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Night Riding

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When I tell people I’m heading out for a mountain bike ride at night, I usually get a look of surprise and concern. With mountain biking’s reputation as an “extreme” sport, the idea of adding darkness to it seems insane to most. Of course, the mountain biking I do isn’t like what those same people associate with the term, which usually looks more like Red Bull Rampage.

While I don’t think of it as inherently more dangerous, night riding does make a trail that might be boring during the daytime much more interesting. Modern LED light sets made for bikes have improved to the point that they put out as much light as you might wish and last a long time, using smaller batteries than ever. Adding to the appeal is our weather this year: here in California, our winter looks downright lovely to most of the country. Crisp, clear nights have made the riding this winter super enjoyable.

The downside of riding at night in this area is that it’s illegal; almost all open spaces here close at sundown. That’s unfortunate in large part because it seems relatively arbitrary. I think that most land managers are worried about lawsuits if someone gets injured at night, and don’t really want to have rangers on staff all night. Of course, that means that we’re really hoping to not run into any rangers who are on duty, since they issue pricy tickets if they catch us. The alternative–riding solo on a trainer indoors to keep fit–is so much less appealing. Given how many I see out on the trails, it’s a risk quite a few dedicated cyclists have been willing to make.

Totoro!

I love that Ainsley is enjoying My Neighbor Totoro so much. She invited her friend (and neighbor) Nora over to share her new fave. She immediately asked that I take her to the store to get a Totoro plush toy she’d seen a couple weeks earlier, but hasn’t seen the show. She sleeps with the thing every night now; it’s her favorite. Next up: Nausicaä. :)

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On a bittersweet note, this is one of the last images I’ll make with the Leica setup I acquired almost exactly three years ago. The Leica is moving on to a new home, but that’s making room for something new, which I’ll share soon.

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Winter in California

It’s been a rough winter in California.

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Val, Ainsley and I spent a weekend recently at New Brighton State Beach in Aptos, near Santa Cruz. It’s close to home and originally intended to shake out the trailer at the beginning of the year. I made the reservations six months in advance, since it’s a popular spot. At the time, I figured “so what if it’s raining?” Of course–as you can see–we hit the weather jackpot: mid-‘60s and the beach mostly to ourselves. What a nice surprise, and an even nicer weekend.

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Funyun

Our home game has enjoyed from several poker variants, including Onion. Since publishing that write-up, we’ve incorporated another variant that I want to describe here: “Funyun”.

Funyun works exactly like Onion, has the same timing and “peeling” mechanic, but with more cards. This increases the action considerably, but also means that players are even more likely to have peeled cards that they wish they still had, which is the essential fun in Onion, hence “Funyon”. In practice, our group tends to even prefer Funyun to Onion.

Each player in Funyun is dealt six cards. After the flop’s betting round, each player discards two cards instead of Onion’s one. Two more cards are discarded after the turn’s betting round. Each player is left with exactly two cards, just as in Onion (and Texas Hold ‘Em). Like Onion, Funyun is typically played pot-limit. So, in summary:

  1. Each player is dealt six cards face down.
  2. There is a round of betting.
  3. Three community cards are placed face-up for all players to see (“the flop”).
  4. There is a round of betting.
  5. Each player discards two cards face down, leaving them with four cards in their hand.
  6. One more community card is placed face-up for all players to see (“the turn”).
  7. There is a round of betting.
  8. Each player discards two cards face down, leaving them with two cards in their hand.
  9. One final community card is placed face-up for all players to see (“the river”), making five community cards in total.
  10. There is a final round of betting.
  11. Each player remaining shows their cards and resolves their best five card poker hand using their remaining two hole cards and the five community cards, and the best hand wins.

We haven’t played Funyun with any of the “crazy” Onion variants, although there’s no reason why it couldn’t be done.

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Scott Hill, elsewhere on the web: