Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New year's celebration underway

Dev and Sue got to the rental house last night. They prepped the place; put away the groceries, walked the dogs, found out how all the light switches work. Keith and I drove up after work with all the ski gear. We got in right around 11 pm; I grabbed dinner about 6:30 so we got a late start getting on the road.

We got up late this morning (7:30 am). Motivation to get moving lacked. We walked the dogs. Checked the weather. Looked at snowshoe trails. Consulted the Mt Bachelor website for conditions and snow forecast. Discussed what we want to do.

Basically a nice relaxing start to our New Year's bash 08-09.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Good Surprises

Scott and Ann came to visit last night. Last minute. The called about 2 pm. Got in around 8 pm. We had pizza and beer and wine and scotch and dogwalks and Qwirkle and merriment. It was a great way to spend our last night in town before heading to Bend, Oregon for our annual New Year's bash.

Thanks for coming to visit guys! We had a good time!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Hiking pants aren't biking pants

Sometimes I learn things the hard way. Turns out that rain pants with a full length side zipper will leak at the zipper when the knee stays acutely bent for more than a few minutes.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sometimes 15 is better than 17

I hiked (i.e. rode the bus) over to Dishman pool yesterday so I could get some laps in. It's been a week since I could get to the pool. We've had crazy weather here this last week. Snow piled up. And piled up. And piled up some more. And then Christmas happened. And then I had to work Friday. And before you know it, a full week passes.

So I get back to the pool yesterday. I hopped in and started stroking away; straight into a set of 50 yard laps. I tick off 5 laps leading with my right arm and breathing every stroke. I'm not as efficient as last week, but I'm getting to the deep end and back without stopping. I switch off to breathing to my right side for the next 5 laps. My form is worse on my right side but my swimming feels more relaxed. I switch back to leading with my right arm for 4 more laps and start to get tired. I try for a few more laps on my other side (breathing to the right). I get down the lane and back once but I'm losing steam fast.

I hop out of the water and head for the showers. I figure 15 full laps is twice as many as I managed previously. I also figure that my form is getting sloppier as I get more tired so it's time to call it good for the day. So progress continues.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Winter storm 08 pictures

Here are some pics from the last three days.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Public interventions

I had a short but interesting bus ride home tonight. I'm not sure about my part in the night's festivities, but maybe laying it out will help me sort it.

Macforce sent us all home early tonight (4 pm) after we opened very late today (11 am). I didn't ride my bike because there's a foot of snow on the ground. I didn't drive, because there's a foot of snow on the ground and Dev would have been stranded at home. I didn't have Dev drive me to work because there's a foot of snow on the ground and she has better things to do than schlepp me an hour in to work on deeply snowed-in side roads. So I rode the bus to work. On the way out, Jamie offered to drive me part way. I accepted and saved myself the pain of waiting for the bus in high winds on top of the Hawthorne Bridge.

I walked 5 blocks to the bus stop. I got there just as a bus pulled in; lucky me. The bus was crowded front to back and only standing room left. I squeezed in. A young lady sat to my left and was talking with the women next to her about feeling ill. After about 10 minutes of being on the bus, she called for the trash can. A couple of passengers handed it back to her. She got sick into the trash can. Quickly and quietly. At the next big transition stop (a stop where about one third of the bus debarks and new passengers replace them completely), the young lady hands the trash can back to the bus driver and politely tells her what happens. I was moving toward the back of the bus to make room for the new passengers and heard the young lady talking to the bus driver.

I didn't get far towards the back of the bus though. People were boarding through the back door. The bus driver couldn't see through the crowd. She called for everyone to move toward the back so new passengers could get on. Somewhere around 7 or 8 folks boarded through the back door. Progress towards the back of the bus stalled. The driver called for us to move back again. Someone shouted that people were coming in through the back door. A couple of the people boarding turned around and got back off the bus. One young lady in a brown fake leather jacket and her shorter friend stayed on and made no move to go farther back on the bus.

The young lady who got sick a few moments earlier started squirming her way through the crowd. She was yelling at the people coming on through the back door. Shaming them for causing problems. I don't remember the words so much as the outraged tone of her voice. The rogue passenger in the brown coat said something to her friend and laughed. The young lady who got sick zeroed in on her and yelled some more about being inconsiderate. Two or three more pleasantries were exchanged and then the two girls started throwing punches. After one or two good swings each, they had locked a deathgrip on each other. The girl in the brown coat had a fist-full of the sick girl's hair and the stayed locked head to head and shoulder on shoulder over a couple of passengers.

