76 entries categorized "Salt Lake City"

A tale of three men

Gerald Raymond “Jerry” Nunn, 1946–2013

My father died last week. Not entirely unexpectedly—he had some recent serious health problems—but it was still a shock to get the call the morning of August 8 that he had died the day before.

This is the story of three different men, all of them my father, each living a distinctly different part of one life.

Continue reading "A tale of three men" »

Squatters Pub Brewery brewmaster Jennifer Talley wins another award

Jennifer Talley, the brewmaster at Squatters Pub Brewery in Salt Lake City, has won the prestigious Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing. She is the first woman to receive the honor since it was first presented in 1997 by the national Brewers Association.

She recevied the award last week during the Craft Brewers Conference in Boulder, Colorado.

A native of Chicago, Talley has been the head brewer at Squatters since 1994. Utah beer lovers know she is always experimenting with new beer styles and ingredients creating award winners such as Alt & In The Way, a gold medal winner at the 2008 World Beer Cup.

via www.sltrib.com

Good news! Squatters is my fave brewpub, glad to see the recognition.

You can HEAR the anguished wringing of hands

It’s snowing in the Seattle area, which means two things.

  1. Area school districts started announcing changes to their schedules, or outright closures, more than 24 hours ago, at the first hint of snow in the forecasts.
  2. Drivers are freaked the hell out.

The snow is sticking to lawns, roofs, and trees, but it’s barely making the roads wet yet. However, the forecast calls for up to 3 inches of accumulation from Seattle southward by this afternoon.

I am of course in heaven. I was born and raised (and more importantly learned to drive) in Salt Lake City, where men are men and holy underwear is the norm, and where they get REAL snow. Where by “real” I mean in quantities of inches at a time, sometimes a foot or more, and as the license plates will confirm it’s the greatest snow on Earth.

Which means that anytime the Seattle weather forecasts mention snow or La Niña or “Arctic flow” or the other winter-weather flag phrases, I get a little giddy. I remember the years of walking to school uphill in the snow (but one way only) and the inevitable late-night sledding sessions down the block-long alley across the street, including that time Matt almost got crushed by the bus on 6th Avenue but only his sled bit the dust because of his expertly timed ninja dodge maneuver, and the look of utter horror on the bus driver’s face when he felt the bus’s front right tire go over SOMETHING (and probably felt the crunching of the sled’s wood deck) and he had seen a teenager waving wildly on the sidewalk just before that.

Ahh, the memories.

Anyway, back to now. Yesterday we had several brief periods of “snow”—really, it was the hardened version of Seattle’s famous misty rain. You had squint to see it—it made NOTHING wet, not roads, not cars, certainly not exposed skin. Immortalized in a conversation with Julie Anne as we had a late pre-Thanksgiving-shopping breakfast at Original Pancake House in Crown Hill:

Don: Oh look, it’s snowing again.

Julie Anne [squinting]: It is?

Don: You have to really want to see it.

Julie Anne [pause, still squinting]: Oooohh.

Laffs all ’round!

It certainly doesn’t help that the media here in Seattle buy into the frenzy wholeheartedly. KOMO News radio usually switches to their astoundingly lame “driver to driver coverage”: Joe Sixpack calls in on their news line and reports what he may or may have seen, or sometimes what he expects to see, or what his wife’s coworker’s neighbor said she once saw. And somehow the metro area hangs on his every word. Usually delivered all in a rush, because Joe Sixpack is not a professional radio personality and so has no clue about modulation and pace:

KOMO personality: We have Joe from Medina on the KOMO News Line. Joe, tell us what you see.

Joe: Yeah so I was driving on 520 toward I-5 and as I got to Montlake I saw a snowflake and I slammed on the brakes and a semi and a bus behind me almost crashed as they tried to avoid me and I spilled my Starbucks all over the dashboard and now I have to go to the detailer.

