Thursday, December 29, 2005's easy

I turned on the Food Network the other day, and apparently cooking is easy. I swear, in every single show they had to say how "easy" their recipe is. "Hi. Today we're making a really simple 50 tier wedding cake." "I'm going to show you how to cook a 5 course meal for 20 people in 30 minutes." Just once, I'd like them to say "I'm going to show you how to make a scale model of New York out of melted sugar, and it's really damn difficult."

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Copper Mountain

Christine and I went to Copper Mountain yesterday for some fun on the snow. It was a day of ups and downs to say the least.

We almost called the trip off at the last minute because Bucket hadn't been feeling well, but in the end we decided he was going to be fine. That give us a little later start, but we still made really good time. Even with some stop and go traffic on, we managed to get to the Copper Mountain parking lot in almost exactly 2 hours.

A pleasant surprise for the day was that djcrash and netski55 called while we were on the road and wanted to meet us at Copper. We ended up getting there at about the same time too. How perfect. Perfect, that is, until we realized that we left part of Christine's telemark bindings at home. Big bummer. She decided to check out the rental equipment to see if anything would fit her, and we were in luck. After trying about 6 different boots, she found a pair that fit and she got some good demo alpine equipment to try out.

There was no new snow and the first few runs of the day were a slick with hard snow, but once the sun came out, the snow softened up really nice. It ended up being a beautiful day. We skied through lunch, snacking while on the lift, and ended up leaving around 1 in an enjoyably sore condition.

We decided to follow Annette and John to a deli in Dillon for a bite to eat before we headed home, and wouldn't you know it there was an accident on I-70. Shocking, I know. I swear, this is the number one reason why I didn't buy a ski pass this year. Even when you're on I-70 on a perfectly sunny and dry Monday afternoon, you still end up sitting in accident traffic. I was glad we were only going to Dillon, but it still took us almost an hour.

The Dyer's took us to Jersey Boys Pizza & Deli, which is apparently one of their favorite local joints. They've got all sorts of great sandwiches (hot and cold) and pizza all homemade from scratch right there. Christine and I split a chicken parm sandwich and it hit the spot. The veggie melt that John and Annette had looked equally as good. And since they're one of the few places that deliver around there, the Dyers plan on keeping them in business. I would have never known about it unless they told us, so thanks for showing me a good new place to eat when I'm up there. It sure beats sitting in traffic. Next time I'll try to make it for $1 slices and beers at happy hour. :)

When we got back on the road it looked like I-70 had cleared up, so that's the route we took (instead of Loveland Pass). We were moving along pretty good until we got about about 1 mile from the tunnel and then we came to a screeching halt. Frequently when there's a lot of traffic on the other side of the tunnel they stop letting traffic through so that people aren't filling the tunnel up with carbon monoxide from their idling cars. I only know that because it's happened to me like 3 times. It's SUPER frustrating to just be sitting there on I-70 with nowhere else to go. Once you pass the Dillon exit, there's no more exits until the other side of the tunnel.

We finally got to the other side about a half hour later, and of course the road was still pretty clogged. I had some time to kill last year on the way back from a trip, so I tried out all the frontage roads along I-70 to see where they went. I was always so frustrated sitting on I-70, watching people cruise by on the frontage roads so I had to figure it out. It paid big dividends in this traffic; we got off the highway in Georgetown and didn't get back on until past Idaho Springs. It was such a joy to see the slow traffic on I-70 and know how much faster we were going. Neener neener!

Sunday, December 25, 2005


Merry Christmas Happy Holidays.

Christmas started with Bucket waking us up so he could go outside and puke. Christine got up to let him outside, but I wasn't able to get back to sleep. I spent my morning sitting on the couch watch the Food Network and trying to revive my dead laptop while I waited for Christine to wake up. I'm usually the one who gets to sleep in, so it was nice for her to get the chance for once.

Once Christine got up, we got to work on preparing a brine solution for our turkey. We got that soaking and moved onto to fixing a tasty breakfast of sausage, eggs, and french toast. Mmmm. Finally, the anticipation was finally over and we got to tear open some gifts.

I got a ton of great stuff, including a Playstation2 with Grand Turismo, a steering wheel, and Dance Dance Revolution. Good times! I think she wants me to wreck virtual cars instead of my own. I've also been enjoying The Complete Far Side collection. Amazon lists the shipping weight as 20 pounds, and they're not kidding. These are two extremely heavy books.

The weather was so fantastic that we couldn't really stay inside all day. We rode our bikes for a couple hours in the fantastic 60 degree weather. Coming down one of my favorite speeding hills I hit 52.3 MPH. There was a cop at the bottom of the hill, but he had already pulled someone over. Bummer. I would love to get a speeding ticket on my bike for 50 in a 35.

We finished out the evening with some turkey, mashed potatoes, and brussel sprouts. Yes, I like brussel sprouts. Don't persecute me.

