Sunday, December 04, 2011

It's Good

Simone woke up early this morning and called out for me.  When I came into her room she wanted help blowing her nose and then asked if I could snuggle.  As I snuggled in next to her she said, "It's good to snuggle in the morning."

It certainly is.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


So we're at the beach for Thanksgiving.  Mary, Simone and I drove through Astoria because 101 is flooded just south of Seaside.  The road is flooded because there was a crazy storm happening, winds up to 60mph (seemed like 80, but what do I know).

We woke up (I use that term loosely, I slept in until 8:30) and then decided to have some breakfast.  Oatmeal porridge was on the menu, but for some reason Mary pulled down a package of marshmallows, and she said the word "marshmallow."

Of course Simone heard this and came into the kitchen asking about them, face very bright and excited.  There were two bags.  One of the ridiculously over-sized large marshmallows - large enough that you need a graham cracker the size of a piece of sandwich bread to match.  The other bag was the regular size marshmallow.  Simone told us how the big ones make her sick and she'll "never eat those again" ("never" and "always" are popular terms right now, everything is absolute).  However, she did want one of the regular-sized ones.

She had 3 marshmallows, very excited about each one - I should have gotten it on video.

We did actually eat oatmeal after than, and then I high-tailed it to McMennemin's to put in half a day of work, leaving Mary to hang out with Simone hopped up on sugar.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Riding With Simone To School

Simone and I rode to school today.
Yup, she's in kindergarten at the big Waldorf school, it's her second full week.
We woke up this morning, had breakfast (hens in pens), dressed up nice and warm, hopped on our bike and road the 6 miles or so to school. It was super foggy in parts - I meant to take a photo of some trees in the fog, but I wanted to be to sure to get to school on time.
We got there in plenty of time, being the second kid in the class to walk in.
Simone peeled off her many layers, kissed me goodbye and she was off.
It felt great to ride her to school, and I hope to do it a few more times before the rain sets in.
I took a slightly longer way home, riding along Walnut/53rd, and I did take the time to snap a photo of the sun shining through the oak trees. I was on a bit of a hill here, and was just barely out of the fog, about 2 minutes later I was back in the thick of things.
I do love the fall weather - let's hope it sticks around for a while longer.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

If Only "The Onion" Reported Real News...

I didn't read/follow much of the 9/11 navel-gazing that happened, but I saw that The Onion wrote a piece and thought I'd check it out. It's worth a read (it's really more sad/ironic than funny).

U.S. Commemorates 9/11 By Toasting Stable Afghan Government From Top Of Freedom Tower | The Onion - America's Finest News Source
NEW YORK—In a moving and beautiful ceremony held atop Lower Manhattan's gleaming, 120-story-tall Freedom Tower, the nation commemorated the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by raising a glass to the stable democracy of Afghanistan and to a decade of unprecedented peace and prosperity across the globe.

Monday, September 05, 2011

A sobering/depressing read

Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult:
"If Republicans have perfected a new form of politics that is successful electorally at the same time that it unleashes major policy disasters, it means twilight both for the democratic process and America's status as the world's leading power."
He heaps a lot of blame on the Republicans and (more or less) discounts the Democrats as incompetent. I think I'd disagree with that statement about the Democrats - I think they're basically in cahoots with the Republicans. This isn't Gilligan's Island, the Dems are professional politicians - they know what they're doing, they know who butters their bread - it's the same as who butters the GOP's bread - large corporate interests...

I do have half a mind to take Mary up on her occasional, "we should move to another country..." thought.

Wouldn't that shock people.

Farm to Farm - a ride for me

Mary noticed a bike ride coming up, the Farm to Farm.  It totally has my name written all over it.  A ride through the countryside, with 4 stops along the way at farms with fresh food, ending with a meal made from the ingredients from the farms.  Woo-hoo!

I'm in.  Anyone else?

Studying Obesity

(From the archives, a post started in January 2011 but never finished)

Today I saw two articles. The first was in our Friday paper: "OSU wins $5 million grant for rural childhood obesity research", and the second was a blog post "The American Fast Food Syndrome". Oh, and I heard a story on the radio last night, "Overburdened Food Banks Can't Say No To Junk."

