2014-12-06 16:50:20.000 – Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Staff Meteorologist
How are you? I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that this is my eighth letter to you; that’s nearly one letter for each year I have been working up here. Digging through my file cabinet, I have been covering our five-point checklist that we agreed to years ago:
Hand Written note by November 1 – DONE
Email note by Thanksgiving – DONE
A preliminary New Hampshire forecast for Christmas night – DONE (emailed it to you this morning)
A reminder on my Google Calendar/Task List for a follow up forecast for the days leading up to December 25th – ADDED and WAITING…
Our list posted on our Observer Comments page as a fail-safe – DONE (after I post this)
Hopefully we landed on the nice list once again this year… I like to think that we acted kindly and respectfully to all our interns, guests, friends, families and pet (Marty Kitty). By the way, Marty sends his regards – he’s looking forward to the special treats, litter and food you bring him. Thankfully you have stopped giving him toys, because he has way too many of those.
When you arrive at NH State Parks Sherman Adams Building, you will find that there have been some significant changes to the front entrance, our museum, and our living quarters. So, hopefully our Elf on the Shelf can give you a preliminary report to help you get to your milk and the freshly baked cookies for a quick in and out.
So once again, if it is not too much trouble; could you get us one or more of the following?
1. Observatory Memberships – Not for the Observers, but for other boys and girls on your list around the world. Since we are membership supported, these gifts would be the gifts that keep giving over the year. And this year, when you sign up or give a gift membership, you receive a FREE limited edition Observatory ornament for you and the Misses to enjoy (or re-gift if you so choose).
2. Gift Donations – This will help lighten your bag of toys and help us out in our bold step forward in the coming years.
3. Edutrips or Partner-Led Climbing Trips – Again, not for the observers but for the other boys and girls on your list around the world. This gives us the gift of funding and in return, someone on your list gets the opportunity to stay and learn on top of the Northeast’s highest peak. Plus, it gives me someone new to talk to and interact with (not that there’s anything wrong with the great group of people I work with). Or, if you know someone that is pressed for time, you could consider signing up for a Day Trip as an alternative.
4. Eastern Mountain Sports Equipment – Again, not for us as they have provided us with everything we need to stay warm and dry up here. This is a recommendation for if you plan on using EMS for gifts for others on your list.
5. Office Supplies – We work like an office, so anything you can send that will cut costs for us is great: mechanical pencils, refill lead (0.5mm), pens, printer paper, etc.
6. Batteries – Preferably AAA or AA as our headlamps, flashlights and rescue/research equipment use these.
7. Gift cards – We go shopping for food weekly at Hannaford, Shaw’s or Walmart; but Lowes, Home Depot, or anywhere else in North Conway is fine. Well, you know what’s around here.
8. Sporting Equipment – Can you ever have enough sporting equipment? We always prefer foam types to lower the risk of breaking anything on us or around us. But we will take any kind of sports “toys.” I think topping the list this year are plastic toboggan sleds since we are running a bit low this year. And the cheaper the better since these don’t tend to last us a whole winter with all the ice we have to run them down on.
9. Calendars – Not for us, but if you could purchase some from our online shop, it gives individuals on your list a great calendar and provides us some financial support (two birds, one stone).
10. Board Games – To keep us entertained as a group from time to time.We already love playing Cranium, Apples to Apples, Buzz Word, Things, Scrabble, and Loaded Questions. So if you know of any others like these, I know we’d love them. The more offbeat, the better it seems.
11. Candles – Preferably the soy-based, large jar type or tumblers like the ones from Soyfire for example. They liven up our living quarters and make it feel more like home.
12. Candy and gum – Since I know you eat a lot of cookies and sweets, I know you can relate. Can we ever really have enough?
13. A Steel Scoop Coal Shovel – We get A LOT of snow and ice up here and have to shovel the exits daily. So, these type of shovels help out tremendously. While any type of snow shovel is useful to us, these ones in particular make it great to shovel as well as break up the occasional ice chunks.
14. Food Storage Containers – I know our volunteers would greatly appreciate a matching set as our current hodgepodge of containers makes for a unique matching game every night after supper.
15. Netflix gift card – Since we don’t have cable, satellite, etc up here, we use Netflix streaming to provide us occasional entertainment for an hour or two in the evening.
16. A Streaming Media Player – Currently we use our Nintendo Wii to stream but it would be nice to have a Roku Streaming Stick (or an equivalent) for a few more “channels” and a higher definition option.
17. Tripods – between all of us and our guests, it never seems like we have enough of these up here.
18. GoPro Hero 4 – This would be useful in creating more time lapses (day or night) as well as provide us a rugged camera to use in our environment.
19. Industrial strength tape – like Gorilla Tape because when winds are howling and something needs a quick fix, it’s always useful to have a really strong tape when you need it.
20. Avocent SwitchView IP 1020 for remote server support – I honestly have no idea what this is, but our IT Observer says it’s important and needed. He even said a “used but working” variant would be just fine.
21. Another item on our IT Observers list is a pair of Ethernet ports; either a Cisco Catalyst 2960C-12PC-L – 12 Ethernet 10/100 ports with PoE and 2 SFP-based Gigabit Ethernet ports or a Cisco Catalyst 3560G-48PS – 48 Ethernet 10/100/1000 ports with PoE and 4 SFP-based Gigabit Ethernet ports. Used but working is once again fine, but if in doubt, maybe have one of your elf’s give him a call just to be on the safe side.
22. A Raspberry Pi microprocessor: http://www.raspberrypi.org/raspberry-pi-model-a-plus-on-sale/. These come in handy on the summit, where we’re surrounded by electronics that need monitoring, which the new $20 microprocessor can handle very well.
23. Snow – the more the better! So far this season has been below average. So some of the white stuff would make not only us happy but also all our surrounding ski resorts and winter activity industries happy.
24. Surprise us yet again! – Sometimes the coolest gifts are the ones you didn’t think you needed.
That’s about it Santa. Remember that we don’t mind second hand items so long as they are in good, clean and usable condition. This helps out the environment and extends the life on perfectly usable stuff. We are really not picky and are just thankful for anything. Also, if you want a particular type of cookie and drink, like last year, you can post your preferences on our Facebook or Twitter pages. We will try once again to keep the plate full, but you’ve had our volunteers cooking, it’s hard to pass up sometimes; so delicious!
I, unfortunately, will not be up this year to greet you. However, I will ensure that the other shift has everything is in order for your arrival: a clear deck and path to the door, well greased doors, deiced stairs, clean living quarters, decorated Christmas tree (maybe another real one like last year?), and a full plate of cookies next to a glass of milk/nog/soy. And we will keep you posted on the forecast leading up to and on the night of your arrival. Safe travels and we look forward to seeing you yet again.
Thank you! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Staff Meteorologist