Time for bed so we can go to Copper Mountain in the morning.

First ride with the new team

The road team at Peloton last year was only 5 people strong (including me). Of those other 4 racers, two of them have switched teams, and one of them quit racing. Since it doesn't really seem like Peloton is excited about sponsoring a team this year, I'm going to join two old teammates and race with BlueSky Velo out of Longmont. Saturday was my first chance to ride with some of the new teammates.

It's a little weird to drive all the way down to Longmont in order to ride, but I figured it was a good chance to ride with some new people before they get too fast for me later in the season. :) We rode from the shop to Masonville and back with a nice side trip through Eden Valley. Eden Valley is a cool area south and west of Horsetooth, and the reservoir back there was a smooth as glass as we rode by. It was awesome.

It turns out that one of the riders (Lee) is from Rochester, and now works the same place as netski55. One of the other riders is from Toledo (my home town). Small world.

I love that I can do a 60 mile ride outside at the end of December. Colorado rules.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

"Intelligent Design" fails in court

From CNN:

Judge rules against 'intelligent design' in science class

From Delia Gallagher and Phil Hirschkorn
Tuesday, December 20, 2005; Posted: 1:43 p.m. EST (18:43 GMT)

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- A Pennsylvania school district cannot teach in science classes a concept that says some aspects of science were created by a supernatural being, a federal judge has ruled.

In an opinion issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge John Jones ruled that teaching "intelligent design" would violate the Constitutional separation of church and state.

"We have concluded that it is not [science], and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents," Jones writes in his 139-page opinion posted on the court's Web site. (Opinion, pdf)

"To be sure, Darwin's theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions," Jones writes.

Intelligent design claims the complexity of some systems of nature cannot be explained by evolution but must be attributed to a designer or supernatural being.

The Dover Area School District, about 25 miles from the state capital, sought to become the first in the nation to require high school science teachers to teach the concept of intelligent design as an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution.

"Because Darwin's Theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The theory is not a fact," said the statement that the old school board approved in a 6-3 vote in October 2004. "With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind."

That school board mandated the teaching for ninth-grade biology classes and directed school libraries to purchase an alternative textbook, "Of Pandas and People," which advocated the concept. The town has since voted out eight of nine board members.

A lawsuit challenging the policy was brought in December 2004 by 11 parents in conjunction with the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State last December.

Jones presided over a six-week trial that ended last month. His decision applies only to the Pennsylvania school district.

His decision would block the school district's plan "requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution, and from requiring teachers to refer to a religious, alternative theory known as ID."

Jones says in his ruling that he did not doubt that intelligent design advocates "have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors," but he also said scientific experts testified that Darwin's theory "in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator."

Jones -- an appointee of President Bush, who backs the teaching of Intelligent Design -- defended his decision in personal terms.

"Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist court," Jones writes.

"Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on intelligent design, who in combination drove the board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy," he said.

Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said, "Children in public schools deserve top quality science education and freedom from religious indoctrination and today they were granted both."

In 1987, the Supreme Court ruled that Louisiana could not teach creationism because it would "restructure the science curriculum to conform with a particular religious viewpoint."

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Santa Clara

I'm in Santa Clara, CA for a training class on PCI-Express this week. Hooray for getting some good job training. I guess I picked a good time to go to California, because Colorado sounds cccccccold right now.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Snow Day 2

We stayed in Granby Friday night at the rental unit attached to Christine's mom's diner. We got some good home-cooked food, but best of all, we were able to bring the dogs. One of the hard things about disappearing all day for a ski trip is figuring out what to do with the dogs.

We woke up to the wonderful sight of snow falling, and I couldn't wait to get to the mountain. I've only been to Winter Park twice, and both times we've parked on the Mary Jane side. I like the parking situation there because it's a really short walk to Corona Run, which you can ski down to catch a lift or buy your lift tickets. At the end of the day it's another short walk back to the car. None of that waiting around for a crowded wet bus.

When we were driving to the resort, my board collected a bunch of moisture on the base from all the road spray. Silly me, I took it off the roof and immediately tossed it base down on the snow. I've never had this happen before, but all the water that was on the board froze and it covered my base with little ice bumps. These little bumps are like anti-wax; my board just would not slide on the snow. It was soooo frustrating. We tried scraping off the ice with ski pole baskets and had limited success, but then Christine had the idea of using a credit card. It worked, and I was on my way. Lesson learned. Don't toss your wet board in the snow.

We met up with tele-master Scot at the lift ticket office and headed up for our first turns of the day. The snow was AMAZING! I can't believe we had such great conditions in early December. We started on Derailer, which was a little steep for my liking, but still quite fun with the amount of snow that was on it. This lead us to the Challenger lift, which was considerably less crowded than the Summit Express lift we had just ridden. All of the runs on skiers right of Challenger were awesome and full of snow, so we did some laps in this area. The trees in this area are also fun for a non-tree rider like me because they're kind of sparse yet still packed with good snow.