It got me to thinking about obesity again, and wondering how much money will we throw at studying this problem and how much time (lives) will we waste?

The OSU research has a goal of "improv[ing] the fitness level and reduce the body mass index of rural children, ages 5 to 8." That's a great goal, and you do need specific goals in order to win research money. Which are you more likely to give money to, a study with the goal, "make people happier" or one whose goal is "decrease incidence of days of depression in 20-25 year olds"?

We, in the U.S., seem to like to research the hell out of things and not do anything about it. How many diet/lifestyle studies do we need to do?

It's clear that if we feed ourselves too much food, and crummy food at that, we're going to get fat.  The government heavily subsidizes corn/soy/wheat/sugar and that gets turned into cheap junk food.

Biking and a Hike

We found a trail-a-bike (tag-a-long) on Craig's List yesterday and I picked it up today.  We should have gotten one in the beginning of the summer...  oh well.

We hooked it up and Simone and I went riding off into the summer day.  She had a blast, and so did I.  Simone  felt very confident on the bike (after the initial 30 seconds of "I'm tired"), and about half way into our ride she was pedaling enough that I could feel the help.  I'd occasionally stop pedaling (on request) so she could be the one to make us go, and I'd do all the steering.

We went through Avery park, to Noah's house (he wasn't there), and then on to Bohdie's (he was, we chatted for a few minutes), and then we came back through Avery park to see the big train engine there.  All in all, we covered nearly 8 miles, and Simone would have easily gone another 4 (she was asking to go further).

Instead we came home to connect with Mary, who was hanging out at home recovering from her first half-marathon.  Yay Mary!  She did it with Tracy (Bohdie's mother), so the papas and the kids rolled down a little later to catch the mamas as they crossed the finish line.  Tracy finished 49th out of the 1000 - running way fast (about 1h45m).  Simone and I walked them back to their car and made it back to the finish line a few minutes before Mary crossed - so we cheered her on.

Anyway, we came home from the bike ride to tell Mary all about it, and then headed out to Alsea Falls for a little hike and to cool our feed in the water.  We rarely go out there, and I don't know why - it's lovely.  We crossed over the creek and headed down the trail to where it got a little slippery.  But we made it down to the water and hung out in the bottom of the gorge on big rocks, wading in the water, feeling as though we had the entire forest to ourselves.

A wonderful labor day to finish a great weekend.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

It Begins

Today was my first meeting at Weight Watchers.  I weighed in at 263.8 pounds (socks, shorts, t-shirt), and I've got my goals set.

The leader (Sandy) is energetic and pretty entertaining (though she reminds me a little bit of my mom...)

Here's to reaching some new goals and staying there.  The medium-term goal is 235 pounds, but first I've gotta lose 5 pounds (you get a gold star! - it's just like kindergarten)...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

An Adventure

We woke up this morning and figured we'd try something new, and adventure perhaps. So, after a rousing game of bananagrams,
Mary made one of our favorite breakfasts, sunny-side-up eggs over a bed of wilted spinach. yum! We then piled into the car
and headed off for a little hike just outside of Lincoln City called Drift Creek Falls. We'd never been there before and it sounded neat. The last 10 miles of the drive there were through a narrow, winding road, and it seemed as though we were going into the middle of nowhere. But, when we arrived, there was a huge paved parking area with space for 20 cars, most of which were filled. We parked, hopped out, and headed down the path. The trail is very gentle, mostly following a ridge down to a little creek at the bottom. You walk through a variety of sunny forest with lots of vegetation, and darker forest along a steeper portion of the hill.
After getting to the bottom, we had a snack next to the stream:

Drift Creek from Trey Jackson on Vimeo.

