Saturday, December 29, 2007
I explored the trails at Holmberg Park this morning. What a workout. The paths had compressed snow from hikers and were 6-12 inches wide which meant I swerved into the deep snow quite often. I rode back and forth on the trails for an hour. There are some trails that are quite steep. I avoided them but I may go back in the summer when it's much more navigable. The studded tires performed well. Going uphill was a challenge because the rear wheel would spin out. I found I could power out of that situation most of the time, hence the great workout. I kept the bike in 2nd gear the entire time. I found that gear with a 90-120 cadence kept me in motion well enough and allowed me to really hammer the pedals when I needed to.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.
An excerpt from the Department of Homeland Security web site:
"While there continues to be no credible information at this time warning of an imminent threat to the homeland, the department's strategic threat perspective is that we are in a period of increased risk. All Americans should continue to be vigilant, take notice of their surroundings, and report suspicious items or activities to local authorities immediately."
Our National Threat Advisory has been elevated since its inception and has only bumped up from Elevated (yellow) to High (orange) once or twice. We have a separate and higher threat advisory for just domestic and international flights. And all while there continues to be no credible information. How are we supposed to deal with that besides remaining incredibly frightened?
About once every 100 million years an asteroid hits Earth and wipes everything out. The last one hit about 60 million years ago. Holy shit! Do you realize our Death from Unknown Masses, Bodies, Asteroids and Spherical Structures threat advisory is elevated? Please join me in getting a hard hat and binoculars and vigilantly watching the skies for suspicious signs of big frickin' asteroids headed our way. Then we call the local authorities. And if they call us "dumbass", we'll be comforted in knowing that they know exactly what we're talking about.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Kids Say the Funniest Things (The hazards of surfing)
'Tis The season
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Homemade Studded Bike Tires
Using directions I found on an Edmonton bike club site a few years ago, I made my own studded tires using sheet metal screws and a couple of old tires. They look pretty wicked. I used an old tube as a liner to protect the tube with the air from the screw heads. If you use a tube that contains the goo for sealing flats you have a pretty disgusting mess to clean up.
Since we have enough snow I thought I give 'em a spin. They worked pretty good. Got a great workout just going down to the store to get a gallon of milk--surprisingly more in the upper body than I expected. You're not getting anywhere quickly and you have to go easy on the front brake. The tires hold very well on ice and fresh snow, especially fresh snow on grass. The biggest challenge was loose, crushed snow. The front tire moved side to side from irregularly displaced snow. The back tire spun every once in a while. Overall, it was pretty manageable and very enjoyable. I hope to get a longer ride in tomorrow.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Random Bizarre Thoughts
What you don't know won't hurt you. I guess I live a painless life.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Head and Heart
A fascinating history of our religious roots and the path we have taken as a nation. One bit of irony that struck me. The predecessors of today's Baptists were persecuted for their faith by the very Christians today's Baptists claim founded this nation as a Christian one. You can read more about the book here.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
I've seen this car parked in various places downtown for a little over a week now. There's never any time on the parking meter. And there's never a parking ticket on the dash. An exercise in futility perhaps? The car is so packed with newspapers and "stuff" that the only place you can sit--not that I'd want to--is in the driver's seat. No shortage of unusual sights in Spokane.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Anti-Abortion "Movement" in Spokane?
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
The Patriot's Dream
I found a record a couple years ago that included a song entitled "The Patriot's Dream" by Arlo Guthrie. I never heard the song before--the 70's are such a blur--but I find it poignant, especially in our current times. I put images of the Iraq war together with the song. Be warned. This contains some very graphic images.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
A Well Developed Bedside Manner
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Last Day of Pool
The days of summer are waning and the weather is cooling off. So I heated the pool until the water got to 85 degrees and Josh and Steph had their cousins Trevor and Parker over for the last day of pool. What a bunch of fun-loving, goofy kids. I burned some burgers and dogs and we had a great afternoon.
Lost in Spokane
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
The Last Report OnThe Miracles At Little No Horse
A wonderfully complex story. I especially appreciated the character Nanapush; his wit, wisdom, and a remarkably and unusually humorous story of his death. The switching between Agnes and Father Damien was confusing, but I guess that would be expected of a woman in a man's role. Her spiritual life is a mixture of religion, secrets, sex, deception and humor. Nanapush's use of Father Damien's secret just to win a chess game speaks volumes about his character.