The lady in the outer seat of the pair onto which the altercants had draped themselves looked very uncomfortable; maybe terrified. She had the blond narrow features I always associate with Poland or the former Eastern Bloc nations of Europe. She squeezed out from under the girls and excused herself. I think I imagined a Slavic accent. Passenger on the bus were getting unsettled. A couple yelled at the fighting girls to act like adults. Some were trying yell at the girls to be reasonable. A couple of passengers said something along the lines of "someone break up the fight" and didn't make a move to get involved. The women banged around a few times. Passengers in the aisle moved as far forward in the bus as they could, streaming past me, which left me on one side and a big dude on the other side containing the girls from bouncing around on more passengers.

A guy in a seat directly in front of the girls started trying to pull the brown jacketed girl's grip free from the other girls hair. One of the girls kept saying "let go of my hair." It was impossible to tell which combatant said it. I started helping the the gentleman pry open the fist holding the hair. The jacketed girl's friend was on the other side saying something vaguely resembling an effort for her friend to be reasonable. Finally we got the two girls apart. The flew back at each other. We accomplished a second separation. The girl in the brown jacket went to throw a punch and I grabbed her hand to stop her. She glared at me and said something to the effect of "You better let go of me!" I let go, not really knowing what else to do. I didn't want her to hit me. And I'm not real keen in getting into a fight with a woman, particularly not in such a public place.

After we got them separated a third time they yelled some more. The girl in the brown jacket and her friend got off the bus. The came back for a broken cell phone and a glove. Then they wandered into the crowd at the transit station. They knew the police had been called, but neither they nor anyone on the bus seemed to think the police would be there anytime soon. After I pointed out the girl to the bus driver, the bus pulled out. We had already been stopped too long and the incident was done.

The guy who had formed the blocker on the other side of the fight said thanks. Two women thanked me for doing something. One looked like she might work fro TriMet. I really didn't feel like I had done anything. I kept extra people from getting hurt. I helped contain the fight but I didn't really help to stop it. I didn't know how to stop it. I felt shaky the rest of the ride home. The dude in the glasses wished the young lady who got sick a better evening. I got off the bus four stops later, still shaky. I told the young lady who had gotten sick that for what it was worth, I appreciated the fact that she had said something about the people coming onto the bus the wrong way. And I told her that I hoped she had a much better evening.

My insides still felt woogy by the time I had tromped through the snow and walked in the door at home. I really don't like conflict. I don't like how my brain seizes and prevents me from thinking of alternative courses of action. And I hate the lack of certainty that I'm doing the right thing; I know that I had to do something, but I didn't know if it was the right thing.

So much for tonight's confessional.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Twenty minus three equal seven fifties?

Lets do the numbers:

Two inches of snow
One bus ride to Dishman Pool
Five laps leading with my right arm and breathing every other stroke
Five laps leading with my left arm and breathing every other stroke
Six laps *with no rest at the deep end* leading with my right arm
Ninety seconds of rest between laps
One lap *with no rest at the deep end* leading with my left arm
One really good day in David's swimming progression


This post from Crooks and Liars is unbelievable.

Here's the video in the post:

Still Snowing

Snowing off and all all week long here. I've literally never seen anything like it. Growing up in Texas involved 5 snow days in my 30 years there. I don't think I got a single snow day while I lived in California. And now a week of snow. It's unfortunate for my swimming this week. Only one day of swimming on Tuesday. Then I skipped Thursday night because I was so sore from the workout at the gym on Wednesday. Mistake. The city pools closed Friday for inclement weather. And now the pool closest to me is closed until the new year for their annual maintenance. [sigh]

I hope Dishman Pool opens today. Lap swim is not until 11 AM.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Off the cute-meter

Eating snow

Snow angel started

Snow angel finished

Another snow cone please!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sometimes 20 isn't 20 either

Twenty laps at the pool last night. I didn't link any fifties together. But I did get some good form and stroke work. At Dev's suggestion, I tried breathing every second stroke instead of every third stroke. So I took a breath every time I stroked with my right hand for instance, instead of alternating sides with my breathing like the classic race swimmer. I got two good things out this exercise.

The breathing-every-two exercise forced me to practice keeping the lead arm extended while breathing and timing the breath so that my lead arm could stay extended. The extended position helps me keep my length up for speed and maintaining a good body position for efficiency. I didn't manage to keep he lead arm out all the time. But I had my arm out way more often than I've managed in the last few months. I alternated arms for 5 or 6 laps and then settled on my better lead arm for the last 5 laps of the night. (My better "lead" arm is my right arm for those of you dying of curiosity.)

