Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Banning Photons

Security guards are enforcing a "no photography" policy in this Silver Springs business district, under the false claim that the street in question is private property. It's not private property, but property leased from Montgomery County, and Chip Py and Kate Mereand have formed a Flickr group to post photos of the area in defiance of the ban, and are organizing a protest for July 4th.

As Kate points out in this article, "what is chilling... is how often 'national security' and 'terrorist threats' are used as an excuse for illegal harassment and abuse. The most disturbing trend I see is when people are asked to present identification when they are not breaking any laws."

What really struck me as odd however was that this story would have meant nothing to me if it were not for the photograph, which I instantly recognized. Now that might be ironic, but I'm not sure since I just learned there's nothing ironic in Alanis Morissette's song, Isn't it Ironic and I think that's ironic, but again I'm not sure because I learned what ironic was from Alanis and now I can't tell what irony is, and that has certainly must be ironic.

Wikipedia clarifies:

The song's usage of the word "ironic" attracted attention for what many feel is an improper application of the term. Some situations that Morissette describes in the song are arguably examples of cosmic irony: events that, as the Oxford English Dictionary puts it, appear "as if in mockery of the fitness or rightness of things", such as "a death row pardon/two minutes too late". Others appear to be merely unfortunate (not even improbable or coincidental), such as "a black fly/in your Chardonnay" or "A traffic jam/when you're already late."

If one discounts cosmic irony, however, it is arguable that the song is ironic in and of itself - there is a fundamental incongruity in a song titled "Ironic" which ultimately contains no irony. During an appearance on Sessions@AOL, Morissette discussed "Ironic" and recounted an incident where "a woman came up to me in a bookstore bathroom and asked 'Is the ironic thing about "Ironic" that it's not actually filled with ironies?' I nodded and smiled."

Frankfurt Airport City


In planning my first night in Germany I ran across this complete and utterly hilarious/painful song produced to highlight the Frankfurt Airport.

Master Session Group
Frankfurt Airport City
[Listen]

Just pack your bags and leave, tomorrow’s the big day
Destination Frankfurt, we’re on our way
to a city within a city and a hub full of streams
and impressions, like in our boldest dreams

Chorus
Baby if we try, we can ride across the sky
Heading for this growin’ airport city
Up the clouds along, where the winds ain’t strong
High above Frankfurt Airport City
Frankfurt Airport City

We’re close like never before, to the city you can’t ignore
Located right in the heart of Europe
And behind that significant horizon
It is Germany’s gateway to the world

...


You'll spend the first five listens giggling and then next two days humming the tune to yourself. It's that terrible.

        »» Listen

Friday, May 25, 2007

500 Rove emails found - 4.5 million votes to be lifted

The last true investigative reporter in America Greg Palast predicts 4.5 million votes will be shoplifted in 2008, thanks to the new Rove-directed replacements that have been placed in the Justice Department following the U.S. Attorney firings.

Palast claims to have the 500 emails that the House subpoenaed and Karl Rove claims were deleted forever. They prove definitively, says Palast, that the Justice Department is infested with operatives taking orders from Rove to steal upcoming elections for Republicans and permanently alter the Department. Keep in mind this is the same reporter who uncovered the 2000 voter fraud in Florida and the hardly publicized in America voter suppression in the 2004 election. Don't let this be the end of democracy in America. Get informed.


Recent Interviews about the 2008 hijack:

Friday, May 18, 2007

With Guns Drawn

I stopped in the Idaho Pizza Company parking lot last night to check to see if I had my hitch pin in my receiver hitch (Shel's truck wouldn't turn over so I had to go out to tow/drop the clutch to start it). While staring at my butt plug I was shocked to have a burgundy car pull into the lot flanked by four cop cars.

The cops jumped out of the cars with gun and rifles drawn. Knowing the accuracy and trigger happiness of the Boise PD (see reference below), I decided the prudent course of action was to jump in my truck and get as much distance and metal between me and them.

Four homes struck by police bullets during chase [Behind Paywall]
March 19, 2005 •• 1581 words •• ID: boi2005031914459535
Some residents defend lethal force Denise Oshodi and Patrick Orr Staff Police bullets hit four Garden City homes March 9 when officers fired on a shooting suspect attempting to flee a police roadblock. Police and several neighbors defend the way police handled the incident, saying officers did what they had to do to stop a suspect they considered dangerous and a threat to themselves and the public. But several neighbors said they or someone else could have been hurt by one of...


