Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pig Out In The Park

Took the kids to Riverfront Park and the annual Pig Out in the Park celebration held over the Labor Day weekend. Caught the Shook Twins. They were very good. I was especially impressed with their use of loops, i.e., recording short instrumental and vocal parts, looping them so they're in time with the song and then playing over them.

Dum-dee-dum-dee-dum. Wonder why nobody's at this booth.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Take a Stand Day - Spokane

Had a good sized crowd--by Spokane standards--at the rally outside my workplace. I'm not allowed to participate in partisan political events so I took pictures.

Not many young people at the rally. I bet if there was a draft we'd have tons of young people show up.

Gotta love the Ragin' Grannies.

Lunar Eclipse

Stephanie and her cousin, Kalilah, visiting from Illinois agreed beforehand to be awakened at 3:00 am so they could see the eclipse in its totality phase. Josh was understandably not keen on that since he had done the one-hour run and was pretty tired. The girls thought it was worth it. The moon was a copper color. I tried to take some pictures with a 300mm lense and the ISO set to 1600, but the exposure time still allowed for the moon to move ever so slightly. Oh, for some really high-end equipment. Maybe when I win the lottery--but I have to buy a ticket which only slightly increases my odds of winning, eh?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Moonlight Hour Run

Josh is running cross country for Mead High School again. Tonight was the annual one hour long Moonlight Run. They count how many laps they can get around the track within 60 minutes. Josh did 35-1/4 laps--just shy of nine miles. Pretty awesome!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

From Where I Sit

In today's homily, Monsignor Ribble talked about how the second largest group of Christians in the U.S. are former Catholics. He said it pained him to see people lose their faith. But the part I found most interesting was that he said that former Catholics refuse to admit they might be wrong. The question for the priest that came to my mind: Can you admit that you might be wrong? It seems that when it comes to matters of faith there is no room for reason. When you are among the faithful, regardless of religion, you are right. If you are not of the faith, then you cannot admit you are wrong. I'll go out on a limb here. I am willing to admit I'm wrong. But it's a decision I make for myself and I'm okay with that.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Remember Gopher?

I was going through some old manuals and stacking them for the recycle bin when I discovered a copy of the Mar/Apr 1994 issue of Internet World. Remember when gopher was big?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Freethinker's Lament

All manners of faith
Bring out both love and hate
As they try to explain what life means.
I look and I see
They make no sense to me.
They don't answer much of life's schemes.

If you live by these rules
Then everything's cool
Yet many of us can't agree.
Were they given in love
From a power above
Or were they some leader's decrees?

Many people of science
Who put their reliance
On what they have learned to be true
Set aside what they know
For the "truth" they are told
Lies in Genesis 1 and 2.

I know I'd appreciate
If you people of faith
Worry not that I'll go to hell.
Sure, pray and sing songs
But we'd all get along
If you'd accept that I think for myself.

We live and we die
And there's no reason why
And there are plenty of faiths for your choosin'.
But I think that it's odd
That you think there's a god
Who gave us some brains to not use 'em.

Not as polished as I'd like it to be, but it gets the point across.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

More Scary Stuff

I'm not expert but the damaged tiles on the space shuttle look pretty scary to me.

A Travesty of our Justice System

Jose Padilla (the much-hyped dirty bomber) was found guilty of supporting terrorist organizations. The fact that he was held incommunicado, without access to legal counsel, and without human interaction was not allowed to be mentioned in his trial. Regardless of whether he's guilty or not, the way our administration has treated him is abominable. Declaring him an enemy combatant and locking him away in a military prison with no access to legal representation and no means for him to challenge is imprisonment is unconscionable. The Fourth Circuit upheld his imprisonment without writ of habeas corpus and just before the Supreme Court was to rule, presumably against the administration, he's released to civil authorities and charged in Federal Court with aiding terrorists. Since the case is moot, the Supreme Court doesn't make a ruling which it also a travesty since the administration can do this again since the Fourth Circuit's ruling is the current law. The system has been gamed mightily and we are the losers. We've since learned that Padilla was the victim of sleep and sensory deprivation which made a huge psychological impact on him and he's essentially unfit to do anything. But since what was done to him doesn't fit the current administration's definition of torture--physical injury that leads to organ failure or death--it can claim he wasn't tortured. And since it only happened to one US citizen who is certainly a terrorist who planned to explode a dirty bomb, the evil we have committed in order to fight Evil is acceptable.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Riverfront Park Pavilion