We crossed the stream, walked through some nice old growth forest
and then came to a neat suspension bridge over a surprisingly large gorge (very little water seemed to flow through it)
We then hiked down to the bottom to dip our feet in (Simone came fully prepared with water wings)
The hike back out was almost as nice - a little busier, and uphill of course. Simone did find one little fairy chair to sit in on the way out.
After the nice hike, we drove into Lincoln City and found lunch at a wonderful cafe named Blackfish Cafe. The fish and chips was awesome, Mary's fish tacos were delicious - almost as good as her glass of wine. And the hostess said dinner was even better (reservations recommended). The fog rolled in, and Mary and Simone started to fall asleep, so I pulled into Agate Beach (a childhood favorite of Mary's) and we played in the sand there for an hour. There are sand dunes all over the beach, ranging from 2 feet tall to nearly 6 feet. Much fun for climbing, sliding, jumping and the occasional tackle.
We finished the day with a light dinner at Mo's, some ice cream (and brownie!!!) for dessert and then headed home.
A very good day indeed.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Camping In Her Room

Last night Simone camped in her room, it was very exciting.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I went to the eye doctor about a month ago. It'd been... 6 years? Something like that.

My contacts were beginning to bother me, which, it turns out, is expected because the lifetime of gas permeable lenses is 5 years. Oh, and the fcsking cleaning product tells you to clean it in a way that warps the lenses.

So I go and get some soft contacts. I like the gas permeable, but they shape your eyes a little bit. And that's a problem if you want to get LASIK. So I'm in soft lenses, and my eyes are slowly changing shape - reverting to whatever their "natural" shape is.

It's been 5 weeks and my eyes are settling down pretty well. With my next set I should have 20/10 vision.

For Fox Sake

I've been debating with a guy about a variety of things, he's arguing from the standard GOP talking points.

I've come to the conclusion (broad generalization coming) people like him live in a constant state of fear: fear of Marxists/communists trying to subvert the government, and fear of the global Muslim jihad. It's not a grip of fear that controls every aspect of life, but a constant fear nonetheless.

Another theme also seems to be that the liberal media is just not giving their viewpoint the time it deserves. If the rest of us (non-Republicans) just knew what they (Republicans) know...

While I don't think Comedy Central is necessarily the place to look for objective reporting. I do think this recent Daily Show segment sums up how I felt during the debate very nicely:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Oh, for Fox Sake
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Plus, there's the classic Stephen Colbert quote, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Climbing Through The Eyes Of A Five Year Old

Simone drew some pictures of Sam and I climbing Mt. Hood. I think they're great.

The first is just the two of us on the mountain.

But, as the second drawing shows, as Sam and I reached the summit, a blizzard began.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Horror

We babysat a monster this weekend, reminiscent of Jack Torrence in The Shining.

Words can not describe the horror, I'll let the photo speak for itself.

Note: she got along swell with both Jupiter and Hazel - actually chasing Hazel around.

Friday, June 10, 2011


So, I've been debating/arguing with a guy on facebook. He's someone I knew at Intel, and also works at Mentor too.

He initially commented on my status about Osama Bin Laden:

Note: Obama said "justice has been done" - and that pretty much sums it up. U.S.A. where we either hold you indefinitely without charge, ore we kill you without trial. You're either with us, or you're against us. And you'd better hope you fall on the right side of that line b/c there's no recourse if you don't.

And we began a discussion. It turns out he's more of a GOP/Tea Party/Fox News kind of guy, and I'm obviously not.

I've been hoping to learn something about the way folks with his view point think. I figured, he's a highly paid engineer, he must have somewhat an analytical mind, maybe he can shed some light on the views I clearly don't understand.

Clearly I was wrong. It's almost as though we were speaking two different languages. I'm certain he's making absolutely no credible arguments, and he's probably thinking the same of me. At one point I mentioned that he was throwing around wild accusations without any proof, kind of like Glenn Beck. And this guy said that he loves Glenn Beck.

I've found some value in the discussion - I've certainly looked into some of the things I believe in a little closer, and found them to hold up pretty well. I've also read most of the links he's sent my way, and I feel comfortable saying that (for the most part), they are a series of diatribes about people with barely any connection to reality.