KOMO: O...kay, thanks, Joe. Now to Melinda in Shoreline, you have have something to tell us about the power up there?

Melinda: Well our schools are all closed and our power is on, it hasn’t even flickered. But we have about an inch of snow and my driveway is really icy.

KOMO: ...

And so on. It just never ends. I know (or at least I think) they think they’re providing a necessary civic service, but come on.

Really they’re just enabling the cold-weather-pansy mentality.

Why I will never be on the PGA tour

Matt: youve been working a hell of a lot lately
Don: Yuh.. I don’t have a carpool anymore, so it’s an easy way to avoid traffic, and I also want to bank up hours so I can travel a lot over the next few months w/o using my paid time
Matt: ohhh ok
Matt: where you going?
Don: San Diego in April, Salt Lake in May, Molokai in July, road trip in August/September
Don: Possibly India in there somewhere too
Don: Though the India thing would be for work, so no time off required for it.
Matt: holy crappers
Don: mmhmm
Don: All but the India trip are definite
Don: If the India travel plans had worked out as originally hoped, I’d be there now in fact
Don: Would’ve left on/about the 6th of this month
Matt: wow, why Salt Lake?
Don: See friends who still live there, and participate in a charity golf tournament
Don: Which by itself is amusing because I play golf like drunk people fuck
Matt: ROFL
Don: Hell of a thing, my golf game. I have a strong drive, I can get 150-200 yards sometimes, but I can’t aim to save my life.
Don: It’s worth your scalp to be within 20 feet of me when I swing off the tee ;x
Matt: lol I’ll keep that in mind

2008 in cities

List gets shorter each year, even though I’m spending about the same amount of time traveling. Fewer destinations, more trips to some of them.

Links lead to related posts; boldface indicates cities I visited more than once.

A bit different method this time. The list includes cities where I spent less than 24 hours if the city was the primary destination. Previously, I only included cities I where I had spent at least 24 consecutive hours, but this year I made a few day trips I wanted to include.

If this is at all like last year, family and friends will remind me of a couple of trips I took and didn’t have listed in my calendar, so I may add to this list over the next few days.

Previous “in cities” lists: 2005, 2006, 2007.

Also, Katharine’s list; our friend Julie Anne’s list.

On Vox: QotD: Broken Bones

I’ve only broken one bone in my life, my left pinky during a game of fly’s-up in grade school. 4th or 5th grade, I think, but I don’t remember exactly when.

I had a hell of a time convincing anyone it was actually broken—it was only a hairline fracture and didn’t really hurt, it was just this strange sensation of warmth and a slight numbness for a week or so after it happened.

Some months later my pinky had developed a misshapen lump over the knuckle. Turns out bone had grown over the break while it healed, so my left pinky is lopsided now.


Have you ever broken a bone? If so, how?

Originally posted on donnunn.vox.com

Seven years already?

On this date in 2001, I made my first DVD rental from Netflix. Picked three movies, received all three two days later.

In alphabetical order:

Antz. I can’t remember exactly why I rented this. Only thing I can figure is it was a fairly new DVD release at the time, and probably I wanted to be able to compare it to A Bug’s Life, which was due for release in November of that year.

The Big Kahuna. Hated this movie. Hated, hated, HATED it. Rented it because I generally like Kevin Spacey and the trailers somehow made it look good to me.

Enemy of the State. Will Smith’s latest (at the time) blockbuster, and it held my attention from beginning to end despite the occasionally laughably obvious plot.

I was struck, as I looked over the rest of my rental history, by how strongly I remember some of the movies, or at least the circumstances of their rental or viewing, and by how utterly forgettable other movies have proved to be. The Ice Storm, for example, I still clearly remember watching on a November evening in 2001. The film itself didn’t register on me much, neither particularly good nor hideously awful, though I quite like both Kevin Kline and Joan Allen; but the circumstances of when and where I watched it, I remember well. Not so for Spider-Man 3, which my calendar and my Netflix history both tell me I watched less than a year ago on Nov 15, 2007, but which I have no memory of seeing—neither the movie itself nor the when/where of it apart from my calendar record.

