Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Youthful Celebration

The young couple pictured above celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary last night. The evening began with an excellent dinner and bottle of wine at Scratch followed by a leisurely walk through Riverfront Park.

They ended up at Gibliano Brothers Dueling Piano Bar & Music House where they may have imbibed, danced, and sang.

The young man may have participated in a music trivia contest, running up to the stage, blurting out the correct answer and returning to his young bride with his energy gummy bear prize. What young man wouldn't go to such lengths for his bride? Surprisingly, the many other young people in the place were not that familiar with the older songs. Who doesn't know Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata?

Pay no attention to any stories, rumors, or other innuendo that may imply, insinuate, or assert the young man's involvement in playing the cowbell while the "brothers" played The Rolling Stones' Brown Sugar. Such calumny will not be dignified with a response.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Hey, Babe!

She wouldn't even look my way.

Children Of The Sun Trail

With the latest part of the North-South Corridor now open I got on my bike ride this morning to check out how the Children of the Sun Trail was coming along since the last time I looked.  
The access point on Farwell Road is still closed but since there's room for a bike, I figured it applied to motorized traffic. Well, that was my planned excuse if anyone said anything.
There's a new access point in Mead at the intersection of Wilson and Chatham. (Chatham becomes 1st as you go east.) This is great because it provides kids in this area with a safe, walkable and bikeable route Farwell Elementary and Northwood Middle Schools.
Further south on the trail, there used to be a horrendous 90-degree turn in which both sides went downhill to the turn. That is now gone and the trail is going to cross a bridge over a new onramp. The path going left takes you down to the remains of Parksmith Road which is now a construction zone. Nobody there showed any concern about an old man on a road bike passing through.
I took an alternate route to get on the southern end of the trail, and passed by Bill Sanders' old place. His sculptures still stand watch.
Here's the opposite view of the new bridge which is off in the distance.
From the construction north of Fairview and then going south past Gerlach it's pretty clear until you get on Freya. The path has been rerouted again but apparently blocked by Republican construction workers.
Going through the Nope blocks you come to another new bridge. It's not ready for traffic yet.
Taking Freya down to just before the roundabout, I had to go through more construction to come around to the other end of the new bridge. Instead of trying to go farther south, I headed back up Market to Parksmith where I got back on the trail.
During my ride I came across six other cyclists who were checking the trail out. This guy and his wife (I assume) were crossing Highway 2. Yes, we are on the wrong side of the Road Closed signs.
The new part north of Farwell and Northwood has been completed and looks pretty good.
Once the trail is completed, it looks like it will be pretty nice. There's connectivity for the schools and the kids in Shady Slope and Mead. And there's connectivity to the stores and businesses at Wandermere. For now the jury is out on the southern end.

I've Been Warned


Yes, I received an email with an AOL address in the From box saying it's from the FBI's Anti-Terrorism and Monetary Crimes Division stating:

We have warned you so many times and you have decided to ignore our e-mails or because you believe we have not been instructed to get you arrested, and today if you fail to respond back to us with the payment then, we would first send a letter to the mayor of the city where you reside and direct them to close your bank account until you have been jailed and all your properties will be confiscated by the fbi. We would also send a letter to the company/agency that you are working for so that they could get you fired until we are through with our investigations because a suspect is not suppose to be working for the government or any private organization.

And if I send some guy in Nigeria $98, my name will be cleared. If not:

Note/ all the crimes agencies have been contacted on this regards and we shall trace and arrest you if you disregard this instructions. You are given a grace today to make the payment for the document after which your failure to do that will attract a maximum arrest and finally you will be appearing in court for act of terrorism, money laundering and drug trafficking charges, so be warned not to try any thing funny because you are been watched.

Gee, I was hoping to try something funny but I don't want Mayor Condon, the mayor of the nearest city to where I reside, to call my bank and close my account until I've been jailed and all my properties confiscated by the fbi.