And then what better revenge (and insurance?) for an Ojibwe as that of Fleur Pillager patiently working her way into the life of the man responsible for exploiting the people of the reservation, becoming his wife, leaving him after getting pregnant, and forcing his child to be born and raised on the reservation.
Well, There's Yer Problem...
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.
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.
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
Thursday, August 23, 2007
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?
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Saturday, August 18, 2007
A Freethinker's Lament
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
A Travesty of our Justice System
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Riverfront Park Pavilion
Walked around Riverfront Park and got some shots of the pavilion. I uploaded the photo to www.picnik.com and played around with the effects that are offered for free. Not bad.
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.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
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
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
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
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.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Go to a crowded marketplace
And martyr myself.
All in the name of God.
I demonize all who oppose me
And claim to fight against Evil.
Thousands of deaths
All in the name of God.
I separate them from us
And make their life miserable
For they must be punished.
All in the name of God.
I seek war in the Promised Land.
Christ will return to save us
And Evil will be defeated.
All in the name of God.
I fire rockets at unbelievers
Sending them to a fiery Hell
That is rightfully theirs.
All in the name of God.
Come, let us all share in God's love.
An admittedly dark poem on extreme faith.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Bush's Use of Crippled GIs
A Thousand Splendid Suns
A story full of sadness and tragedy well inter weaved with historical facts. There's still a happy ending but you wish for so much more.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Impeach 'Em All
Yesterday I reinstalled the management software and this morning I noticed that the switches needed a software upgrade. Not only that, but I had the capability to schedule the upgrade after hours so nobody's work would be affected. Whoo-hoo! I scheduled five of the switches to upgrade at ten minute intervals beginning at 7:15 pm tonight. One of the switches then went "red" in the display and was offline. It had updated its software and rebooted. Ten minutes later another switch did the same thing. Ten minutes later a third switch followed suit. Each one knocked anywhere from 20-40 people off the network. So I scrambled around and hurriedly explained to everyone what I had done.
Hmmm, I wonder if it would have gone better if I had read the manual first.
Bomb, Bomb, Bomb. Bomb, Bomb Iran.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
It's True If It's On The Internet
http://www.xkcd.org/250/ Don't forgot to view the mouseover.
Would You Like to Bureaucratize That?
I work in a federal building in downtown Spokane. Recently I went to the General Services Administration office to get the key to a phone closet that houses a backup server that had crashed. There are two customer service counters in the office. Nobody was behind either one. The far counter had a sign next to a bell that said to ring the bell for customer service. A woman sitting at a computer in a cubicle behind the counter looked at me when I walked in and then went back to her computer screen. I could hear voices in the back so I assumed the person at the front desk had stepped into the back for something and would return shortly. After a minute passed I didn't think anyone was returning shortly. I looked at the woman who saw me come in and then I looked at the bell. I thought, "No, this is not going to happen. Someone is going to help me any second now." Another minute passed. Defeated, I walked over to the other counter and rang the bell. The woman behind the computer immediately jumped up, "Can I help you?" Pavlov must be in charge of their training.
Oh, The Glory Days
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Religious Harry Potter Fan
Today during Mass at the Fairchild Chapel a young woman in one of the back pews read the latest Harry Potter book. I forgot to see if she took the book with her when she went up for communion.
Wildlife abounds and I take pictures of trees.
A dragon? A warthog? Every time I stopped to take a photo the mosquitoes reminded me that I forgot the Deet. Two of the bloodsuckers got me so I guess I got off lucky.
But I love the texture and contrast.
Okay, here's some wildlife. I walked for about an hour and a half. The boots felt good but my right heel started feeling tender. No blisters. Next time I'll try the Body Glide. Next time I'll wear the Deet. Next time I'll wear a hat. Oh what an outdoorsman I am!
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Creationism and Evolution
The contributor was the Reverend Stan Hudson of the Moscow/Pullman Seventh-Day Adventist churches. In the article he claims evolution states there is no god. But since he's framing evolution as a religion that's an understandable claim to make. He even described Charles Darwin as a founding prophet. And better yet:
If you were to go to the Field Museum in Chicago, you would see a bust of Darwin, with a first-edition "Origin of Species" reverently displayed beneath him (as "The Word").
I didn't know. Well, I guess it's time for a pilgrimage.