Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Removing Mobile Email Signatures

iPhones and other mobile devices often by default put a "Sent from my Super Magic Device" in the signature. This is entirely optional, and you can change or remove it if you'd rather not be an advertising billboard.


  • Settings
  • Mail
  • Signature


Droid 4
  • Open the Email app
  • Menu Settings button
  • Settings
  • Select Account you want to change
  • Signature

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Downsides of Winter Camping

I love being out in the snow.  It's usually gorgeous and if you choose carefully falling down is not that painful.

If you have a shovel you can play house all you like.  You can build walls, a kitchen complete with a basic table or working surface, or a latrine.  You can even build a snow cave if you're feeling ambitious.

But there are some obvious downsides to snow

 - You need to have snow skills.  You should know how to use an ice axe and crampons.  In particular you need to be able to use an ice axe to help you stop ("self-arrest").  This can be done with a trekking pole but trekking poles were not designed for this and those who know how to do this already know about how to use an ice axe.
 - When the weather warms up it's hard to walk on
 - When it's not hard to walk on you might be on ice and that's slick and dangerous
 - The UV rays can cook your skin - You need to be wearing something or have way heavy duty sunscreen.
 - The UV rays can blind you if you lose your sunglasses and you're better off with special glacier glasses.
 - The winds can be decidedly less than fun
 - The weather can suddenly change, but that's true anytime
 - Winter equipment is heavier, more expensive, and there is more of it.
 And the most obvious and often most defeating
 - It gets cold at night

And if you're trying to climb a mountain
 - You often need to start hiking when it's the most cold because this is when the snow is solid and most climbable.  (Called an "alpine start.")

If you're in a 4 season tent and have a nice sleeping pad and bag it can actually be quite nice, but 4 season tents are heavier, more expensive ($450-$600), and get very hot during the day.

If you're climbing by yourself (which you really shouldn't do but you can in popular areas), then you're the only one toting that silly tent.  You could get a 1 person tent but that means you really like your solitude and two person tents are usually much more fun unless you have money to burn and buy both.

Fortunately these days the tents have gotten lighter.  This 2 person 4 season tent is only 5 pounds:

You can climb in the spring time with a 3 season tent if you have a good sleeping bag, but it means you are huddling quite a lot.  This last time I also optimistically went with an air mattress which was fabulous on dirt and an excellent conductor of cold especially when things got down to 20 degrees.  I left a day early.

So now I'm left with - how bad do I want to do this?  There are a whole world of ways to waste your time.

I am more draw these days to cross country skiing with fat (Randonee) skis and maybe do a hut tour as there are some nice Sierra huts.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Rehoming Sea Shells

Does everyone's parents keep weird stuff from their children's childhood?  For decades?

I was helping move my Mom into assisted living which mean going through a lot of stuff and sure enough there is the requisite one or two creepy boxes of stuff from when I was 10 or younger.  In said box was a plastic bag of sea shells with a note on it saying "Ellen's sea shells from St. Simon's Island (in Georgia).  While there was no date on it I haven't been to said Island to a long since sold (and now non-existent cottage) for well over 30 years.

So what do I do with a pile of sea shells?  There was a larger one that I abandoned on a rail at tourist laden Pier 39 in San Francisco (it was gone in minutes.)  But I also had a bunch of little tiny shells.

I could throw them away, but sea shells much like rocks are infinitely reusable.  There is always some wee sea creature looking for a home and anything that was once on them is long since dead so there's little risk of creating some pandemic ocean disease by carrying an East coast shell across the country and dropping it into the Pacific.

So I got my opportunity when I was at Pescadero Beach.  I hope some little critter had a nice home now.