Back In Time

Work took me to a conference in Los Angeles so I got to enjoy a TSA groping at the airport again. I noticed that, at least at the Spokane airport, you can no longer give the other people going through security that "check out the trampling of my constitutional rights" look. Now you stand with your back to them. My "male assist" had breath that matched his awful looking teeth. But I persevered, held my breath through the halitosis and withstood the indignity of the backs of his hands against my sensitive areas, fingers feeling inside my waist band, and his hands going up to my groin until they met resistance, that resistance being a sensitive area and the amount of resistance being a subjective call on the part of Agent Dragon Breath who got me up on my tippy toes both times. The subsequent hours of travel provided plenty of time for my sensitive area to recover.
Our conference was in a hotel near Beverly Hills so we ended up in a nice part of Los Angeles full of beautiful people dressed in beautiful clothes. On the day I arrived someone was shooting a scene right across the street from my hotel. Celebrity sighting was a big deal for some of the attendees. I just don't get that.
We had terrific weather but you can see that the air isn't as visibly clean as Spokane's. My morning runs got me a lot of looks and a few comments about running barefoot. You'd think that with it being California 'n' all they would be used to strange sights. Maybe more so towards Venice Beach.

I tried keeping up with the news during my absence. I was sad to hear about Clancy's death. He was a good man.

I see our fair congresswoman, Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, and her fellow Republican party members were disappointed by the Supreme Court's ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act. Republicans added 400+ amendments to the original legislation and it's been over two years since its passage, but the only alternative they've managed to come up with is "Not that!" That's quite telling of their lack of concern for the health care of the people they represent.

My return flights were just as comfortable is the ones taking me to LA. Like grandma used to say, "If you don't have anything nice to say...." 
One bit of ridiculousness I enjoyed was United Airline's insistence that only certain boarding groups enter through the Premier entry and all others through the Economy entry. Side by side, they both take you to the same plane, the chief difference being that the Premier side has a small blue carpet to make those Premier customers feel like they're being treated special before they're crammed into the plane like the rest of us. Those in steerage who, whether mistakenly or perhaps wondering what it's like to walk on the special small blue carpet, attempting to enter the wrong way were stopped and sent around. Too funny.

It's great to be back home. Today, Kathy and I mark 32 years of marriage. "Mawage. That bwessed awangement. That dweam within a dweam...."
Ain't that the truth.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

It's Not Always About The Ride

This morning I led a 40-mile ride with the Spokane Bicycle Club. I tend to include a lot of hills in my club rides so the seven other club members who foolishly eagerly showed up had plenty of climbing to suffer through enjoy.
But the best part was after climbing up Greenbluff Road. Fresh donuts at the Harvest House.
That is what Willard was talking about.

Ever So Slightly Disconnected

Last week I wrote our congresswoman, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and expressed my concern about the House-passed transportation bill's lack of bike and pedestrian funding. Yesterday I received this response.
Thank you for contacting me regarding our nation's energy needs? Well, at least she responded.

Friday, June 22, 2012

At Long Last....

...after all these years, I have finally learned where to get the good stuff.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Parkways

Steph and I volunteered for Summer Parkways last night but this time we were at separate locations. My services weren't needed at the quiet intersection I was at and I was moved to a very busy and excellent photo opportunity location - Tekoa and Manito Park. Lots of smiling faces and at least one kind of scary downhill skier.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Stacking The Deck Against Cycling

In last week's Inlander, George Nethercutt touts the benefits of bicycle riding as a means for improving personal health and holds up the Netherlands as an example to follow. Well, to a point, but more on that later. He does offer some very supportive information.