The plan today was to go hard and leave early, but it was hard to drag ourselves off the mountain. It's not too often you get conditions like that, but alas, we had some prior engagements and had to leave. If I had taken the correct run, it would have been a very easy trip to the car. Unfortunately for me, I got a little greedy and took one the runs I hadn't ridden yet, and it dumped me a little further away (and downhill) from our car. Oh well. The run was so worth it!

Here I am invading Kuzca's space


Scot making turns

Monday, December 5, 2005

Snow Day 1

The snow report on was taunting me daily last week and it finally got the best of me. Before I left work Thursday, I told my boss I'd be taking a snow day on Friday. :) Christine and I both had a free lift ticket from going to see the Warren Miller movie, and this seemed like the perfect time to use it.

After dinner, I put the ski rack on the new wagon for the first time and started getting things ready. I started keeping a list last year of all the various equipment that I needed for ski trips to keep me from forgetting things (I have a bad habit of forgetting things like my goggles, snowboard lock, and various other little items) , but it turns out that it also helped me gather up all my gear for the time of the season. Packing for the first ski trip of the year is always a bit of a chore because my gear isn't all gathered in one spot yet, but my packing list made the chore a little less painful and I was sure I wasn't forgetting anything.

Waking up to an alarm clock is no fun, but it's somehow a lot easier to wake up for a ski day than it is a day of work. :) We left the house around 7 and didn't hit too much traffic on our way to Copper Mountain. The Eisenhower Tunnel area was slow due to snowy roads (chain law was in effect and Loveland Pass was closed), but that's to be expected and Christine piloted the Subie beautifully. At least everyone was driving civily. It drives me crazy when the weekend warriors tailgate or weave through lanes in that kind of weather just to get to the mountain a few minutes quicker.

After a quick lesson on how to use my new Dynafit AT bindings, we we on the mountain; Owen and I on skis and Christine on her snowboard. The first run was sort of a disaster for Christine, because she was reminded just how much her bindings stink. They kept popping open so she wisely chose to go back to the car and put on her telemark skis. In the meantime, Owen was beating me up on the bumps by taking me down a double black. I wouldn't say I was smooth or anything, but I made it down in one piece. Good to know I can still make it down the mountain on skis. I was really happy with my new gear, especially the boots. They fit leaps and bounds better than any other ski boot I've worn. Even with it being pretty cold out, my toes stayed nice and warm. By the end of the day, I was feeling a lot better on my skis. I still feel like I'm working harder than I need to, but hopefully I'll get more efficient with time (and tips from my skiing buddies).

I always forget how much I like Copper. It's got a good layout with a lot of great terrain, plus the Center Village is a fun place to hang out for a beer and some snacks after a hard day of skiing. Even though there wasn't as much fresh powder as we expected (sorry to be a snow snob), we still had a great time playing around and dusting off the off-season cobwebs. I can't wait to go back when there's some more snow and even more terrain open. If our current snowfall trend keeps up, we're in for a killer ski season.

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Paris Report

After a short (albeit frustrating) week, I couldn't wait to leave and get down to the airport. We had allowed plenty of time to get to the airport, but going 20 mph down the highway wasn't making either of us really excited. We were happy when the speeds picked up, and we made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. The parking lots at the airport were pretty full for the holidays, but we were pleasantly surprised to see that the check in and security lines were very short.

My first trans-Atlantic flight went pretty well. It was a big 777 plane and every seat had their own TV to keep us occupied. The food they served was actually quite edible, and it even came with a little bottle of wine. The wine (preceded by a Jack & Coke) were enough to make me sleepy so I could get sleep that I was told would be necessary so I could stay up when I got to Paris. The only real problem was the screaming kid that I don't think shut up the whole time. I’m glad I brought earplugs.

Christine demonstrates proper usage of a travel pillow

Before I knew it, they were serving us breakfast and preparing to land in London. We only had about an hour at the London airport, so we just breezed through to our connecting flight. The flight to Paris was less than an hour, and I managed sleep the whole time. The arrival in Paris was a little of a culture shock since I don't speak the language, but having Christine there to translate was a huge bonus.

I got my first glimpse of Paris traffic on our bus ride to Montparnasse, and it's crazy. I was most shocked by the motorcycles and scooters weaving through traffic. I don't know if it's legal, but they were always splitting lanes (riding between two lanes of cars). I guess it's somewhat okay on the highway, but it looked super dangerous in the city. It's kind of like Boston, in that there are streets going everywhere and people generally don't know exactly where they're going. So you have cars making last minute decisions to turn, which is horrible when you're on a bike trying to pass them.

