. And the weather was perfect. One of the great things about being at such high altitudes is how unbelievably blue the sky is.

We kinda took it easy on Saturday, getting into the swing of things and not wanting to take too many chances on the first day of a two-day trip. On Sunday, we decided to hit the park a couple times and looked for jumps on the edges of the groomed runs. These aren't our best jumps, particularly Berg's landing, but they're the ones I got on video:

We spent our evenings in the hotel bar, drinking more and more each night. Our tab for Sunday night was nearly 300 Euros, but it was totally worth it.

The main reason we wanted to take this trip is because Berg will be leaving Italy this week, and we wanted to send him off in style. Before we checked out this morning, we scanned our lift passes and found we rode over 61 kilometres with a total vertical distance of 8968 meters. I'd say that is about as stylin' as you can get.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Apparently, Lesson NOT Learned

We're heading to Austria after work this afternoon to snowboard all weekend, so last night, I was packing some things in my truck. Unfortunately, I forgot to lock it after I was done, and this morning, when I got in to go to work, I realised someone had stolen my gas coupons. Again. And again, they didn't even touch my iPod, GPS, or anything else in my truck.
Last time this happened, I felt hurt and violated. This time, I'm just angry. Probably because I had a rather large stack of gas coupons, half of which I just bought yesterday. I'm a little tempted to set some kind of trap just so I can catch the little bastard(s) that did this. I'm not a violent man, but somebody needs a face punch.

Sunday, January 08, 2012


Me by currtdawg
Me, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

Last spring, I bought a new board when I was up in Germany. Soon after came new boots, bindings, and even a new jacket. Unfortunately, everything was shut down by the time I got back to Italy, so I haven't been able to try out any of my new gear. Until yesterday.
Steven, Berg, and I headed up to Piancavallo for the day. It's been a very dry winter so far, and we were a little nervous the conditions wouldn't be very good. They weren't exactly ideal (a few closed runs and random icy patches), but overall, we couldn't complain. I was just excited to get on the slopes again and try out my new board, which handled wonderfully. It's a little longer than my old board, giving me a little more speed, and the curve and bounce are just about perfect. All in all, I was thrilled, and I'm already looking forward to next weekend.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

City of Lights

Eiffel Tower by currtdawg
Eiffel Tower, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

I'd been debating for the past couple months whether to do anything special for New Year's. I considered just laying around some more, but figured I'd regret it if I did. I had some friends from Germany going to Paris, and at last minute, decided to join them. I'm so glad I did.

Arc de Triomphe by currtdawg
Arc de Triomphe, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

This was my first time in Paris, and I'd mentally prepared myself for a dirty city that was difficult to navigate and full of rude natives. But you know what? It was the total opposite.

Eiffel Tower by currtdawg
Eiffel Tower, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

We had a crew of about twenty people, which hindered our ability to see everything everyone wanted to see. It didn't really bother me, though. I was just thrilled to be walking around such an amazing place. Plus, going back is so easy. I can't believe I'd never been before.
Particularly magnificent was the Eiffel Tower. It's something I've seen so often in pictures, but laying eyes on it for the first time was absolutely breathtaking. We spent New Year's Eve there, but I could have stayed forever, just staring at it. No wonder it's become such a symbol of France.

Paris by currtdawg
Paris, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

I didn't make it to the Louvre, Notre Dame, the catacombs, or countless other staples of the Parisian tourist, but again, I'm not worried. I will make it back there soon.
Also, due to popular demand, I made another video. You can check it out here. Hope you enjoy it. Merci!