Sunday, September 22, 2013


   At this autumnal equinox there are stirrings among the die-hard skiers in anticipation of another season on the slopes.   Snowfall in the far reaches of the U.S. west are noted and dreams of being a better skier are renewed.   A couple of days ago I received my copies of Skiing and Ski magazines.  The Gear Guide issue spurred a review of the possibilities of new equipment.   It is interesting to see what new technology may be useful.  However, nothing grabbed me this time except the what seemed like hugely inflated prices for boots.  I am glad the my boot liners of last year are so effective and comfortable that I have no need for change.   Ski technology does not seem to have significantly changed from last year.
    The Top 50 Resort Guide was intriguing.   For the most part I agreed with the evaluations of the ski areas that I have visited.   Alta and Snowbird remain near the top of the hard core skiers ski areas as does Mad River Glen of the East.   Their evaluation of Snow Basin fit with my experience as well.  Even though I am now beyond the "skiing the steeps" the article on the same gave me a rush to think of what it is like to head off down a 40 degree slope.   Thankfully I am wise enough to be satisfied with the memory and not have to push myself now.
   Each year I usually add at least one thing new to my ski gear collection.  It looks like this year it will be a new jacket.   I  have been scoping out an appropriate jacket that fits my technical needs at the same time being of reasonable cost.   Google seems to be aware of my searches since jacket ads keep popping us whenever I am using Google Chrome.  For all of my geezer buddies at Greek Peak, you may not be seeing my old yellow jacket much this season.   However, like a comfortable pair of shoes the old yellow jacket still makes me feel good on the slopes.
    So here we are with the days getting shorter and the temperatures dropping.   Changes and stirrings are about.   A new season, a new management at our local ski area, and a new ski lift as well.  All this has to be stirring the blood of the geezer skiers.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Follow Your Bliss

     The Mythologist Joseph Campbell advised one to "follow your bliss".    I heard that advice from one of his tapes many years ago and thought that he was truly on target about how one should live your life.   Today I read column by Froma Harrop that support that approach to life.  She was reporting that people who follow their passion will have longer and happier lives.   No matter what the activity might be.  Being wealthy and having worldly recognition do not seem to guarantee longevity or satisfaction with life.   However if you find a life work that brings you satisfaction on a daily basis, you can expect to be more content.
   The two examples that Harrop wrote about were persons who were willing to ride out their calling in spite of the changes over the years.  One person was a typewriter repairman with a business that survived in spite of the demise of the typewriter in the last twenty or thirty years.   His business declined from employment of eight persons to only himself.   But he continued in to his eighties and until he died repairing typewriters as they became retro devices.   Another personal had a business selling vinyl records.  As we know vinyl disappeared as tape and Cd's replaced that technology.  However he held on until his demise following his passion.   Fortunately there is retro interest in the tonal quality of the vinyl record.
   At lunch today I was in conversation with several of my professor emeritus friends about various elements of the university life.   I think in our assemblage we agreed that all of us had the chance to "follow our bliss".   Our employment as university faculty allowed us to engage a life work of following our passion.   At least for the most part.  And note we ranged age from the late seventies and into the early eighties.   Perhaps it is an overstatement to say at all times in our academic careers that we were always following our passion.  In our emeritus status, however, we have very few constraints.
    As I reflect on my academic career, I can truly say I was pursuing my interests and curiosity in engineering because it was my pleasure more than it was my work assignment.  Indeed I have been fortunate to have followed my bliss.   And in retirement it is a pleasure to follow my recreational bliss of skiing.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Wisdom of The Ages

     Last Thursday I missed my favorite meeting of academics due to an unexpected mix up of scheduling.   It was the annual meeting of Cornell University engineering emeritus professors hosted by the  Dean of Engineering Lance Collins.  The meeting is typically a delicious lunch at the Statler Hotel followed by an update of the activities of the College of Engineering by the Dean and concluded by a spirited exchange of views about the college.   As you can see by the photos it is a geezer group.   Probably many of them would be offended by the geezer designation but I make that appellation with all due respect to the wisdom of the assembly.
   Many of these distinguished individuals have received national and international recognition by various academic associations.  These include the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences.   Some are also recipients of honorary doctoral degrees.  All in all they represent 1000's of years of distinguished engineering careers.   
   I think it is extremely wise of the Dean to cultivate input from this group.   Although some of the verbal exchanges can be sharp and occasionally contentious, the emerita and the Dean have a common goal of improving the College and its contributions to Cornell and greater society.
   As I gaze upon the picture of this group I cannot help to muse about what a photo of the next generation would look like.   Note for the moment there are no women.  Based on the current faculty of engineering make up, one could expect about one-third of the next generation to be women.   Also based on current engineering faculty demographics the next generation will have Hispanic and African-American emerita.  Whatever the case, any future Dean would be wise to seek input from the wisdom of the elders.
     (Since my blog supposedly speaks to the geezer skiers I should point out that the group pictured includes at least on downhill skier and several past and present cross country skiers).

Annual Meeting of the Cornell College of Engineering Emeritus Professors with the Dean
(Dean Lance Collins with the red badge - center)