Morning Ice

I’m at the Driggs Community Center every morning from 750 to 815, Mon-Fri, serving as the ride to Victor for any Community School kids that catch me on time.

This place is the true center of Driggs, Idaho. I watch two Targhee shuttle buses roll up every morning to take workers and skiers up to the hill. I watch Amy Birch drop off the Teton Valley News at Barrels and Bins on Thursday. And, I’m seeing the Winterfest sculptures come alive right in front of me.

This morning I got off my warm bus before the kids arrived and took a walk around the area. The sun hadn’t quite made it up and the snow color was soft as I made my way around these incredible art works in progress.

SlideShow (Morning Ice)

Categorized as Winterfest 2

Nice Ice

Did a quick walk-around the sculptures after chatting with Marlene yesterday. I also took some shots this morning before anybody showed up, for tomorrows post.

SlideShow (Nice Ice)

Categorized as Winterfest 2

Perseus And Medusa

The snow sculpture competition is underway! They have until Sunday morning to create their art and be judged. I stopped by Marlene’s project and she said it was going to be the two Greek characters Perseus and Medusa. It should be a challenging piece but she was on last years winning team so I’m sure it’ll be great.

In the Greek myth, King Polydectes sent Zeus’s son Perseus on a mission to bring him the head of the gorgeous gorgon Medusa, who was mortal. Perseus found her, cut her head off and the drops of blood that dripped from her neck created the winged horse Pegasus and some other winged boar. Aha! Pegasus was the sculpture they created last year. I really thought I was on to something.

These pictures were taken yesterday (Marlene on the left) so I dropped by today and ran my Pegasus theory by her. As her eyes glazed over from the amount of data I was throwing at her she said last years sculpture was a winged dragon, because winged things were just the theme for the event.

So much for my conspiracy theory investigative talents. She did confirm though that there would be no bleeding heads in the sculpture. Darn…

Photos are a day behind, more tomorrow.

SlideShow (Perseus And Medusa)

Categorized as Winterfest 2

Trapped Kids

I had just finished my last drop this evening when I came upon this school bus full of kids trapped in the snow. The bus had driven too close to the edge and slid into what I refer to as a bear trap. That’s where you think there’s pavement, but it’s really a ditch.

The kids were screaming frantically and waving for my help, but I just drove on by. You know, I just don’t like to get involved in other drivers bear traps…

Besides, the driver was on the phone to his Base, about a mile away :-)

Categorized as The Bus

Pipers Papers

Piper is a pedigree cat. Well, maybe not, but at least she has papers. Ok, they belong to my employer and they just got faxed down to Idaho Falls but they are hers for a while.

She really does like paper, under her and over her. She also loves her toys, her brush and her scratch box. I suppose if I quit putting catnip on the box she’ll stop tearing it up :-)

This is her favorite spot in the house…

SlideShow (Pipers Papers)

Categorized as Piper

How Cold Is It?

You know it’s really cold when the snow that fell off your shoes on Friday is still on the floorboard of your truck come Monday morning, and the truck spent the entire weekend inside your garage.

You also know it’s really cold when the local school system shuts down, as it did this morning. These are tough kids, and closures don’t happen often.

So, how cold is it? I’m tapping this post out on my smartphone, let me check…

Update: My son Riley just called and asked if that was the windchill temperature. Nope, no wind here today, just pure raw cold…

Categorized as The Valley

State Government

Here’s my latest government app. It uses an API from to present the members of a particular U.S. States Congressional delegation. Their API is under development so States are being added continually…

This is really a holy grail for me. I’ve been creating mashups based on the U.S. Congress for years now and finally I’m able to deal with each State’s individual members.

There’s a lot of complicated parsing going on here. I know it looks similar to my previous U.S. Congress app, but click on your State and dive in if you wish…

A lot of folks don’t have photos yet, but a surprising number of them do, depending on the State. This is a mobile app, available here.

