August 20, 2015

The Good Life

The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.

Then it hit me: Life is too precious and too fleeting to waste my time on bullshit like tenure. I didn’t become a professor to get tenure. I became a professor to make the world better through science. From this day forward, I will spend my time on problems and solutions that will matter. I will make a difference.

I stopped working on problems for the sole purpose of notching up a publication. I shifted gears to cybersecurity. I found a project on cancer in the med school. I joined a project in chemical engineering using super-computing to fight global warming.

Suddenly, my papers started getting accepted.

Matt Might via Jason Kottke

May 21, 2015

Does It Pay to Be a Jerk?

To summarize: being a jerk is likely to fail you, at least in the long run, if it brings no spillover benefits to the group; if your professional transactions involve people you’ll have to deal with over and over again; if you stumble even once; and finally, if you lack the powerful charismatic aura of a Steve Jobs. (It’s also marginally more likely to fail you, several studies suggest, if you’re a woman.) Which is to say: being a jerk will fail most people most of the time.

Yet in at least three situations, a touch of jerkiness can be helpful. The first is if your job, or some element of it, involves a series of onetime encounters in which reputational blowback has minimal effect. The second is in that evanescent moment after a group has formed but its hierarchy has not. (Think the first day of summer camp.) The third—not fully explored here, but worth mentioning—is when the group’s survival is in question, speed is essential, and a paralyzing existential doubt is in the air.

From The Atlantic’s Why It Pays to Be a Jerk

May 6, 2015

The Maiden Voyage : Bell Vintage Camper Adventure Rig

Bell Vintage Camper Adventure Rig

In the 60’s and 70’s, there was a boom in camper manufacturing and sales throughout the country. Many of these manufacturers didn’t survive the 80’s oil bust, yet remnants of the era can be found along country roads, abandoned in fields and junkyards. However, back in the heyday of the family road trip, the big name in these “canned-ham” style camper trailers was Shasta, leading the pack with their coveted Compact model. From Shasta’s Compact, sprang several copy-cat style knock-off trailers from manufacturers looking to cash in on the market, including a model from Bell Manufacturing, who, 30 years later, has long since closed up shop.

We happened across such a camper that we determined to be the perfect prospect for our needs, and over the past few months, the ’73 Bell (model unknown) has been in the hands of Camper Reparadise who’s been bringing her back to life as a modern-day, bullet-proof, adventure rig. After much anticipation, we’re stoked to finally be able to release her back into the wild this past weekend as we embarked on the official maiden voyage (minus the champaign bottle send-off, though that would have been awesome) with a quick trip to Vernal, Utah. Needless to say, we are stoked, as the Bell proved to be everything we could have hoped for in a vintage camper adventure rig.

Bell Vintage Camper Adventure Rig Bell Vintage Camper Adventure Rig Bell Vintage Camper Adventure Rig

Read More

February 4, 2015

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy on His Pricing Structure

Bonnie Prince Billy

I’ve had Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s, Beware in my collection for a while now, however until last night I had yet to give it a proper listen. While listening, I started reading various interviews with Oldham and the following excerpt from an article published in the New Yorker stood out.

Parsons wanted to know how much Oldham charged for a concert. Oldham said, “Fuck, anywhere from zero to twenty-five thousand dollars. It depends who asks.”

From The New Yorker’s, The Pretender

January 25, 2015

1973 Bell Vintage Camper Adventure Rig Restoration

Bell Mfg - Canned Ham Adventure Camper

After years of sleeping on the ground, we decided that a camper-trailer would be worthwhile investment for extending our days on the road. We’ve been considering a number of options from pop-up and slide-in campers, to dedicated rigs such as Sportsmobiles and VW camper vans, but with our current vehicle setup a bumper-pull style camper best fit our needs.

Additionally, we knew we wanted the camper to be adventure-ready with the following features:

  • Comfortably sleep 2 adults and 2 dogs
  • Beefy enough to tackle light off-roading and chundery fire roads
  • Racks to haul bikes
  • Lightweight/compact
  • Shower/hose
  • No toilet

With that in mind a variety of options and directions remained. At first we considered something along the lines of a T@B or Cricket camper, as well as the more conventional Jayco/Fleetwood breed of campers you find at your KOA & state park campgrounds. The T@B’s seemed like the best match, however, one equipped with the necessary features well-exceeded the budget. Eventually we started looking for older “vintage” style options such as Shasta’s (canned hams), Scamp & Casita (fibergless egg shaped trailers), and Airstreams (the holy grail of pull-behinds and way outside the budget). While an older camper offered an attractive price-point, it also meant putting some TLC into the restoration and bringing it inline with our vision.

I had come across Salt Lake based camper restoration company, Camper Reparadise, and contacted them with our needs and budget. Camper Reparadise specializes in bringing vintage campers back to life as modern adventure rigs, so from there, it seemed like an obvious match. After an initial consultation, they gave me the heads up on what to look for in a vintage camper, and I began the search for our future home-on-the-road. Fortunately I didn’t have to look too far, and was able to locate one a buddy was looking to unload nearby.

The camper is a 1973 era Bell Manufacturing canned ham very similar to the once popular Shasta Compact. Google didn’t yield many results, so I don’t think there were many of these guys made, and once it’s finished it will truly be one of a kind. We’ve enlisted Camper Reparadise for a full inside-out, top-to-bottom rebuild, and we can’t wait to see the finished product. Below are a few of the before photos.

Read More

January 24, 2015

Uinta XC Schussin’ Adventure

Yellow Pine XC Ski Trailhead Uintas

I’ll save you the bitching about yet another sub-average Wasatch snow pack this year. Instead, I’ll focus on the positive – when winter gives you lack of snow, you make the best of it and search out alternative means of schussin’. There’s only so much dodging tourists at the resort one can take, so instead we took to skinny skis and free-heels in search of a path less-traveled.

Timpanogos Back Drop - Uinta XC Ski XC Ski Break

If you consider yourself a competent alpine skier who’s never experienced the utter low-speed terror that is classic XC skiing, go rent yourself a set and head to the Uintas. Word to the wise – don’t expect to slow yourself down, or even think about turning. As someone who wouldn’t think twice about dropping in on the steepest of slopes on downhill skis, I was at the mercy of the mountain, especially the trees, descending 10° slopes sans-edges. It’s a humbling experience for someone who’s been able to ski almost as long as they’ve been walking, and it will certainly give you a sense of empathy towards those learning at the resort. However, lucky for us there was no one around to laugh at our misfortunes but ourselves.

The Notch - Uintas The Notch XC Ski The Notch Bar & Grill - Uintas

And of course no excursion to the Uintas is complete without the obligatory post-adventure burger and beer at the Notch. If you’re in the Park City area, stop by and see our friends at Storm Cycles for your nordic ski rental needs.