A few minutes later returning from my house with hitch pin, I caught part of the scene with my camera phone. Only after the fact did I realize that it may have looked like I was training a handgun on the police officers. Whoops.


Cop cars with guns trained.


Note the policeman crouched with rifle behind the signpost for cover.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Mermaid Lullabies

Out of all the time I've spent up north in Canada, the days I've spent in Newfoundland remain the most enchanting.

One evening in particular stands out in my memory. The end of a misty, bluster day found us circled around a campfire near Gros Morne, huddled forward for warmth while the sunset over the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. As the wind picked up exciting the flames we joined in singing traditional folk songs and shared tea heated over the fire, stirred with an axe handle. Newfoundland haunts you with (I believe) the same misty likeness that entrances those that frequent Ireland and Scotland.

Knowing my fondness for Flogging Molly, a coworker turned me on this morning to Great Big Sea, a St. Johns band who plays rock infused versions of traditional Newfoundland folk music. They play some great stuff, from inspiring acoustics on the Tishialuk Girls (mp3) to the humorous Mermaids (mp3):

...
So over I jumped and she pulled me down
Down to her seaweed bed
And a pillow made of a turtle shell she placed beneath my head
She fed me shrimp and caviar upon a silver dish
From her head to her waist it was just my taste
But the rest of her was a fish

Cause her hair was green as seaweed
Her skin was blue and pale
Her face it was a work of art
I love that girl with all my heart
I only liked the upper part
I did not like the tail

But then one day she swam away
So I sang to the clams and the whales
Oh how I miss her seaweed hair
And the silver shine of her scales
But then her sister she swam by
And set my heart awhirl
Cause her upper part was an ugly fish
But her bottom part was a girl

Yes her hair is green as seaweed
Her skin is blue and pale
Her legs they are a work of art
I love that girl with all my heart
I don’t give a damn about the upper part
Cause that’s how I get my TAIL

You can check out samples of their music on their website. Their most recent podcast, describes their annual "Great Big Picnic" (a Canuck version of Willie's Picnic in Texas). It is quite entertaining and turned me on to some more Canadian artists I want to explore.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Snake River Float

Saturday five of us floated the Swan Falls to Celebration Park section of the Snake River.

It was Shel and my first river trip in our new (to us) canoe and a maiden voyage for Michael's new (to him) kayak.

A beautiful 85 degree April day with raptors circling overhead. I had hundreds of things I should have been doing, but this was excellent. No big water, but some good waves and one attention getting Class II rapid got our feet (and pants and shirt and hats) wet. A good float. Definitely the best possible use of an 85 degree clear sky spring Saturday.

The boats waiting to get wet at the put in below Swan Falls Dam


Heading out down river


Capt'n my Capt'n


Michael paddling downstream


First Mate


Smilin' River Rat


Team Snake minus one


Missing Photographer (self-portrait)


Cleaning the marsh sewage off the bow


Poop cleaning detail


View Photoset

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Maiden Voyage

Last weekend Shel and I were driving through Caldwell when we stumbled across a canoe for sale. They were originally asking $800 but were down to $400. We pondered it a bit over Mexican and decided ultimately to call in the morning and offer $200. No dice. So we sat on it until Sunday night when I called again and offered $300, he took it. So Sunday night I drove out and returned with a new canoe (to us) complete with paddles and pretty basic outfitting. At the time there was some question whether it was the $1600 or $800 model. We're pretty sure now it's the $800, but $300 is still a good deal in an economy where you need 3 Hamiltons to fill up your gas tank.

The new canoe (except ours is red)


We were pretty excited to get it in the water, but the way the week went our first chance was Friday night. We drove up to Lucky Peak with the ambitious plan of paddling our gear across the reservoir and camping out. Why is this ambitious you might ask? Oh, I failed to mention... with two dogs.