The seven years in my Netflix history since, by the numbers:

  • 435: Number of movies I’ve rented.
  • 165: Longest time (in days) I held a movie. I’d lost a Netflix envelope among a stack of papers and needed several months to find it. And then returned it UNWATCHED.
  • 50: Discs returned unwatched due to lost interest. Some of these I knew I wouldn’t watch and forgot to remove them from my queue.
  • 14: Times I changed my membership level, as high as 4-at-at-time/unlimited and as low as 1-out/2-monthly depending on how I was using the service at any given time.
  • 12: Number of movies I’ve rented twice.
  • 9: Discs returned for replacement due to unplayability. Scratches mostly, my DVD player is VERY sensitive to that; but in one case, the DVD arrived snapped into four pieces inside its mailer.
  • 2: Times I put my account on hold while I was moving from one state to another.
  • 1.2: Average number of movies per week over the entire 7-year run.
  • 1: Shortest time (in days) I held a movie (actually 30 different titles) and number of movies I rented 3 times.
  • 0: Discs I’ve lost and Times I’ve entered movie-rental stores.

Hell of a ride. I wonder how much my late fees would have been on those films I kept longer than the brick-and-mortar stores’ policies allowed back in 2001? I should figure that out sometime, but I think this is enough stats geekery for now.

QotD: There’s a Monster in My Closet

The title and default tag of this QotD are appropriate, because when I was a kid I had an almost paralyzing fear of my walk-in closet. It was big and dark and full of clothing on hangers and it had these large drawers full of bedding and linens. The drawers were easily large enough for me to climb inside until I was about 5 or 6 years old, so the idea that I might be playing hide-and-seek and never get found was just horrifying.

But worst of all was the hole in the closet wall at the edge of those drawers. It was a ragged hole, knocked into the wall to allow access to the crawlspace between the eaves and the house’s brick walls. But I had seen the 1980 version of The Fog, and I recalled a scene where an eerie light was emanating from the walls of an old house and a young woman reached through a hole in the wall to grab something she had lost (or possibly left behind, or whatever), and as she reached in, THE MONSTERS GRABBED HER AND PULLED HER THROUGH TO HER DEATH.

I would NOT go near that part of the closet at night, and in daylight only with every nearby light source turned on. Scared the SHIT out of me.


What were you afraid of when you were younger that seems silly to you now?
Submitted by wandie

A few things, a few times over

Went to Salt Lake City and Reno for a (combined) week starting Thu 05/01. I remember the Salt Lake portion of the trip very well, the Reno part not so much. This is because I caught what seemed to be a mild cold at the beginning of the trip, but by Sun 05/04, the day we drove from SLC to Reno, the cold had exploded into a lovely sinus pressure / fever / coughing / woe-is-me thing that left me reeling that day and the next, and stumbling in a fog the third day.

Fog. In the desert.

Go figure.

“Cloud ceiling” by Don Nunn on FlickrThe SLC trip was for the hell of it—I loves me a road trip, who needs a reason?—but also to help with, and by extension attend, Julie Anne’s brother Jimmy’s 30th-birthday party. The party was scheduled for Sat 05/03, so we drove down Thu 05/01 and ran errands Fri 05/02 and most of Sat and enjoyed the party by working our asses off in the kitchen all night. Lasagna, Caesar salad, and garlic bread for 60 people, coming right up!

Julie Anne had also prepared a 10-minute slide show of photos scanned from Jimmy’s entire life, childhood all the way to 19:30 three weeks ago Tuesday. Show was a big hit, particularly the lingering shot of Jimmy astride an absurdly large cannon barrel, total “Paging Dr. Freud, Dr. Freud, please call the hospital operator” moment—Big Laffs!, and the other photo depicting Jimmy in drag that vaguely resembled the Wendy’s logo if she were a hamburger-slingin’ ballet dancer.