One of the threads is about George Soros - it started with a post of his pointing to an article showing how Soros has given a bunch of money to journalist schools and organizations. I had heard the name Soros a couple times but didn't know anything about him. I posted that the Koch brothers spend lots of money and asked what the difference was. Turns out, Soros is evidently a Marxist (whatever he wants that to mean), along with Obama, and he's undermining the country. It took an untold number of posts for him to actually point out something that Soros has done that could be interpreted as undermining the country. And, of course, the two things that were "undermining" seemed either very loosely connected (friend of a friend kind of relationship), or weren't very malevolent.

Long story short, my foray into arguing with someone from the right hasn't given me much of a basis to understand their side. So far, it just seems to be a bunch of fear mongering, vague accusations w/little to no evidence, conspiracy theories and name calling.

Oooh, some more responses. Back to the battle.


I climbed Mt. Hood with Sam Wednesday night.

We'd wanted to climb last year, but the weather never cooperated. This year things looked better, and the weather opened up nicely this week. We'd planned on climbing Thursday night, but things looked good a day early, so we pulled the trigger and went up early.

You can read Sam's riveting account, and check out the pictures he took.

We took a nap at his place, but both woke up after less than an hour, which was a little disappointing. I packed up a bunch of things I borrowed from Sam, the gear hound, and we headed up the mountain shortly after two guys Sam knows showed up.

It was raining a tiny bit as we drove up the mountain, and rain just turned to fog as we turned off to Timberline and continued driving up.

I put my old school leather boots on while Sam put on his fancy boots with integrated gaitors, and we began the trek.

We started in the clouds, quickly stripping off layers because it was pretty warm. After about an hour of hiking up we started to come out of the clouds. The moon was half full and kicked off enough light that I didn't use my headlamp until it set, an hour later. The clouds were a dark gray, and looked like the fake clouds you saw in the movie Airplane - but they were very real. There were even a few shooting stars.

We got to the top of the Palmer lift after about two hours where we took our first big break to eat and drink. The pace was good, the snow was even better.

Sam had been feeling a little ill before we left his house, some stomach cramps, but he was climbing stronger than the rest of us. I was feeling a little winded but fairly good - all my hill climbs were paying off.

Sam pointed out Illumination rock to the west, which you could barely see silhouetted against the horizon. I then looked to the east and saw a an even larger face of rock and snow (don't know its name) looming over us.

The snow got steeper and the going got a little tougher. We found some steps people had already kicked in, but they disappeared as we passed some tents where folks were camped out. At that point we had to make our own steps, and it was steep enough that it was difficult walk with your heel on the ground. Sam kept the pace up, but I caught up when he slowed down on the ascent of the Hogs Back. The snow got a bit soft and it took us a little longer than we expected, and we were happy to reach the saddle for our second rest, some food, water, extra clothes, and crampons.

Sam roped us up and headed up the saddle, and I waited for the slack to get out and then followed him up. Other people were starting to climbing up the Hogs Back.

This last push was definitely the most strenuous. I took several rests on the way up - the calves were pretty tired from standing on my toes for an hour. Sam kept making sure I was doing OK, but kept lying about how close we were to the top.

One couple caught up to me but decided to go up a different chute than what Sam had chosen. We saw them about 40 minutes later to find out the chute was a dead end and they had to back track. This was important because...

Sam and I reached the summit first. boo-yah!

We were up there before everyone else and in time to watch the sun rise.

Sam broke out the cocoa (made from half and half, wow that was good) and we relaxed for a short bit. I don't know that I appreciated it enough, but it was pretty amazing to have reached the tallest point in Oregon. And to think, 25 years earlier, dad and I did the same thing.

We started climbing down as bunches of people started up. Sam and I talked and I decided to go down un-roped. I felt pretty solid going down the steepest part - the foot holes had been enlarged by all the other people coming up and I just took my time. The worst part was that my toes started getting cold and my hand got cold holding onto the ice ax head I put into the snow.

We made it to the hogs back, snacked, and headed further down. After we got to a not-so-scary-steep part of the mountain, we slid the next 3 miles down the mountain, only having to walk the last 1/2 mile or so, making a quick exit.

I put up some of my photos here.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

NBA Finals and Mary

The first game of the NBA finals were tonight, I told Mary that the Heat won. She remembered that there was talk about a group of guys going to the team. Then I told her the other team was the Mavericks, and her response:

"With that short guy .... Spud?"