In the end it went well, though by the time we had ferried the gear across and I had returned for the dogs it was nearly dark. Desi had never been in a canoe before, or to the best of our knowledge on a boat of any kind. I was forced to grab the skin on her back in two places and drag her into the boat while she clawed at me and everything around her. Once in though, she sat right down between my knees and didn't budge, even when on a switch I clocked her in the head by accident with the paddle. The dogs had a blast running around on our own beach and as has become a camping tradition both quickly returned to camp with deer legs.

After a good campfire we awoke to a feels-like-summer morning. The dogs chased ducks and we got a leisurely start. We had to head back to town because we had already made plans to float the Snake River with friends. It was hard mustering the energy to leave one great place to find another. The return journey with the dogs was somewhat more eventful. Kootenai wasn't content to sit still and mid crossing (~1 mile journey) we had a fun time with two dogs circling in the boat amid small waves from passing powerboats.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Happy Mission Accomplished Day!

Yes, it's the fourth anniversary of "Mission Accomplished"!??

What exactly was the mission?


Larger profits for corrupt oil tycoons perhaps?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Real Estate Roller Coaster


US Home prices adjusted for inflation plotted as a roller coaster, sans the plunge in value that started in October 2006.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Succumbing to Peer Pressure

One of these days I'll learn to say "No."

After four weeks of not being able to run without severe pain the bruise behind my knee finally healed to the point where I could jog. By Wednesday last week I was back to full strength.

So when I ran into a teammate out on the town Saturday night, I easily succumbed to peer pressure and promised to show up and play indoor on Sunday. Well it didn't take much. I do love it. Outdoor soccer's a far more beautiful game, but indoor is still a blast (pun intended for my Baltimore readers)

Then at half time our goalie asked me to take the net. Though I tried to convince him to stay in goal, in the end I still took the gloves. You'd think by now I would have learned, but no.

Completely tossing aside the fact that over a month ago I destroyed my knee playing goal, I got in there anyway. Then, hotdogging, I dribbled the ball to mid-field and embarrassingly my pass was intercepted. Sprinting full field back to the net I managed to pounce on the ball just as their striker was unwinding on a volley. He finished the volley on my head. With a groan of pain he flipped over the top of me. Panicked, I somehow jumped out from under the pile and simultaneously apologizing and frantically surveying the field for the ball... it wasn't in front of me, behind me or in the net. I finally located the ball in my hands.

Seeing the pain he was in, I didn't feel right complaining... but my left pinky wasn't functioning, my elbow was bruised and then it was my head he injured himself striking. Ironically, he'd bruised his knee on the back of my head in the same spot I'd tagged on my own knee a month ago. He limped off the field under his teammates' arms.

The referee awarded them a direct kick on the top of the key which I thankfully read, dove and got a hand on. I feel bad injuring a player in a rec league, but as the ref reassured me after the game, I didn't do anything wrong, but he felt he had to give them a kick since their player couldn't walk. Normally I'd add, "What about my head?" But clearly I'm not using it.

Why am I leaping onto the ball as their striker is about ready to volley it in a rec game? Some day I'll learn to say "No."

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Powder Day


Ski Dingo
Koot posing on the sticks

A bunch of us ditched work at noon and enjoyed a fabulous powder day on the mountain. Koot and Bex enjoyed themselves in the 'burb.


View Photoset

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Map with a World View

As a kid, and even today, it bugs me that our maps our so Anglo-centric.

Why was it necessary for my Dad to correct me so that I knew that DE on the back of the passing car DE in an abbreviation may not stand for Delaware, but Germany. It should have been intuitive. But no, not growing up with our anglicized version of the globe.

Google continues to be one of the greatest flatteners in the world today. I'm not sure when it happened, but this morning I was when updating a site I maintain and I was ecstatic to discover that Google Maps has been internationalized.
Finally, there will be a generation of Americans who will know that:

  • Deutschland = Germany
  • Osterreich = Austria
  • Polska = Poland
  • Magyarország = Hungary
  • Ελλάζ = Greece
  • Danmark is the correct spelling for Denmark

Ok, maybe we should still anglicize "G R E E C E". Otherwise, I'll be forced to call it the state formerly known as Greece. But if a nation uses our alphabet, there is no need to anglicize the spelling of their country. It's conceited, and it carries over into all manner of ethnocentrisms from the cliché ugly American tourist to the go it alone attitude that worked so well the last six years (sarcasm).