I also practiced better breathing technique. Since I got to breath with every stroke, I could breath more shallowly. Since I could breathe more shallowly, I could breathe more quickly. Since I could breathe more quickly, I could keep my "front" arm out front more easily and maintain my velocity better. I even managed to breathe in the little trough that forms from my head pushing through the water. That only happened a few times. I happened often enough for me to start remembering how it feels.

So all in all, I had a good night swimming. I felt efficient. I played with my body position and swim mechanics and I started getting some relaxed strokes going. Twenty *better* laps than the last time I beat water for a thousand yards.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

If only I could swim like this...

Ice is bad for bicycles

When it's on the ground, anyway. Twenty two degrees and no wind with a clear sky means the commute should'a been pleasant. I had enough clothes on that I was warm. My feet needed another pair of socks, but I can solve that tomorrow. I didn't suffer from cold or overheating from my exertions. The streets had been reasonably clear of snow and ice from yesterday. The patches I had been through hadn't affected my traction or balance too much. And then I hit the top of the floating section of the Esplanade. I tracked right just a little too early at the top of the rise and my rear tire slid out from under me. My right knee, my right hip and my pride all bruised in one go. [sigh]

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Coming along swimmingly

I made it to the pool two more times this last week. I got surprised by a swim meet at my normal swimming location (Columbia Pool) on wednesday. It's not like they had signs or the dates called out in their Fall Schedule or anything. So I rode my bike home and got directions for Dishman Pool and drove over there to get 45 minutes of swimming.

I didn't swim very efficiently. I couldn't find my rhythm or efficiency in my stroke. I beat the water for about 14 laps and then called it good. I ran the clock all the way out to closing time. I felt nowhere near as efficient as I had Monday night. Disheartening.

I headed back to Columbia Pool on Friday night. I like Friday nights at the pool. There's only an hour of open swimming but they have 6 open lanes so I generally don't have to share with anyone. I stroked out 15 laps at Columbia and while I never linked a full 50 yards together, I did have a mini breakthrough on my breathing. And I fiddled with some of my posture during the swim. It felt more productive than Wednesday night.

Hopefully I'll see some improvement in distance over the next couple of weeks.

Sometimes Winter Storms come true

Portland newscasters spent the last 48 hours reeling off continued warnings that we would have snow and sleet and ice. And it could get very dangerous on the roads. And shut the city down. And snow. And ice. And danger. It seems that the news here goes through this "winter is coming" drill at least 4 or 5 times a winter and nothing hits the city. The west hills get a dusting of snow. Or the winds blows hard but there's no freezing precipitation.

Well, they got it right this time. We got snow today. And winds and low temperatures. It's snowed off and on since early this morning. Dev and I saw a pickup facing three quarters the wrong way around noon today. The truck had its back wheels on the other lane of traffic. The passenger section rested gently (even comfortably) on the raised concrete median. The front wheel sat on our side of the road divider. The truck didn't seem very chewed up for all that.

We've spent most of the afternoon holed up at home since. We took Cowboy out to the park to play in the snow. Moxie and Boj started the expedition with us but soon turned around declaiming that "We'd never make it across the park and we were mad to try!" Cowboy disregarded their pessimism and create two snow angels for our amusement. We then hurried to join the deserting chihuahuas inside the house. Cowboy sat staring at the snow longingly since.

Monday, December 08, 2008

18 is also less than 20

But 3 is more than zero!

Eighteen 50 yard runs in the pool is what I managed tonight. Which is less than my ostensible 1000 meter per swim night goal. I did, however, get three 50 foot laps without needing to stop at the 25 meter mark. And they were my first laps of the night. I then reeled off 5 more laps where I made it about 40 meters before I completely wound out my wind.

And then Staff Sergeant Evan Smith walked into Columbia Pool.

He works out at Recreate with me and Dev and the crew. And he's in Air Force Reserves. In rescue, or something. Something that involves a lot of swimming and rescuing people. And he wanted someone to swim with outside his Air Force crew. So I stepped up. Evan joined me at the pool tonight after a few missed connections. He gave me some pointers based on what he could see. Then he swam the length of the pool underwater, underneath me to watch my form. So he's a big friggin' show-off to boot ( I kid, I kid!)

Between him and Dev, I'll have some killer form in the next few months!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

17 is less than 20

Back to swimming tonight. And it looks like tomorrow night, too. Good thing swimming is a low impact activity. I had a brief hiatus this month. I last hit the pool on November 18 (also a Tuesday). The Thanksgiving and a lot of madness hit. I got distracted and lazy. So I couldn't capitalize on my performance that night. I got up to 20 laps that night. My flow wasn't great. And my energy and enthusiasm hit a pretty low ebb. But I made 20 laps.

And then I stopped swimming for two weeks.

Good news is that my form is still not too bad. I felt like I swam pretty well. I had two or four lengths where I actually felt efficient and not too out of breath by the time I reached the end of the lane. Bad news is that I could not string any of these good lengths consecutively. [sigh] My left calf near the ankle decided to seize up in a pretty painful cramp, too on lap 17. So I finished the lap and called it good. I'll be back tomorrow night for more.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Turkey Weekend redux

Lots happened!

-Worked out at the gym Thanksgiving day morning

-Had a very tasty Thanksgiving day meal with Zach and Jenna and Reyna and Gavin. And forgot to take ANY pictures

-Fed the dogs some of the turkey giblets. They love us more than ever before.

-Friday morning: hike Dog Mountain with my buddy Dan and some of his friends. And forgot to take ANY pictures

-Had a good burger and tasty pint of Walking Man IPA at the Skamania lodge for lodge. The beer must have been spiked with tryptophan.

-Fell asleep in the back seat on the way home.

-Got home. Did 3 chores. Fell asleep with Dev and the dogs for 2 hours.

-Saturday: Up late. Workout. Chores. Dinner with people from the gym. Chatty cozy dinner. We fit 15 people at a 10 person table. We closed down the joint. Bed at 11:30 pm.

-Sunday: Christmas shopping. Five. Hours. of. pure. shopping. joy.

-Bought some new shoes. My Keens are falling apart on my feet. Went simple and bought a pair of Converse Chuck Taylor low tops.

-Dreading work tomorrow, mainly from the enforced schedule than from the workload.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Old school at school

Locked up to the bike rack at PCC.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tile in kitchen is done

All that's left is the mudroom and all the trim.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Happy birthday Keith!

With your boot of beer!

It could be worse... could be raining. Oh. Wait. It is raining.

What you see above is the result of the newly discovered hole in my rain pants. [sigh]

On the upside, several things went right. Despite pelting rain, my ne rain jacket kept my completely dry on my upper half. And my new rubber boots for winter bike commuting passed their first test. I can, in fact, wear them comfortably for an 8.5 mile commute.

So far so good.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm not Evan

But I feel pretty good about this.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Floor replacement day 2

Got hardy board down in the kitchen. Got it fitted in the mid room.
Now I'm fitting a beer I my stomach.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bold gull

I was two feet away from this bad boy. He just stared back at me.

Cup #4

Yes, Virginia. It's that sort of day.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Slow progress

Did 18 laps in the pool last night. Took a long time. I stuck with it and got there. Almost to 20 laps. Then I start working on doing laps with fewer and shorter breaks between them. Progress is slow, but measurable. Dev was incredibly encouraging about it; she pointed out that a year ago I could not have got 18 laps no matter how long I stayed at the pool and how long I rested on each pool length. Yet another reason I keep her around - my own little cheer leading squad. [grin]

Monday, November 10, 2008

Perfect Storm Monday

4:30 AM get up to drive Dev to airport

6:52 AM wake up and realize that the alarm for 6:20 AM did not, in fact, go off because I changed the time but didn't set the alarm.

7:20 AM Walk dogs in the rain

8:10 AM Get into work late. (Funny how I am late more often when I drive the truck than when I ride my bike)

8:20-something AM Read emails from five co-workers stating that they will not be in to work today because they are sick.

On the up side, a lot of crappy stuff happened really early in the day, so maybe it will balance out (?)

Oh Monday....

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Stomach ache

Waiting to happen...

Yes We Can

I know how the right feels this morning. I felt the same way watching the Reagan landslide back in fourth grade. So I feel for you guys.

But I'm happy with the result.

Yes we can, indeed.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


That's right; a JUG of beer!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New bike report

Four days with the new bike have finished. It feels slow with just 3 gears, but I have a set of wheels with an 8 speed internally geared hub which should take care of the power spread. The seat will be chucked in favor of a Brooks leather saddle. The geometry and handling seem good. And the bike is just fun to ride, if not quite as zippy as my Bianchi.I'm still working my way through all the adjustments and really should have it in at a shop for a basic tune up soon, since it is almost a year old.

Personal Record

I got three (3) 165 pound front squats at the gym on Monday. I felt in control and strong through the set. So I felt pretty good about that.

[big grin]

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New ride

Picked this up used on Friday night. I'm gonna try to turn it into a
winter commuter and general fun bike.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dev refusing to smile

At Lisa and Sean's going away party.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Another contest - this one for a journal

Even though I only jopurnal and write sporadically, I have a bit of a journal fetish. I really like the aesthetics of Moleskine journals. They just have a great feel and weight. The "history" of the journal (augmented for maximum marketing impact) adds to the aura of the brand. But they are expensive.

I started digging around and looking for other brands of journals. And then I found Black Cover.

So I've been following this website for a while now. The guy reviews all the "Moleskine like" pocket journals that he can get his hands on. I get to live vicariously through his reviews. His standards are quite a bit higher than mine, which is good. When he gives high marks to a journal, I know it's pretty dang good. The blog also saves me time in looking for new brands to try.

Well, now he has a contest. I can win a set of journals by posting about the website here on my blog. And I've linked him in the side bar with my followed blogs. That gets me some entries in the contest. But if all of you who read this click through to Black Cover and generate the most number of hits to his website, then I get an extra credit entry in the contest. So get clicking!

And thanks!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fuzzy caterpillar at the dog park

Thought I'd share.

Pictures from last Sunday

Took me a while to post these.

Breakfast to cheer our marathon-running friends Shirley and Sean.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Beating the rain

I got home about 10 minutes ahead of the rain. Funny how the clouds looked static on my ride home. I didn't feel much wind. Then I get home, and I do a couple of things on the computer. I look out the window and the road is soaked. Good (and lucky) timing on my part I guess.

Clouds over west hills

From Willamette blvd

Clouds over the west hills

From Willamette blvd

Clouds to the west

On my way home

Sunday, October 05, 2008

HPL Film Fest wrap up

I had a great time. Instead of a listing of the things I watched, I'll just say that I'm glad I bought a weekend pass and "ate my fill" at the trough. I didn't stay all the way through the end tonight; I got home at 1:30 am this morning. Then Dev and I hosted breakfast for a lot of folks from the gym so we could go cheer Sean and Shirley on their run in the Portland marathon (pics coming soon). I made it through the first session at the film festival today and then just hit the wall. I listened to some good discussion on pop culture and Lovecraft, on Robert E Howard and his Solomon Kane character, and one more spate of comments and funniness from Mike Mignola.

And I won a DVD by knowing some Lovecraft trivia.

So a successful weekend. Now time for pizza, a DVD at home (no, not the one I won) and then the sweet release of sleep.

I won a prize

Re-Animator DVD!

Tiki with John and Jetgirl

Saturday, October 04, 2008

ST Joshi question and answer

Bad light. But that's the man. Good speaker. Easy to see why he's the
authority on H P.

Vendor Hall at HPL Film Fest

Good crowd.

HPL film festival day 2

Lovecraft Film Fest night 1

First, I clearly need more practice mobile blogging.

One post the entire night I'm there.

And no pictures?


So, first up tonight I saw "Hellboy" with an intro and a Q&A session from Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. Funny guy. Good answers to questions posed. Best question of the night: "Did you intentionally use Lovecraft in the mythos for Hellboy?" Answer: "No." Mignola said he scoured creation myths for inspiration. He found one that he hijacked, pruned and face-lifted for Hellboy. Resemblance to Lovecraftian mythos critters is coincidental/subconscious.

Next up, I watched the Shorts Block 2. Uneven quality, but generally entertaining. There were two wholly original pieces and a Poe-inspired film and a music video. The rest of the shorts came pretty much from Lovecraft's writings.

Hopefully more pictures from tomorrow's festival happenings.

Friday, October 03, 2008

At the film fest

Waiting for Mignola to come out for a QA priory to Hellboy. The vendors have a pretty good assortment of Cthuliana. Sighco has some very tempting workshirts and hoodies.

Fall's here




I wasn't ready just yet.....

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Tellin' stories

So I used to be a huge fantasy/sci-fi literature junkie. And one of my favorite authors in the genre is H.P. Lovecraft. I first read him in high school after checking one of his books out of the school library, of all places. I was hooked. His dark universe of implacable and coldly indifferent forces mesmerized me. Reading him led to the first time I had trouble turning the lights off to go to sleep.

I wrote my college thesis on Lovecraft's universe.

While I don't crack the spines very often, I own the hard-bound edition of the complete works of Lovecraft.

And now I live in a city that has a film festival started
in the hope that H.P. Lovecraft would be rightly recognized as a master of gothic horror and his work more faithfully adapted to film and television.

The H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival.