June 1, 2011: Edited to say the Heat won.

Memorial Day

We did a bunch of yard work over the weekend, and the weather cooperated beautifully.

But it wasn't all work, Simone got to hold a new bunny (who fell asleep in her lap):

Simone's Birthday

It was a very busy day.

We started off with some Swedish pancakes filled with blueberry compote, and candles of course.

Then it was time to dress in white for preschool.

At preschool we had a little puppet play showing how Simone came to be with us, we said some of the things we remembered about Simone each of her first five years. As a part of the celebration, Simone got to wear the birthday crown and the birthday fairy wings.

The grandparents all came for the show as well.

Then it was back to the house for a yummy lunch and presents.

Mary made a doll (named Lilla by Simone) which has become a new bedtime partner.

Here's a closeup of Lila, and she has the felted doll of Simone that Christine Waters made for Simone.

At bedtime, Simone snuggled up with Lilla and Daisy, and we read stories and began learning a new nighttime saying.

All in all, a fantastic day.

Monday, May 30, 2011


I made Simone a tent for her birthday, here's the one photo I took of it:

All in all, it looks pretty good. Mary gave me the link that showed me how to do it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Time To Mow

It's been a while...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Last Day @ 4

Simone turns 5 tomorrow (5am if I recall).

One thing we've done for most of her 5th year (yah, her 5th year) was running hugs.

She'll tell me to stand in just the right spot. I crouch down with my arms open wide. I have to have my mouth open, in a big gape. If I don't, she reminds me.

She goes to the other side of the room, puts her arms out wide, opens her mouth open wide, and runs full speed at me, slowing to swerve around any objects in the way.

At full-tilt, she collides with me and we both fall down giggling.

It looks like a slow-motion fight scene where the two guys are screaming at each other. Only it's Simone and me and it's nothing but love.

I hope they continue when she's 5.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


"Lemonade is one of the colors of the sunset!"

We squeezed two oranges into a can of frozen lemonade, mixed it up, and drank our fill using straws.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bedtime and Books

I just went into Simone's room b/c she was calling out for a little attention - it'd been an hour since I finished reading/singing and saying goodnight.

Her room is pretty dark, the sun has been down for a little while, but she has around 8 books on her bed. I start picking them up, telling her, "I'll put them right here beside your bed."

"But I want to read them in the morning."

"Yeah, they'll be right next to your bed in the morning."

I then look at her and notice she still has her eye mask on. So I ask, "How can you read with your eye mask on?"

Giggling, she responds, "I don't know. "

Silly girl.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gee... thanks Senate

If you read the headlines, "Senators Grill Phone Execs On Mobile Privacy", you might think they care about the privacy of the citizens.

Yet my first thought is, where were the investigations into AT&T's illegal behavior of handing over personal data to the NSA? (phone calls, emails, web browsing, etc.) Oh, right, all the companies involved in tapping our phones were granted immunity.

Way to look out for the citizenry.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

OBL is dead...

So we killed Osama Bin Laden over two weeks ago, and I thought I'd write down some thoughts. I recall exactly my position about invading Iraq (against), but don't remember where I stood with Afghanistan (would like to think I was against, but that could just be wishful thinking).

I saw the news that OBL was dead when I came out of Simone's bedroom. The images were on the TV and the closed caption said he'd been killed. My first feeling was a little stronger than "meh", but not a lot - it was probably a combination of "meh" and relief.

I did see that President Obama said that "justice has been done". That struck me as odd. I would have expected that "justice" would have meant bringing him back to the U.S. and trying him for crimes, or heck, trying him for crimes in any of a dozen countries where he was wanted on terrorism. Instead, our form of justice was to just out-and-out kill him, old west style.

I'm not sorry he's dead, I'll certainly lose no sleep over it. My problem with what Obama said was that it continues the "us versus them" and the "you're with us or you're against us" mentality that the U.S. has in its foreign policy.

Since 9/11/2001 we have invaded 2 Muslim countries and bombed another 3 (Pakistan, Libya, Yemen), and that just seems wrong.