The party ended about 22:00 and we finished cleaning up a week later. Good thing my car knew the way back to the hotel because I sure as hell don’t remember actually making that drive, and even better it knew the way Sunday morning to Squatters where we met my mom for brunch before our drive to Reno.

I should actually say “Julie Anne’s drive and my ride to Reno,” because that’s the segment where my brain started to forget things like how to make me breathe correctly, and how to regulate my body’s temperature. Short version: I coughed our way across Nevada in between spates of almost death-like sleep while my temperature bounced gaily up and down like those little dots that track the song lyrics in karaoke bars.

Julie Anne was ever the trooper, however, and got us to Nevada in record time, despite her deep-seated need to follow rules which manifests itself most regularly by scrupulous observance of speed limits. This day, she threw caution to the wind. Our trip through Wendover, Elko, Winnemucca, and into Reno happened mostly at 85 mph or better, and I may be imagining this but I’m pretty sure she threw the finger to several large truckers (and their big trucks) and possibly a cop or two along the way.

But I was feverish, who knows.

“Casino orb” by Don Nunn on FlickrWe were in Reno because Julie Anne was attending a trade show there, and I had to be deathly ill. She was In Charge of the show, by which I mean she handled the show arrangements for her company’s product display there, and she kicked ass and took names and generally owned the world for the four hours of the show’s existence Tuesday morning. I know this to be true because she told me so; I was lying in bed squirming and moaning and coughing and trying to take a single full breath but my brain was still forgetting how to do that, though by then it had a fine command for inducing cramps in all 10 toes and one side of my jaw, I think from all the writhing I had done Sunday night and all day Monday and into Tuesday morning.

It’s an odd thing when you’ve slept for 43 of the previous 48 hours but you’re utterly EXHAUSTED and all you want to do is sleep more, except you can’t get comfortable because every time you move, every time an air molecule even TOUCHES you, some part of you cramps up. And trust me, you can feel EVERY FUCKING MOLECULE touching you.

Damned physiology.

By Tuesday midday I was (wobblingly) back among the living, and it was time to wrap things up in Reno and drive back to Seattle, which we did over two days. We drove from Reno through Susanville, CA, and around the south face of Mt. Shasta on CA-89 to I-5 northbound, where we had to watch for cops because the damned road is PAVED with CHP cars, Jesus!, and stopped in Medford, OR. We got a blisteringly early start Wednesday, shaking out of our hotel room for breakfast at about ten minutes before 10:00 sharp, and we were home by about 18:30.

The rest of the week involved unpacking my suitcase, which actually took about 20 minutes Wednesday night but somehow feels like it will NEVER be finished, and then going to work for the two remaining days of the week. This morning was laundry, the usual routine of getting up and meeting Julie Anne at 07:15 to be at the laundromat at 07:30 sharp so we can beat the attendant to her job, but today we were half an hour early because it turns out while we were gone, they changed their hours to 08:00 daily. Bastards. I could’ve slept another 30 minutes, got up at 6:45 instead of 06:15, but they didn’t bother to tell US they’d changed their hours.

“Game-time view” by Don Nunn on FlickrSo we got coffee and bagels while we waited, and we still finished our laundry faster than in weeks previous. MOUNTAINS of laundry, I swear we summited Mount Purex a dozen times over, which would be funnier if either of us used that brand but I needed something with two syllables.

And tonight I’m going to the Seattle Mariners game versus the Chicago White Sox (it was important to say “Chicago” there, to differentiate them from the famed Bristol White Sox) at Safeco Field, where I fully expect the Mariners to get trounced in their usual fashion, thereby maintaining their place at or near the bottom of the AL West. Only San Diego is doing worse than the Mariners right now, so let’s go, Seattle! You can do better!

Have a good weekend. :-)