And I just bought a weekend pass for the show. If you're going, then lemme know. If you want to go, lemme know. I'll be there.

Foggy morning commute

Sun breaking through fog onto downtown.

Foggy morning commute

Esplanade in fog.

Foggy morning commute

Steel bridge in the fog.

Foggy morning commute

Broadway bridge disappears into fog.

Foggy morning commute

Highway 405 swallowed by fogbank.

Foggy morning commute

Willamette road

Foggy morning commute

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bullet point update

So no posts of consequence for almost 2 weeks. Here's the skinny, in convenient bullet point format:

*Dev in New York Sept 14th through 17th

*Dev in Chicago Sept 20th through 23rd

*Moxie had (and continues to have diarrhea

*I get bitter when I have to drive in traffic

*"Riding Giants" is a great movie

*"10,000 BC" is a not great movie and is far less not great than my low expectations

*I'm torn between the relaxation of the last couple of weekends just kicking around town and the excitement of hiking/climbing/surfing/adventuring somewhere

*"Hellboy II" met my expectations perfectly.

*I had to work last Saturday (boo)

*I found out last Friday that I had to work last Saturday (hiss)

*I missed a great benchmark workout Saturday morning because I had to work Saturday (grrrr)

*Dev went dancing with the girls from Recreate Fitness on Saturday night

*Dev did not have fun Sunday morning

*I skipped swimming last night because I'm still a little sick from last week, but I'll be working out tonight. Hopefully I'll burn off the last vestiges of whatever this is that afflicts me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Quote from a T-shirt

Adventure is not a race.

Damn skippy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Favorite new blog

You Are Dumb

Just as a warning: if you are offended by foul language, excrementory images, parody of ANY beliefs or if you are a right winger then you should probably not read You Are Dumb. If none of that bothers you, then you will be laughing out loud.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Life More Aquatic

Went swimming last night. I didn't do any flotation drills or balance practice. I just swam freestyle and tried to stay relaxed and control my breathing. My stroke is improving. My breathing is getting better. I still only swim a length at a time but I'm not as out of breath as previously. Next pool visit: Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Crazy Math

I bought my bike just over three and a half years ago when I moved to Portland. I ride it to work almost everyday. I bought it to ride in the AIDS ride in 2005. I put some miles on training for the ride. I've put some miles on riding to work. I put some miles on going to the grocery store and running some errands by bike. And most recently I put some miles on by riding out to the coast for a night of camping.

So I did some rough figuring.
My daily commute is 16 miles, round trip.

(multiply by)
I work five days a week.

(multiply by)
40 work weeks a year (I'm subtracting 12 work weeks for my two week vacation and all the sundry times that I might drive or ride the bus to work)

(multiply by)
For three years.

9600 miles just commuting to work.

Add the AIDS ride (550 miles) plus training rides for the AIDS ride (????) plus my bike camping trip (140 miles) and I've got over 10,000 miles on my bicycle.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

Pictures from Bike Camping

Pictures are here.

I'll write up a trip report later. Short version: it was fun.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Another swimming update

Went to the pool last night. Practiced finding my balance floating on my back. Last time I went, I felt rigid and I kept my back arched too much. Last night I found a relaxed point of float. I found the spot where I could "lay on my lungs" and keep my face out of the water. I didn't find the balance every time. And I got a couple of really good snootfuls of water from other swimmer's wakes. I found the spot enough that I know what relaxed floatation feels like now. I can aim for it. I know when it's right and when I'm not quite there. So I can practice it correctly.

The next drill involves starting on your back and then rotating one side up so that your face is still out of the water, but one shoulder and arm is out of the water. You still aim to lie on your lungs and stay completely relaxed. This exercise is harder than the first. I only managed to get the position once. That one time gives me the "feel" for the position. Now I can aim for that feeling and try to make it effortless and relaxed.

Yay progress!

Gel vs Ball point

I've been using gel pens for day to day note taking. The Pilot G-2. And it's a nice pen. Easy to find replacements when it runs out of ink. I have trouble with the flow rate though. Maybe I don't write longhand enough (being on the computer most of the time and typing most of my written communication). Maybe it's because I'm a lefty. I always seem to write in such a way that the text will smudge or bleed onto the facing page.

So it seems I might be heading back to the ball point pen.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Surfing pictures from this week

Are here.


Vacation days 8 and 9

Garage sale. Woohoo! Yippee!

Garage sales are *awesome*!

Unless it rains on day two of your two day garage sale.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Vacation days 6 and 7


In a word, surfing.