We continue to pursue an aggressive military "solution" to the "war on terror" when both DARPA and the former head of the CIA's task force to find Osama Bin Laden (Michael Scheuer) agree that:

1. "The threat to the U.S. arises from Muslims plausible perception that the things they most love andvalue - God, Islam, their brethren, and Muslim lands - are beign attacked by America." (Michael Scheuer)

2. "policing and intelligence, rather than military force, should form the backbone of U.S. efforts against al Qa'ida. And U.S. policymakers should end the use of the phrase 'war on terrorism' since there is no battlefield solution to defeating al Qa'ida." How Terrorist Groups End

So, the Department of Defence and the CIA both recognize that our current approach is the wrong one, yet we continue ahead full-steam.

I'm frustrated at the Obama administration for not closing Gitmo (where only 40 of the original 700+ people have enough evidence against them to even go to court), I'm frustrated at our abandonment of the Nuremberg Principles (starting with W), Obama doing a 180 on signing statements/declaring war, militarizing the CIA, attacking government whistle blowers more fervently than W, and attempting to assassinate a U.S. citizen! I'm frustrated.

The latest "battles" between Democrats and Republicans have all gone to the Republicans. Take the latest budget battle, which had Republicans starting with "$35 Billion" in cuts, Dems with "$10 Billion" in cuts, and the final budget being $38 Billion. eh? Ok, that's off topic. OBL...

But it's related, because what used to be GOP talking points have been completely adopted by the Democrats.


And the "liberal media" just continues to repeat, without any hesitation, the talking points of the GOP and the government. I mean, we send in Seal Team 6 to get Osama, they kill him. Why did the White House have to lie? They changed their story 4 times in 4 days, OBL was using his wife as a human shield, there was a firefight, he was fighting back, he drew his weapon. Lies, all of them. Very few in the U.S. would raise much of a stink if we killed him in "cold blood", yet the government put forward this story of how he resisted. The Seals would have taken Osama alive had that been their task, they're the best in the world - and especially if OBL wasn't armed, it would have been a piece of cake. Now the government is leaking photos of OBL watching himself on TV, of his stash of porn. And the media is continuing to just regurgitate it. I don't know if it was true. I don't much care.

One post I read basically points out the the U.S. isn't ready to face the truth. With the lies and the retractions, we, as a people, can console ourselves over questioning what the facts are and completely avoid what the facts show about us as a country. I think they show that our government is continuing to pursue an aggressive, military occupation of most of the world, we care naught for human rights if they're not in our "best interests", the government represents and defends corporate interests over personal interests, and our population (for the most part) is happy to sit back, watch Glee, and remain ignorant about what our government does.

One piece, Obama's "bad negotiating" is actually shrewd negotiating, did shine a light on Obama's positions that changed my perception of his stance. The main point is that Obama hasn't "failed" at pushing the "liberal" agenda, he's been very calculated and chosen to side with GOP ideals because it's all about getting re-elected. It's worth a read.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sheepy and Books

This morning I called home from work to see how Mary and Simone were doing. Mary reported that the morning, while a bit early, was a lovely one, and that Simone was in the process of making Sheepy a superhero costume.

I'll have to dig up the pictures of her costumes for animals she's done in the past. Needless to say, Sheepy gets a number of them. Sheepy is a soft, finger puppet with the standard two legs and a head. The previous costume was a hat and a coat - made of paper. Tonight I checked out the costume and can see that Sheepy's cape is bright red with a grey collar, and Sheepy has sleeves (gauntlets?) that are grey. Very fun.

And tonight I read stories with Simone at bedtime. We read three books in the big bed, then transitioned to her bedroom for the standard nighttime ritual. Unfortunately, we're in a little bit of a rut, and are having trouble falling asleep - due to the late daylight hours and never quite getting back on track from daylight savings. I'd been out of the room for a few minutes when Simone started loudly complaining that she was having trouble going to sleep. I went in and we talked for a minute - I suggested she tell a story to Clifford and Daisy (the cat), or sing songs to them. I leave and check back on her about 15 minutes later to find her sitting cross-legged on her bed, with Clifford and Daisy sitting next to her. She was reading them stories.

