The Mark Patel

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A few things that I do just for fun...


Nicole and I had both tried skiing many many years ago and just got very frustrated. Then three years ago Nicole was in Denver for an Underwater Hockey tournament, so we decided to visit Breckenridge afterwards and give skiing another shot. We took a lesson and spent several days getting the hang of it, and to our surprise we were able to ski pretty well and we had a lot of fun doing it.

Since then we've gone on a ski trip every year. This year we broke with tradition and went to Park City, Utah instead of Breckenridge. The skiing there is very good and the short 35 minute trip from SLC makes it really convenient, but we did miss the more natural, diverse feel that Breckenridge has (Park City seemed to be very over developed).

We've been working on improving our technique using some of the tips and tricks from Breakthrough on Skis I: Expert Skiing Simplified; it's a great training DVD if you've got the basics down but want to look like you really know what you're doing.


I got into biking a couple of years ago (Matt: if you're reading this, it's all your fault). I have an older Cannondale road bike that I've updated with STI shifters and a new rear derailleur. Chicago's North Shore area has an abundance of bike trails and quiet residential streets to tour around on. In case you're wondering, the photo is of Nicole and I in Door County, WI; our hotel had several bikes available for guest use, including a ridiculously heavy but rather fun Schwinn Twinn.

Elston The Beagle

We recently adopted a new dog after our dear friend Mr. Watson passed away last year; it's been a little tough getting used to a different dog after 10 years with Watson and we will always miss him, but young Elston is settling in nicely and we're growing quite fond of the little guy.

Elston is about 18 months old and was given up to a local shelter in southern Illinois when his previous owners were moving; he was rescued by a Chicago-based adoption agency that fostered him for a couple of weeks until we adopted him on March 2, 2008.

I'm not entirely sure how, but it appears that young Elston has created a blog for himself.

Elston still needs a lot of supervision to make sure he doesn't chew on things and get into trouble, so we got him a crate for when he's alone in the house. We were curious to know what he does in there while we're away, so we shot this 20x time lapse video of him to find out...