Google continues to be the most democratizing force in the world today.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Kellogg and Wallace


The Girls @ Lake CDA
Shel and I took off over President's Day weekend with the intent of skiing at Schweitzer and Silver Mountain.

Friday we jetted out of town arriving at Schweitzer after midnight, where we crashed in the back of my rig (a two dog night). Had a great day skiing, despite the sticky not-exactly powder. After that though, north Idaho served up different plans.

Silver was practically closed (their two main lifts were knocked out) so we instead hung out in Wallace, Kellogg and visited with some of Shel's relatives. Good times were had by all... well at least until Desi miscalculated and sliced her paw open bombing down a cliff face along Lake Coeur d'Alene. For once it wasn't the Stupid Dingo.

View Photoset

Friday, February 09, 2007

Khoisan Clicks

I have a penchant for sound effects. In fact, I think all abbreviations should be able to be pronounced as one noise rather than requiring spelling out the letters. For instance, in my field GIS should be pronounced jiz, ESRI should be ezry, SQL has appropriately been coined sequel.

Tim was asking me a code question this morning and I started rambling off ASP.Net code, "ASP repeater a href equals chikt percent pound container dot DataItem parenthesis quote variable quote parenthesis percent chikt".

At which point Tim asked, "What's a chikt?"

I explained, "Oh, sorry I just pronounced a carrot (<)."

To which Tim replied, "I thought you were speaking a click language."

And with that we were off. We flew into a discussion of the Khoisan "Bushmen" of the Kalahari Desert, their unusual language and physical characteristics:

Physically the Khoisan, with their short frames (149-163 cm/4'9-5'4; Coon 1965), copper brown skin, tightly coiled "peppercorn" hair, high cheekbones, and epicanthic eye folds are quite distinct from the darker-skinned peoples who constitute the majority of Africa's population. They have moderately long legs with long bellies, which is a trait that sharply distinguishes them from surrounding Pygmy and Bantu populations having muscles with short bellies and long tendons (Coon 1965). Two distinguishing features of some Khoisan women are their elongated labia minora and tendency to steatopygia, features which contributed greatly to the European fascination with the so-called Hottentot Venus. However, the physical differences between Khoisan and other peoples may be diminishing due to intermarriage.
Source: Wikipedia

And if I remember correctly from my professor in World Regional Geography, "Khoisan males maintain a semi-erect state at all times. The lack of which" he emphasized, "they find both humorous and a sign of weakness."

This is a difficult thing to research while at work, but I was able to confirm at least the first part of my professor's statements in the Swaziland National Trust Commission's discussion of the Nsangwini Rock Paintings.


Nsangwini Bird Men
Photographer: Bob Forrester
Source: Swaziland National Trust Commission
The most publicized paintings at Nsangwini (which have appeared on Swaziland stamps) are two winged figures, these are part human and part bird or insect. The right-facing figure is floating as if airborne, while the other may be hovering, so light is the painter's touch. The significance of the half-completed animal on their left is not apparent, but the procession of four male figures towards a crack in the rock evokes a response similar to that of the 'body in the crack'.

This view seems to be supported by the fact that all four figures have infibulated penises, or have penis ornaments which have some unknown ritual significance. Bushmen had permanently semi-erect penises. The foreskin was perforated and a plug was inserted and worn at all times except when men were sexually active. Each figure is brandishing a branch or a handful of plants. This is similar to those being carried by two (of four) men in a much publicized painting at Sehonghong in Lesotho. This portrays a captive rain animal being led by four shamans in order to attract rain. These branches or bunches could be of aromatic or even hallucinogenic plants, which also had ritual significance. They may have been used to pacify the rain animal, which could be a hippopotamus or a look-a-like mythical animal from the river.

Ironically, this is why I love coming to work. To learn things like this.

Why just earlier this morning I was corrected by my co-worker to learn that Pelé does not mean "flying snake" like I remembered (who knows where I got that from), but instead was the result of young Pelé's mispronunciation of the name of his favorite player, Vasco da Gama goalkeeper Bilé.
Source: Wikipedia

Zero Hippopotamuses


Image Source: hippopotamuses.org
Zero is plural.

Really. Try it with me now.

(2) Two hippopotami have soiled the carpet in my den.