Friday, May 13, 2011

TV Critic at Large

So... I was working out at the gym the other day. I wasn't very inspired, so I avoided my weight lifting and decided to alternate jogging and walking, work up a good sweat.

There are three TVs at the gym, two were set to their customary shows at 8am, SportsCenter and Charmed. My brother-in-law turned me onto Charmed years ago and I watch it at the gym. The third channel was showing something called GMA, which took me 5 minutes to figure out it was "Good Morning America."

First things first, I like Charmed. Magic, demons, beautiful people, fairy tales, etc. - it's my kind of escapism. My gripe about the show is that everyone has such incredibly slow reflexes. It's not hard to figure out that when someone evil looking apparates in front of you, chances are they're gonna try to kill you with some magic, or steal something, or mess up your day. This happens every show, several times a show. The Charmed 3 just don't seem to get it, they stand, dumb-founded, and then get whooped, then later in the show they do the same to the bad people (winning in the end). Tightening up the action just a little bit would really help.

SportsCenter - the Dallas Mavericks happened to sweep the LA Lakers the night before, and the first 4 "stories" on SC were all about that - from the point of view of LA. "LA Swept" "What Will Happen To Phil Knight" etc. All the stories were about the losers, the Lakers. It was pathetic, the bias was disgusting. Fine, do a story on Phil Knight leaving, that makes sense, but give the Mavericks their due and show them *winning*, not LA losing.

Lastly, GMA. I have no idea why people watch this show. My comment on it is that they had a 10-15 minute segment on how good or bad frozen food tasted, having different groups of people doing a "blind" taste test of each. Some were regular Jills and some were foodies. The frozen food lines were things like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig. It was a blatant commercial for these foods, and if GMA had any desire to help educate people about how they might lose weight, perhaps they should show how to cook real food. It was disgusting.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mother's Day Hike

We took a hike on Mother's Day. Simone wanted to take Clifford, so he came along.

We stopped for a snack at the rock quarry.

We took the road all the way out, and the path back. Last photo on the road, it was still sunny.

Patiently posing for a photo on the bridge...

The moss on the tree is sooooo soft, time for a snack and a nap after the rain and hail storm that lasted 3 minutes.

White Car Is White, the photo

The roof was nearly red from rust. I'll get to the sides/front/back later this year.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

White Car Is White

Yah, the Mazda got a paint job.

I sanded and sanded and sanded and sanded the roof of the car to get rid of the rust. Then I taped up the windows with some help from Simone. And then came the cans of spray paint - two coats of primer and three coats of white with a few minutes between each coat.

Now it's white. ish

Simone was very proud of how the car was going to look. She said that everyone at work would be surprised how shiny it was, which is true.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Watching Muppets From Space with my girls

One of my all-time favorite movies, perfect for a rainy Sunday.

"I'm not a shrimp, I'm a king prawn!"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spring Flowers

Took a hike up Dimple Hill yesterday. It was pretty eventful. I misplaced Hazel's leash and the keys (while taking off my outer shirt), saw 6 deer, found the keys and leash (whew!), and took some photos of flowers that were starting to show.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Critters on parade

In the paper: Critters on parade

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Earth Day | Procession of the Species

Today was the Procession of the Species, which meant a parade! I've never done one before, and Simone was super stoked to do it. So we threw on the Halloween costume, hopped in the Burley, and walked downtown to check it out.

We got to the farmer's market and really didn't see anyone dressed up - much to our disappointment. But we held out and figured the others would show. Sure enough, over the next half hour we saw more and more costumes. We also saw a bunch of friends from preschool - which excited Simone.

In the Burley with Clifford* (note the purple ears, odd for a Clifford)

After the parade, Simone wanted her face painted like Gracie's, so we did that.
Checking out the handiwork.

We had a great time, and on the walk back it started to rain - three cheers for the Burley! And a train rolled through town, so we stopped to watch that for a while.

A very successful parade, we'll have to do it again next year.