Categorized as Android


Here’s my latest app. It uses my state button template to load up members of Congress by State. The two Senators for each State are presented first followed by the House members in sequence by last name. Click on a name to access info about that member of Congress.

This app uses the Sunlight Foundation API which unfortunately is out of date while they wait for new members to get sworn in. I placed second in their first nationwide Sunlight API contest a few years back and I’m still in contact with the developers. When their data goes current, I’ll be right on top of it. This is a mobile app, available here.

Categorized as Android

Box Fill

Henry is the long time Public Works guy here in the valley and we work out of the same base. The look on his face was Hey, it’s Bus Driver Jim! Just assuming…

The ice sculpture boxes were filled and stomped down firm by volunteers yesterday and the frames will come off shortly. No need to worry about melting with a temp of -12°

SlideShow (Box Fill)

Categorized as Winterfest 2


Our driveway this morning. Not bad compared to winters past but the fact that snow fell overnight on a partially shoveled one just caught my eye.

Categorized as House

Snow Spots

We’ve got a pretty good supply of snow here in the valley, and up on the hill. I was curious where the snow for this years Snowfest boxes would be gathered.

There’s a lot of snow out by the gravel pit and it’s great quality as I can attest to having trudged through it to get these shots. Nope, they didn’t go there for snow.

I suppose it’s just too pretty to mess up…

The field by the Elementary School will be the source this year. How imaginative! Oh well, snow is snow :-)

SlideShow (Snow Spots)

Categorized as Winterfest 2

Boxes Of Snow

The boxes are back! You’ve got to love a small town that’s figured out how to draw tourists in by building 8x8x8 foot boxes and filling them with snow.

The Second Annual Great SnowFest is set to begin, running Jan 15-18 with 10 sculpting teams competing. Most are local artisans but a couple of pro teams are in the mix.

Volunteers first stomp the snow down into the boxes like bare-footed grape crushers, except they wear boots. Then the boxes are removed and the sculpting starts.

This was great fun last year and your intrepid blog reporter is on the scene this year to bring you more cool photos and commentary!

Categorized as Winterfest 2


We had a family gathering at the Brakeman burger place in Victor tonight. Local grown beef and great ambiance. My niece and my friend arrived to announce that he has proposed marriage and she has accepted!

This is well received news within the family and we are all very pleased. To honor the occasion I present a painting I just created of the plant that adorns the entrance to our family room. Hey, it’s the best I can do on short notice :-)


By definition, changes to code style or structure that result in an improved (or simply different) implementation without changes to the external behavior is a refactor, not a rewrite. Such is the case with my latest project, States. I’m now on my third version.

This is the app that I’m pushing forward as my first published project. I’m installing mobile development tools on my desktop today to facilitate that transition.

It’s a simple little app that presents the fifty U.S. States as buttons that allow you to drill down to individual cities, or pick a city at random.

On the first screen I selected [ ID ] which presented the first letter sets for cities in Idaho. I then selected [ D ] which showed all cities in Idaho starting with D, and then I chose [ Driggs ] from the list. Informative links are provided for each city…

Here you go, try it out! (Click with your mouse, don’t press your screen :-)

Keep in mind that this app is running in your browser, mobile app available here.

p.s. Click the [ ?? ] button to select a totally random city in the U.S. The randomness is quite unique! It incorporates the Fisher Yates Shuffle, an algorithm for generating a random permutation of a finite set…

Meditate on your next life changing destination and then press [ ?? ] – If the city you land on doesn’t resonate, click Home and try it again.

Categorized as Android

Pretty Girl

We pulled the bed out of my travel truck today and replaced it with a large dead television. You know, the old fashioned heavy type with a tube. Positioned right over my rear axle it makes for better traction in the snow.

Our thermal blanket was part of the bed in the truck and it got thrown back on our bed to be included in the mix. The pretty little girl named Piper made herself right at home on it. I tell you, this cat could win beauty contests if they held such a thing…

Categorized as Piper