Dev and I woke up way too flippin' early on a vacation day so that we could drive to Cannon Beach by 9:45 am. Mica (our surf instructor) wanted us at the surf shop by a quarter to 10 so we could get loaded and head out by 10 am. She got us set up with suits and boards and had us sign our lives away on the dotted line of the surf waiver. Apparently sunburn is one of the hidden hazards of surfing that the waiver insists you not blame on the surf shop. She led us over to Indian Head Beach at Ecola state park.

We talked about the rip tide at the beach. We practiced our pop up. We went over the basics of surfboard anatomy. Then she led us into the water to start surfing. The water felt warm. For the first time on a visit to the pacific, the water felt warm. Mica guided us through several runs. Dev started getting up and getting a ride almost every time she started out to catch one. I didn't do so well. I sorta flailed through most of the lesson. About noon, Mica left us. She told us to try the other surf break nearby at Short Sands. She said she planned to be out there later in the afternoon and hoped to see us there.

We took a break for lunch by the car. A very bold squirrel marched right up to the picnic table and proed at our cooler bag for points of weakness. We shooed him but he didn't retreat unless we actually moved toward him. He never stole any food from us.

Dev and I debated about going to the other break. We decided to just ride out the rest of the day at Indian Head; we shouldered the boards and marched back to the beach. Dev continued to catch a lot of waves. I switched my lead foot ( I had practiced regular footed, but I ride snowboard goofy footed) and I started getting up a lot more.

We washed up on shore exhausted a few hours later. We crawled back to the truck and drove south to Nehalem state park. The tent went up fast. Dev made burgers. We hung all our wet things to dry overnight. Beer and wine flowed. Gin rummy commenced; Dev lost by a very narrow margin of 30 points. We sacked out.

Next morning (Friday 8/29 for those of you keeping score at home), we met a doe and her two fauns in the middle of the camp ground. I should explain; the Nehalem state park is almost all drive-in camping, yurts and RV camping. Finding a deer and her offspring in the middle of the camp surprised us. The foraging must be good, because I'm used to deer skedaddling at the first sign of a person. Post-deer we loaded up the car and ate at the Pig N' Pancake. Big honkin' pancakes for me; Denver omelette for Dev. Then we needed sunblock. Then we finally made it to the beach at 11 am. Early start hey?

Despite our tardiness, high tide hadn't come in quite yet. e suited up and ignored the light sprinkles and thick fog and headed down to the beach. The water was warm again on Friday; warm meaning that bare hands and feet felt cold in the water but anything covered by neoprene felt comfortable). We started out pretty strong. Dev got some great rides early on. Then she started trying for bigger and bigger waves. These would often knock her of the board before she could pop up. I didn't get so many good rides to start. Once I started choosing more "mushy" waves I started getting up on the board and riding it in to shore. Next up: learning to turn!!!!

We watched a couple of guys who got outside the shore break and rode the bigger waves outside. They looked good. And they looked like they were having a lot of fun. This one guys rode his short board all the way from a big wave outside to a smaller wave on the shore. Looked like he was having a lot of fun.

Dev got to the car and couldn't contain her enthusiasm for our new sport. She was more excited about surfing than I've seen her be about almost anything (except maybe our wedding, but that's hardly in the same league). We were talking about wetsuits and boards and planning the next summer and how to spend time on the coast. I think we can safely say Dev is hooked. And I really had a good time in the water, which is new for me. Just gotta keep working on my swimming so I can be out in the bigger waves and play safe.

Vacation day 5 (part deux)

We spent Wednesday at home. We unpacked our gear. Started some laundry. Did some dishes. Then we started packing for two days at the coast. We grocery shopped. And we situated ourselves to leave the next day.

Then we organized all the extra stuff in our garage for a garage sale. We piled it all in the center of the garage floor; made a price list; set stuff together in little mini-piles.

Then we watched the Democratic National convention and passed out.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Vacation day 5

Vacation day 4

Tuesday started much sunnier and warmer than Monday. Lucy had to jet to work and wished us a safe drive back home before she left. Jason and Cassius led us to the local vegan donut shop, The Mighty O. Now, normally I would expect a vegan organic donut shop to be mediocre and unsatisfying. Let's day that my experience with alternate baked goods has been plagued by failed facsimiles of sweet treats. Not so here. The Mighty O makes tasty donuts; very tasty.

Post donut, Dev and I lounged and primped. Finally we gave Jason some sorely deserved alone time. We headed out for Pikes Place market and wandered through the stacks of hand crafted artsiness. We found an awesome map shop one block up from the market; Metskers Maps. Dev and I lost about 45 minutes there just browsing globes and nautical charts and Moleskine city books.