(1) I have a hippopotamus in my powder room.

(0) There aren't any hippopotamuses in the kitchen.

(0) On close inspection, I found zero hippopotami in the dishwasher.

When programming I have to test before composing sentences:
IF ABS(countVariable) = 1 THEN
textVariable = "hippopotamus"
ELSE
textVariable = "hippopotamuses"
END IF

I know you're wondering. The preferred plural of hippopotamus is hippopotamuses, though hippopotami is accepted in the Oxford English Dictionary. Source: Wikipedia

Of course when encountering hippos in your dishwasher, I believe it would be correct to simply exclaim, "Snakes on a plane!"

Degrees of X and Y

I've made maps for a living for ten years now, and I only just realized the source of my coordinate dyslexia.


Image Source: Wikipedia
In geometry we are taught the Cartesian coordinate system. The X-axis is horizontal, the Y-axis vertical, such that (2,3) in the image is two right, three up.

In cartography most locations are plotted by latitude and longitude. Points are given as 43.45º North, 114.77º West or 43.45º,-114.77º.

Only this morning, writing X,Y in my code and watching it map off the surface of the earth that I realized the latitude and longitude are presented as Y,X. I have no idea how it took me ten years to realize why I was always getting that backward.

Here I thought it was just my numeric dyslexia.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

McCall Winter Carnival

Sexy
Watching the Mardi Gras Parade
in my fuzzy hat
Shel and I headed up to McCall for the Winter Carnival with some of her friends two weekends back. We had a nice "cabin" (nicer than our two houses combined) to relax in and warm blue sky days (for McCall in January).

I finally got to see the Mardi Gras Parade, we took some nice walks in the snow on foot and snowshoe, took in the snow/ice sculptures and helped run the Monster Dawg Pull. Koot, for her part, completely embarrassed me in the Monster Dawg Pull by not only failing to successfully defend her title, but by achieving the slowest time of all 100+ dogs. To celebrate her defeat she promptly peed all over my driver's seat.

Stupid Dingo.

View Photoset

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Now that's Entertainment


Snapshot of Koot and Desi's nightly battle royale
(sorry the quality is so horrid)

Little Late for Christmas Cards


I was just changing a setting in my Yahoo Mail when I stumbled across this new feature. No idea when it appeared. Maybe it isn't new at all, but I thought I'd share it. You can print out mailing labels for any group in your address book! This could make Christmas card writing (or in my case St. Patrick Day cards) bearable.

While I'm touting Yahoo Mail, if you're not using the Beta, switch today. I've been using Oddpost, the precursor to Yahoo Mail Beta, for five years now and it's truly brilliant. It's Outlook in a web-browser, but smarter and easier to use than Outlook. Drag and drop, tabbed email browsing, right click, shortcut keys, RSS news reader and full cross browser support. For a map jockey/struggling web developer it's slap in the face reminding me what is truly possible within a browser window.

The web is truly evolving quickly from hyperlinks, to a medium that connects machines and ourselves. What am I saying exactly? Check out this video by Michael Wesch, an assistant Cultural Anthropology Professor at Kansas State University.

Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us


DISCLOSURE: I truly hate the term Web 2.0, it's a marketing catch phrase and means little, but there is evolution taking place, and it's substantial. As we separate content from style it allows information to be analyzed/reorganized by a community independent of its creator. It gives everyone ownership. The web becomes us.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

For example, e.g. and i.e.

As a public service of the newly-formed Grammar Police, it seems proper to educate in addition to citing the grammatically challenged (myself included).

Many errors are so common that the incorrect usage is more commonplace than the correct grammar. For example:

e.g. and i.e.

When you mean "for example," use e.g. It is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase exempli gratia. When you mean "that is," use "i.e." It is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase id est. Either can be used to clarify a preceding statement, the first by example, the second by restating the idea more clearly or expanding upon it. Because these uses are so similar, the two abbreviations are easily confused. If you just stick with good old English "for example" and "that is" you won’t give anyone a chance to sneer at you. If you insist on using the abbreviation, perhaps "example given" will remind you to use "e.g.," while "in effect" suggests "i.e."