F#@&! U.S. Cellular Companies

A friend gave me his old iPhone, which was great. I'd been thinking about a smart phone for a while, the big thing holding me back was the forced data plan for the 2 year contract. You see, 99% of the time I live in a wi-fi enabled area (either work or home, or most places in Corvallis have free wi-fi) - so why pay $30/month for something I'm not going to use?!

Here was my chance, a free phone (many thanks) that works on my carrier (AT&T), I'm good to go.

I start asking friends for their must-have apps and a couple of them mention that I might want to check with AT&T because they think I might get a data plan added because I'm using a smart phone. So I call up and get a service person who says all the wrong things to me (like, "you need one to use a smart phone" "you can't use a smart phone w/out a data plan" etc. (which are all technically wrong)). I get very frustrated quickly, but have a work meeting in 5 minutes, so I don't have time to go postal on the guy.

I wait a few days and finally call up AT&T again today and I get this calm-voiced woman who says more or less the same thing, but she's a lot smoother about it. The kicker for me (in terms of whether I wanted to try to argue up the management chain or not) was when she said, "I can transfer you to the technical department, but they'll say the same thing. And, you can quote me on this, you will be charged for a data plan on any cellular provider if you're using a smart phone."

Hm.... that kinda took the wind out of my sails. I stay on the phone for a minute or two longer, but the fight is gone. I sit down and google things, and yup, everyone is charging data plans for smart phone users. Some forums have people saying that if your phone is unlocked, somehow, magically you won't be charged, but they don't seem to be able to back it up.

Sigh... looks like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place here. Is it worth it to me to get the minimum plan ($15/month) to only carry around one device? Or do I carry around two?

And I kinda really want/need two pieces of functionality the phone can provide. The first is a calorie tracker that enables me to keep track of food w/out having to dash off to the computer every time I look at a snack. The second is access to my work calendar. For a few years I've been able to get by without running MS Outlook, but work just switched to the latest Outlook, which means the meeting notices are no longer in a reasonable format for my scripts to add to my calendar, and I've gotten several meet times mixed up. The iPhone seamlessly integrates my work calendar and my personal one.

So, I'm kinda hooked (after a whole 5 days).

I'm still pissed off at the situation in the U.S. where the customers have very little power (as opposed to Japan/Europe), but I've come to accept there are some battles that really aren't worth the effort, and I think this is one of them.

The other thing that ticks me off are the rates.

We pay about $80 for 1400 minutes. Ignoring the free weekend and evening calls, that works out to about 12.5 cents per MB of data (assuming skype-like data usage, 60kpbs).

The two data plans offered are $15 for 200MB, which is 7 cents/MB, almost half the cost of the regular phone service. And the $25 for 2GB, which is just over 1 cent/MB. And you know they're making money on the $25 plan...

It just further convinces me that they're charging way more than it costs for the regular phone service, and the data plans charge way too much, but progressively less.

Just think, if they're making money on the $25/2GB plan, then they'd be making money charging me $9/month for the phone plan (that's the same rate).

For years we've had certain aspects of life get cheaper and cheaper. Moore's law has made it possible for us to have hand-held computers storing 100's of gigabytes of data, touch screen displays, etc. etc. Yet the phone service we get still costs the same as always, cable TV still costs the same.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wise Words From Seth Godin

I just read the post Insist on the coin flip, and I think it's completely true. The hardest part will be convincing people (and remembering it myself) to let go of their (my) attachment to knowing there's a "best" decision, even when the differences between the top runners are smaller than they (I) can detect.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fantasy writing

I've been reading a little more in the last year than I have in the 3-4 years before then. Some SciFi and some Fantasy - I did enjoy the fantasy books The Dwarves and Orcs, and have enjoyed the SF books by alastair reynolds.

One question came to mind as I read the fantasy books...
Why don't fantasy books take place in warm climates? Like in jungles or deserts?
Anyway, Brin wrote a little post on The Difference Between Science Fiction and Fantasy?, which prompted me to ask the question.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Anti Joke

Hilarious web site: Anti Joke

Top "joke" on there is:

What's worse than finding a worm in your apple?

The Holocaust.

hee hee

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Artsy Shots

Some artsy shots from Oswald West.