After taking in our cartographic fill, we swung back to the Greenlake neighborhood to meet Jess for lunch. We caught up; Dev and I hadn't seen him for about 3 years. Good food paired with good company. Jess told some funny stories about his kids. Regrettably, the lunch ended too soon. We started battling our way down I-5 back to Portland. The drive home took more patience than we would have liked, Tacoma and Olympia both did their best to stop us. We survived despite the efforts of the clueless drivers of the northwest rush hour. Arrival home resulted in dog walks, some sort of chicken pasta red sauce last minute whip it up because we didn't want to go to the grocery store dinner that was quite delicious and the last 3 session of the Summer Olympics on the Tivo.

Then bed followed by 8 hours of sleep. (Sensing a theme in the vacation yet?)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Vacation day 3

Dev and I spent a blissful night sleeping on Jason and Lucy's futon. We drove up to Seattle at the end of day 2 (Sunday). Cassius got a little freaked out when he met me. Jason and Lucy got Cassius (a 110 pound rescue German Shepherd) shortly after they moved to Seattle. Cassius is gorgeous and good natured but not well socialized or trained, yet. Jason says that Cassius has made huge strides in his behavior since they got him. He seemed pretty well behaved for most of our visit so clearly the training and treats are doing something to improve Cassius' attitude. Nearest we can figure is that he doesn't like my height, so he gets a little freaked out and starts barking and cowering. Anyway, we went out Sunday night to Duke's Chowder house and had a fabulous dinner catching up with Jason and Lucy.

We slept in until 8 or so Monday morning. Kicked around for a few minutes drinking coffee and chowing breakfast. Before we even got out of bed, we decided to skip the morning workout at Crossfit Seattle. Dev looked at me and we just knew that we didn't feel like jetting to a class that started an hour later. Instead, we tromped over to Best Buy and bought a new digital camera. Our little elph finally gave up the ghost on Saturday. Blue tinting on the LCD screen was followed by no image and no power on the LCD. We did get a nice camera that uses regular AA batteries. We can get rechargeable batteries for our main use and then fall back on store bought batteries on long trips.

Jason took Dev and I out to lunch at a local deli/grocery store. Then Dev and I walked over to Woodland Park Zoo from Jason and Lucy's house. The rain kept a lot of the animals indoors. We still got to see a good number of critters. And the zoo tries hard to make the enclosures look like natural habitats. We dashed from exhibit to exhibit to stay out of the rain as much as possible. The zoo seemed pretty deserted by the tie we left at 6. The rain kept falling pretty hard on the walk home.

Jason and Lucy treated us to homemade pizza and some good white wine for dinner. We watched Michelle Obama speak at the DNC. We chatted about politics for a while. Then we watched "Idiocracy." I'd heard lots of good things about the movie, but really, I wasn't prepared for the cynical goodness of the movie. More chatter followed the movie. And then blessed blessed sleep.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Vacation day 2

Rainier National Park
Scott and Dev and I rose late (8 am) and feasted on eggs and hash
browns and bacon. Sated, we broke camp and cleaned up. Scott jetted
for home on his bike. Dev and I drove over to the day use area. We
hiked out to Glacier Basin and caught a great view of the big boy
himself. We hiked out after enjoying the fantastic view an a small
snack. We caught a little rain on the hike out. It was better for us
than for the group of climbers heading up to Camp Schurman. Good luck
guys! Stay dry!

Friday, August 22, 2008

From Daily Kos - True colors of Tax cut plans

An important article that details who gets tax breaks and who doesn't under the two presidential candidates respective tax plans. Make note of which candidate proposes to tax the rich and cut taxes for the middle class. Notice also that the tax increases in that plan all go to those making more than 600 grand a year. Hmm. I wonder who plans on helping the working class more?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Quote of the day

"Hash browns are the devil. I cannot resist them."
-Scott Neves (my very clever brother)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The eyes have it

I decided to switch back to contact lenses today after 3 or 5 years of glasses. I have finally got tied of the hassle of glasses and I'm willing to try out the hassles of contacts for a while. No more holding a glasses case in one hand and trying to swap out prescription sunglasses for prescription clear glasses when going into a store on a sunny day. No more lenses fogging up on a moderately cold winter hike. No more moving the goggle off my face and scraping the nose piece of my glasses across my face as they go with the goggle when I'm snowboard. No more moving directly next to the whiteboard at the gym so I can read the work out of the day.

No more.

Given my fickle nature, expect to see a retraction or reversal within six month.