Since e.g. indicates a partial list, it is redundant to add "etc." at the end of a list introduced by this abbreviation.
Source: Common Errors in English, Dr. Paul Brians, Washington State University Department of English

Monday, January 29, 2007

Where's the Grammar Police?


Horseshoe Bend, Idaho, January 28, 2007
The sign says it all doesn't it? Actually, what is it trying to say? I'm lost.

Where's the Grammar Police when you need them?

My father aways told me he wanted a job as a member of the Grammar Police. In his mind, the Grammar Police troll the streets looking for large signs whose grammatical foibles make the populace dumber.

A list of violations might include:
  • Creative word substitutions
  • Spelling like a duck
  • Dyslexic vowels
  • Punctually absent
  • Appalling apostrophes
  • Inadvertent colectomy
  • Incomplete sentences
  • Diarrhetic sentences
  • Doltish abbreviations
  • Verbing nouns
  • Clichés and vapidity
I see this developing further. A website like Engrish perhaps, but for the grammatically challenged?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Finnish Bluegrass

About a year ago Boing Boing turned me on to these kids in Finland making bluegrass.

I can hear my Appalachian friends groaning.

Give it a listen before you judge. I don't have a clue what they're singing, but I find myself singing along.

Five of their tracks are available for download on their website. I especially enjoy Matkalla etelään.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Night Ride

Koot (lower left) and Shel illuminated

Just got back from a great night ride on frozen trails. Boise looks incredible from the foothills at night. It reminds me of my college days climbing up Mt. Sentinel to the "M". Life is good.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I Hate Rebates

I bought $203 of gear for my PC a couple months ago from Tiger Direct. It included $125 of rebates lowering the final $78. Or so I thought.

There is a serious omission on Tiger Direct's invoices and packing slips. They clearly state, "Be sure the product is working and you intend to keep it before filing for rebates. Products missing UPC codes from the box are not returnable and will be rejected or subject to a restocking fee." What they fail to mention is the hidden 30 day timeout on the rebates. This omission just cost me $125 after I followed their advice and waited to file my rebates only to discover they were all expired. I am far from pleased.


Offer: $20 (USD) Mail In Rebate on Select NEC ND3350 Series Optical Drives - N27-1892-1892 SP-1894
Manufacturer: NEC
Part #:
Product: NEC ND3550 / 16x8x16x DVD+R/RW / 16x6x16x DVD-R/RW / 8x +R DL / 6x -R DL / 48x32x48x CD-RW / Beige / DVD Burner with Software - OEM
Rebate:
$20.00 View Rebate Form
Valid Dates: 11/1/2006 through 11/30/2006 (Expired)
Mailing Period: This rebate MUST be postmarked within 30 days of purchase.


Offer: $25 (USD) Mail In Rebate on CA Internet Security Suite 2007 - CA07-5215
Manufacturer: Seagate
Part #:
Product: Seagate / 250GB / 7200 / 8MB / ATA-100 / OEM / Hard Drive with CA Internet Security Suite 2007 w/ $6,500 Identity Theft and Virus Protection
Rebate:
$25.00 View Rebate Form
Valid Dates: 11/1/2006 through 11/30/2006 (Expired)
Mailing Period: This rebate MUST be postmarked within 30 days of purchase.


Offer: $20 (USD) Mail In Rebate on the Seagate 250GB EIDE / ATA-100 Hard Drive (OEM) - THD-250A2-250A2 BM-250A2 SY
Manufacturer: Seagate
Part #:
Product: Seagate / 250GB / 7200 / 8MB / ATA-100 / OEM / Hard Drive with CA Internet Security Suite 2007 w/ $6,500 Identity Theft and Virus Protection
Rebate:
$20.00 View Rebate Form
Valid Dates: 11/1/2006 through 11/30/2006 (Expired)
Mailing Period: This rebate MUST be postmarked within 30 days of purchase.


Offer: $60 (USD) BONUS Mail In Rebate on CA Internet Security Suite 2007 with Purchase of THD-250A2
Manufacturer: Seagate
Part #:
Product: Seagate / 250GB / 7200 / 8MB / ATA-100 / OEM / Hard Drive with CA Internet Security Suite 2007 w/ $6,500 Identity Theft and Virus Protection
Rebate:
$60.00 View Rebate Form
Valid Dates: 11/4/2006 through 11/30/2006 (Expired)
Mailing Period: This rebate MUST be postmarked within 30 days of purchase.

