The High Peaks Resort

I’ve been meaning to climb some of the Adirondack High Peaks for a few years.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any grand illusions of becoming a 46er (Although, as a side note, that would be awesome).  I simply enjoy climbing the occasional mountainClimbing some of the highest peaks in New York State seems like a good goal.

highpeakshotelroomWith my parents recent purchase of a camp in South Colton, NY I figured I’d use that as a base camp.  I still probably will, although in a few weeks I’ll get to use the High Peaks Resort.  A short time ago they started running the Elevate Your Rate promotion which is basically a deal for 75% (+) off.  They’re featuring one of the High Peaks for 46 minutes for 46 days.  During that time the promotional rate will be the same as the elevation of that featured peak.  For example, our peak was Mount Emmons which has an elevation of  4,020′ which turned out to be a daily price of $40.20 which is pretty darn good.

My experience thus far has been via Twitter and I’m thoroughly Impressed.  There has been a great amount of communication from them and I’ve felt they’re really going the extra mile.  We didn’t get the dates we really wanted (due to availability) and I let them know.  They promptly look into it and got back to me within an hour with an explanation why those dates were blocked out.  They tried to see if there was any room available but unfortunately there was not.  That’s OK, the dates we got work fine anyway, and now we get to go with my friend Anthony and his wife Meg!  I really didn’t expect that kind of service at $40.20/night, and that’s just through twitter.  I’m excited to see what kind of service they offer in person.

We’re defintely looking forward to the trip.

Otterpated

IMG_1864A few weeks ago while I was up at camp I saw some Otters.  As far as I can remember I’ve only ever seen an Otter one other time in the wild.  That time they were playing and sliding down the hill into Moldy Pond.  This time, they were doing something a little more… special.

They were so twitterpated they didn’t even notice me chasing them down through the woods and then standing about 20 feet from them.  They played and fished and ran and I’m fairly confident they were mating.  It was nothing short of awesome.  It all happened so fast I barely got any pictures fired off, but a few came out.

I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like it before or since.

IMG_1859

Two Discoveries

turning-point-boardwalkI made two discoveries today.  Well really, my friend Mike made one discovery yesterday (which I realized today) and I made another one today.  I’m going to use my discovery today to illustrate Mike’s from Yesterday.  If you’re less inclined to a little geekery skip to the map below.

GPS Tracking isn’t all that new, there are many devices to do this, and every mobile GPS unit that I know has the ability.  The iPhone doesn’t, or at least not natively.  Mike and I were exploring an area of Rochester today which I’d never heard of or seen before today.  Because of this I thought it would be neat to track where we were and how far we went etc.  Also because I tend to take a lot of photos I figured I could use the GPS tracking information to geo-tag my pictures.

My criteria for GPS tracking was that it could use my iPhone, that it was free, and that it could track my coordinates over time.  This isn’t a lot, I know, I was trying to be flexible.  I did a little searching in the iTunes app store and came up with InstaMapper.

InstaMapper fit the bill perfectly.  Not only is instamapper free, but it pushes the data direct to a website (which requiers an account that is also free) allowing you to export it in any format you wish.  It also interfaces directly with Google Maps letting you see all your waypoint data on a very nice Google Maps interface.

Overall I’m impressed.  My only complaint is that the the waypoint data is not cached locally to send later if you don’t have a connection.  While this isn’t a problem around Rochester, this will be a problem if I were to try to use this application in a more rural area such as the Adirondacks.  Of course, there is another downfall to the iPhone app version, and that is the app has to be running in the foreground for your waypoints to get tracked.  This is a limitation of the iPhone however; and in my opinion can’t detract from the value of the application itself.  The app is available for iPhone, Blackberry, Android & Motorola iDEN(whatever that is) at this point.

The following is the GPS waypoint map created and embedded using InstaMapper’s tools of our trek today.

GPS tracking powered by InstaMapper.com

http://www.instamapper.com/trk?key=17792608895854370827&width=500&height=350&type=roadmap

This is all in a park called Turning Point Park.  It’s quite nice and apparently they’ve spent a large chunk of change in the past few years putting in the 4,000ft boardwalk.  I’m awefully happy with whoever spent all the effort to push for the new boardwalk, it made the entire experience vary enjoyable and the park would be all but useless without it.

I will be visiting again.

Reverend Randy Aldrich

I never dreamed of being a Minister or a Reverand.

Still, I happened across The Universal Life Church the other day and found out you can be ordained from them for free.  So I did it.  Why not?
Reverand Randy Aldrich
I recognize that this probably means absolutely nothing but it’s still fun.