Walked around Riverfront Park and got some shots of the pavilion. I uploaded the photo to and played around with the effects that are offered for free. Not bad.

Great Kids

On Sunday we stopped by a park in Medical Lake where the Bluegrass Festival was taking place. I took some shots of Josh and Steph. Josh is rarely without his trademark well-worn St Patrick's Day Boston Red Sox cap. They're great kids.

CEO Suicide

A Chinese company executive reportedly committed suicide after toys he made were recalled for having lead in the paint. The Chinese government subsequently cut him off from the lucrative US market, idling his factories. Not that I condone the practice but I was musing that if American CEOs committed suicide after failing, we'd have quite of bit of turnover.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Meteor Shower

The family and I wrapped ourselves in blankets and sat out on the deck to watch the falling stars. It was awesome. In between some very impressive meteors burning through the atmosphere we saw some satellites going by.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Barry Bonds...

...sets a new record by hitting home run number 756. But let's focus on what's important here. Who caught the ball and how much is it worth?

Just Havin' Some Fun

I took Josh and Steph to the driving range to hit some balls. It's funny because we don't play golf.

It didn't matter if the ball went straight, far, or anywhere at all. They had a blast. And it didn't matter that the serious golfers looked down their nose at us. Who cares? We had fun.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Cycling the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes

I dropped the stoker seat down on the Burley so Steph could ride with me.

Josh rode my Trek and Kathy rode her Giant.

We started in Plummer and rode to Harrison and back. It was a beautiful ride.

Crossing the lake on the old railroad bridge was a treat. We saw numerous osprey and a couple of bald eagles. One osprey hit the water right next to us but came up empty taloned.

Along the way we discovered this interesting piece of art along side the lake. Cool!

We found a great ice cream shop in Harrison. A single scoop in a waffle cone costs a little over three bucks. But the waffle cone is packed with ice cream. This was the high point of the ride for the kids. And we needed the energy boost because we had a headwind the entire 15 miles back.

Terrorists Not Welcome at Grand Coulee Dam Visitor Center

Josh and I stopped by the Grand Coulee Dam while returning from Ross Lake. This sign in the parking lot caught my attention. Welcome, but leave your shit in the car. Thank you.

I guess if I was a determined Taliban-Islamofascist-Shiite-Sunni or other of the innumerable possibilities that would be characterized as an Al-Qaeda-type terrorist, I would be a female with a newborn in an explosive-laden child carrier. Come on, it's a visitor center. If they have anti-aircraft missiles they are well hidden. Say, maybe those lasers for the laser show are actually dual purpose.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Ross Lake

Josh and I went to Ross Lake last Wednesday. We canoed six miles along calm waters to our first camp site at Rainbow Point. The mountains surrounding the lake are beautiful. Rainbow Point has three camp sites so we shared the spot with several other people.

The next morning we hiked along the East Bank Trail to May's Creek.

Later the wind kicked up pretty strong and we had to paddle three miles over rough waters to Devil's Junction. The wind, although coming from behind, kept catching the canoe and trying to turn us sideways. Every once in a while a big wave would splash us. It was just a little frightening for both of us. Along the way we stopped in at Devil's Creek. The waters were calm there so we rested and glided up the creek. It was awesome. After a snack we headed back out on the lake and went the last mile to Devil's Junction. It's a single camp site so we had the place to ourselves. The next day we paddled nine miles back. Fortunately the winds were calm so it was an easy three-hour paddle.