Turn and Cough

Largely, I don't believe in doctors. When we have a cold or minor infection we go to physicians way too often. If given a week, we'd heal on our own. In fact, I'd argue half the recoveries we credit to drugs are actually our bodies healing naturally. The use of drugs makes us weaker for when our bodies truly need the assistance. There are clearly exceptions.

Today I had to go to a doctor for a work physical. This would be my first doctor visit in a year. Near the end of the exam he asked me if there was any problems that were bothering me. I said, "Now that you mention it my back has been giving me pain between my shoulder blade and spine." He ran his finger down my spine, told me to lay back and cross my arms. He then had me start to sit up and he wrapped his hands around me twisted my upper body. My back cracked rather violently three times in quick succession. The doctor added, "Yep, you had a couple ribs out of alignment. It should hurt for the next couple of days but as long as you don't tweak it again it will be fine."

Good, good. Now that's some sound 10 second doctoring. I was stunned. I didn't even know ribs could get out of alignment. Vertebrae yes, but ribs?

Navigating the North End

Spending so much time on a bicycle causes me to really abhor driving especially stop signs and red lights, two traffic features I tend to ignore when pedaling.

Consequently, I was delighted a few weeks ago to discovered the secret of navigating Boise's North End. If you turn at every street without a stop sign you can drive through the North End without stopping!

There is of course two minor hitches:

  • You must drive through the North End at diagonals
  • Major streets such as Harrison Blvd and 13th violate the rule

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Bull Trout Point


Heading up to the summit
From Michael's Photos
Michael invited me to tag along with him and his neighbor Chad up to Bull Trout Point on Saturday. Though he titled it backcountry skiing, I think winter climbing would prove a more accurate descriptor. The two of them were on tele-skis with skins, myself on snowshoes with my board strapped to my back.

The whole trip took an entire day. We left at 5:30 and didn't get back into town until after 7PM. We spent about 4 1/2 hours climbing and a little over 2 hours skiing/schlogging down. It was absolutely gorgeous above the treeline.

I've scraped Chad's trip summary off his blog at offhegoes.net:

We found the trailhead, got our stuff together and head out across the open meadow snowfields at about 6200 ft. [map]


The route.

IMG_8830.jpg
Heading in across the snowfields.

We followed someone else’s snowshoe tracks through the woods and eventually found our way to the ridge and started ascending. We made it to the tree line and had a great view of the valley to the south.

IMG_8832.jpg
Michael and Brent weaving through the trees. Brent’s snowboard made for some interesting navigation through the low-hanging branches.

IMG_8833.jpg
The view toward Copper Mountain.

IMG_8838.jpg
Michael and I scoping out the bowl.

Eventually, we made it to a steeper face on the ridge. Once we got up that, the hike was pretty mellow, following the sometimes narrow ridgeline. The wind on the ridge was blowing pretty hard and some large cornices had developed that were pretty cool to look at. As we got onto the ridge, the sun came out and we had blue skies for a while.

IMG_8845.jpg
Michael and Brent heading up the ridge.

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The beginning of the cornice.

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Looking up the ridge toward one of the peaks we would traverse.

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Brent on one of wind formations.

At one point, we got to a large wind drift that blocked the whole ridgeline. It was probably 6 or 7 ft. tall. We had to cut a path up it and after some stumbling and falling over we all eventually made it up.

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Trying to get over the drift.

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Looking into one of the north facing bowls.

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Pink Sawtooth Granite and snow.

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Heading up the ridge with the summit in sight.

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Michael at the top (elevation 9000 ft. according to my watch/altimeter).

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Summit shot.

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Self portrait in my goggles.

After digging a pit and debating our route down, we dropped the face into the bowl. The snow was great. It had a breakable crust layer about 3 inches down that made for some burning quads. Still pretty fun though.

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Our tracks down the face.

Eventually, we made it back down to the flats and had a nice 1.5 mile schlog out back to the car. We drove back to Boise just as it was getting dark having seen the sunrise and set in the mountains.

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Hiking out through one of the burn areas.

Photo Albums:

View Chad's Photos

View Michael's Photos

(There's some great shots in here)