I did a little digging and found that according to Section 11 of the New York State Domestic Relations Law the following list of people are authorized to officiate a wedding ceremony in New York State:

Various government officials;

a member of the clergy or minister who has been officially ordained and granted authority to perform marriage ceremonies from a governing church body in accordance with the rules and regulations of the church body;

a member of the clergy or minister who is not authorized by a governing Church body but who has been chosen by a spiritual group to preside over their spiritual affairs;

other officiants as specified by Section 11 of the Domestic Relations Law.

The person performing the ceremony must be registered with the City of New York in order to perform a ceremony within the New York City limits. The officiant does not have to be a resident of New York State.

Ship captains are not authorized to perform marriage ceremonies in New York State.

Looking a bit further, Also in Section 11 I found:

The term “clergyman” or “minister” when used in this article, shall
include those defined in section two of the religious corporations law.
The word “magistrate, ” when so used, includes any person referred to in
the second or third subdivision.

This doesn’t quite cut it yet so I looked a little further into Section 2 of the Religious Corporations Law and found:

The term “clergyman” and the term “minister” include a duly authorized
pastor, rector, priest, rabbi, and a person having authority from, or in
accordance with, the rules and regulations of the governing
ecclesiastical body of the denomination or order, if any, to which the
church belongs
, or otherwise from the church or synagogue to preside
over and direct the spiritual affairs of the church or synagogue.

Honestly I think that pretty much sums it up and means that as long as the Universal Life Church Monastery believes you to be ordained as a clergyman of their church (which they do as soon as you register), you can perform a wedding in New York State.  Note that the articles of law I found do not list any documentation you must provide, that is likely up to the individual county clerk.  Just for fun I’m going to look into it for Monroe County.  If whatever I need to get from ULCM doesn’t cost much, I might just do it.

Then again, I have no idea what I’m talking about and I’m using Google as a Law Book.

DISCLAIMER: Please do not take my word for it.  If you decide to pursue this method of marriage, clear it with your county clerk first.
So there you have it.

Reverend Randy Aldrich is now available for all your wedding ceremonial needs.

Julia Nunes and Ben Folds

We mentioned before that we saw Julia Nunes at the Ben Folds concert we attended.  Her performance was awesome, especially since we had no clue she was going to be part of it and I knew her from Youtube.  She finally posted a video of her performance, and while the quality isn’t very good it portrays the show perfectly.  About 5:20 into the video you’ll get to see Ben playing the drums for Julia which was completely unexpected and awesome.  She was totally clueless which made it even better.

In other news, we might be going to the 2009 Block Party with Ben Folds this Sunday.

Like a RockStar

CassandraMy niece sings karaoke every Friday at the VFW in Newark NY.  She’s been doing it for a while now.

Friday night Rachel and I went out to see for ourselves and I’m proud to say she has quite the voice.  She started with some Evanescence, then rocked out to some Sublime and No Doubt and a few others. All of which she nailed with the exception of some song she didn’t know and thus fumbled through with her friend.

The karaoke at the VFW was a much better setup than I expected.  The patrons even more so.  There were a few people that essentially owned the karaoke machine.  Then there were a few others which subjected us all to throaty renditions of Wonderwall and off key versions of Living on a Prayer.

Overall an extremely fun and entertaining evening.

Planning our 3 week Hiatus

Rachel’s Brother George lives in Portland Oregon and he’s getting married in July (the 11th to be exact).  Since we’ll be trekking all the way across the country for the big event we’re planning on making a vacation of it.  We’ll be staying in the Pacific Northwest for 3 weeks.  The rough itinerary is Portland for about a week, Glacier National Park for about a week, Seattle for a few days and then back to Portland to fly home. Beyond that we have no idea.

We’re trying to plan as little as possible and just wing it but we’ve put together a tentative map of the route we might take and the places we want to see.

View Larger Map
We don’t want to plan our trip but we do want ideas.  We’ve never been to the west coast or the pacific northwest and we need to know the cool stuff to do or see.  If you have been to this part of the country, please let us know what places you enjoyed (and those you didn’t) so we can add it to our list!

Shorts (The Bar) – Rick Rolled

My buddy Charles was in town this past weekend for his birthday and we were out and about in Fairport NY.  Everyone was a little toasted by the end of the night and Brian and Charles took advantage of the empty bar at Shorts to subject everyone to a little of of their finest Karaoke.

It’s worth a look (and a listen) because it really is quite atrocious, as all good Karaoke should be.