I completed a seven-day cycling trip last month of the Netherlands and parts of Germany. A noticeable aspect of the trip was the startling number of bicycle travelers Holland boasts. Most cities throughout the Netherlands contain some auto parking garages but many bicycle parking garages for commuters, workers and students — huge facilities that house tens of thousands of bicycles. Roadways are filled with cyclists of all ages. Particularly notable were elderly cyclists whizzing along the trail ways of Holland at all hours of the day. Dedicated roadways for bicycling abound. Bicycles are the most common form of transportation for the Dutch, and their statistics show it — low heart-disease rates, low auto-death rates and low physician-per- 1000-population rates. It’s hard to spot an obese Dutchman in a shopping mall or walking on any busy street.

Riding bicycles is good for the human condition, and many Americans would benefit from cycling more and eating less. Disconnecting ourselves from high dependence on the automobile can be therapeutic and healthy — and can impact the obesity problem in America as well as help shape the content of the contentious debate about government health care spending.
With high costs for gasoline and liability insurance for automobiles, it makes economic sense to reduce auto use in favor of the health and financial benefits of bike-riding whenever possible.

In this age of increasing dependency on government, Americans have the opportunity to be more independent regarding their own health care needs.

Wait, what? Who's increased dependency on government? As the New York Times brought up last year:

Cars enjoy huge direct subsidies in the form of road construction and public parking spaces, as well as indirect subsidies to the oil industry that provides their fuel. These subsidies far exceed the tax revenue generated by car use.

They also pointed out that as of 2010, federal spending on bike and pedestrian infrastructure amounted to less than $4 per person.

Mr Nethercutt led his column off with this statement:

With its enviable waistlines (and lifespans) Holland's two-wheel culture is something America should emulate.

In 2010, the Netherlands spent $30 per person for their bike and pedestrian infrastructure. As Mr Nethercutt saw for himself, the difference is dramatic and the contrast with America is striking. The reason for the great difference is not that the Dutch decided to ride bikes to keep from becoming obese. It's because about forty years ago the Dutch decided to make their country bike friendly. And they reap the benefits in many ways, public health being one of them.
And us? Not only are we far behind in funding, we may head off in the wrong direction. The Republican-controlled House is intent on removing funding for bike and pedestrian transportation, eliminating Safe Routes to School, and using the bill to approve the Keystone tar sands pipeline and limit regulation of coal ash.

But riding a bike is still good for you even if you ride just to spite Congress.

Summer Parkways On Wednesday Evening

Wednesday evening brings us the second Summer Parkways event, this time connecting Manito and Comstock Parks. Last year's event in this neighborhood was very well received and attended. Many of the residents along the route participated as well. There were lemonade stands, picnics in the front yard, and fun things to do along the way.
Like jumping rope, for example. Steph and I have volunteered to work this event, too. I'll be taking pictures and posting them on Facebook.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Games

What an enjoyable and relaxing day we had. After the family consumed most of the ribs for lunch, I took a well-deserved nap. Fresh and invigorated, I played the kids a game of RoboRally in which I dominated. (I swear they did not let me win.)
Then Kathy joined us for a couple hours of Mexican Train dominoes. She squeaked out a five-point win. Nice job!  
Steph was goofing with the pennies we were using for markers. The top photo is mine. The bottom one is hers.

Father's Day Morning

After getting the baby back ribs started on their slow-cook adventure and with the entire family--Geoff is home for the weekend!--still asleep, I took the camera outside to see what would catch my eye.
Before the explosion. 
 Jigsaw puzzle material.
 Then this bee showed up.
Bees are not camera shy but they are very difficult to shoot. They don't hold still for very long, if at all. They quickly move from flower to flower in the most random impossible-to-follow-or-anticipate path. But I got a few lucky shots.
I see you!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Floating The Spokane River

I had some errands to run this morning  and used that as an excuse to take the Elephant out for a mix of roads and trails. While crossing the Sandifur Bridge I saw some rafters coming down the river.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Chip Off The Old Block

Guess who passed her driving test and got her license today?
And just like her dad did about thirty-eight years ago, she got the minimum passing score possible.

Street Music Week 2012

There was something for everyone.