Christine enjoys some Freedom FriesChristine says hello to Paris

After we settled into the hotel, we headed out so we wouldn't be tempted to sleep. The first order of business was a river cruise down the Seine. It was a little rainy, but the boat was covered and we could still see things pretty well. We wandered around the Eiffel Tower area a little bit before heading back to the warmth of the hotel, stopping for a bite to eat at the local brasserie. That was an interesting experiencing in translating menu items. I ended up with a ham and cheese sandwich on a baguette and a glass of Nouveau Beaujolais.

Our first order of business Friday morning was a trip to the Eiffel Tower. We lucked out with the weather, because the skies cleared up and we had a pretty awesome view of the city. It's interesting how the architecture is different. A lot of the buildings sort of form polygons with courtyards in the middle. It made everything look like the overhead shots of the Pentagon. From the tower, we walked over to the Hotel des Invalides, stopping on the way for a ham and cheese crepe. Yummy.

View from towerEiffel Tower
Eiffel TowerRyan eating a crepe

Invalides is where Napoleon is buried and it's also a really cool military museum. They have an amazing collection of weaponry and clothing that dates back several hundred years. The United States is a relatively new country, so I've never really seen so much stuff that is so old (except for art at a museum). I mean, there we were looking at military artifacts in a mansion where Napoleon used to live.

On the recommendation from one of my French coworkers, we then went to the Musee des Arts et Metiers. I wish we had some more time there, because it was really cool and we had to skip some stuff at the end. I really like seeing the early mechanical calculators that Pascal invented. Some other cool things were: an experimental setup that was used to measure the speed of light, automatic looms that read punch cards to weave patterns, a Cray supercomputer, and displays showing how the Statue of Liberty was built. Very cool museum.

Army MuseumOld computers at Arts et Metiers

I had made a reservation at a super stylin’ hotel for Saturday night (The Hotel du Louvre), so we checked out of the Libertel and dropped our luggage with the concierge our new hotel. We intended to go climb up the Arch de Triumph, but it was closed due to weather. It was actually snowing in Paris (a rarity especially in November), so the top of the arch was slippery. The sign posted at the monument actually said it would be open "later". Nice and specific. We killed a litte time before our room was ready by doing some trinket shopping on the Rue de Rivoli. We had some friends that requested cheezy Paris trinkets, like miniature Eiffel Towers, and we were happy to oblige.

Our Louvre roomA view into The Louvre

We stopped back at the hotel and our room was ready. Such a nice room with a big king sized bed and a balcony looking at the Louvre. We could actually look out our window and into the balcony. It was hard, but we forced ourselves to leave and walked across the street to the Louvre. Neither of us are big art museum fans, but we felt like we needed to make the obligatory trip to the Louvre. The main order of business was to see the Mona Lisa, so that’s where we headed first. After that, we went to Venus de Milo and glanced at everything else in-between.

The Louvre pyramid entranceWinged Victory
Venus de Milo

By then it was time to get reader for dinner and a special trip to the Eiffel Tower afterwards. We were dismissed from our first restaurant choice because we didn’t have a reservation (even though the place was practically empty). With so many restaurants around, it was no big deal to wander around for a bit and find place on a side street. There were some French people eating there, so I guess that’s a good sign.

Christine's tasty dinner

After our dinner we took the Metro over to the Eiffel Tower for a nighttime trip to the top. Brrr, it was cold up top. We walked around the observation deck and stopped on the southwest side, where I proposed to Christine. I think she’s going to accept, but she’s currently still weighing her options. :)

Self portrait after the proposal

Unfortunately, we had to check out of our high class hotel on Sunday morning. We left our bags with the concierge and went over to another of Paris’ famous sights, Notre Dame. It’s amazing that a building of that magnitude could be built in the 1300’s. From there, we took the short walk to the Isle of St. Louis where we enjoyed some hard cider and a chocolate & banana crepe at one of my mom’s favorite creperies (Le Sarrisan et le Froment ). Yum!

Notre DameNotre Dame

We then picked up our luggage and transported it to our new hotel near the Arch de Triumph. As usual, when we came up from the Metro we didn’t know which way was which, and we didn’t know of the streets around the circle was the one we were looking for. Christine watched the bags as I walked around the circle looking for street names. I felt pretty silly when I suddenly saw the huge Arch de Triumph, which is the direction we were looking for.

Our room at the Hotel Elysees Ceramic was your pretty standard room, but when you stepped out onto the balcony you could see the Arch de Triumph. We were pretty close to it, so we decided to walk on down and venture up to the top. After climbing the long spiral staircase and visiting the collection of Napoleon artifacts, we climbed out onto the top of the Arc for another great panoramic view of the city. Again, we were lucky and the sun came out for our visit.

Balcony viewView from the Arch
Arch stairs

We had to make is sort of an early night so we could get up early to catch our plane. Our vacation was over. :(

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

France Update 1

There will be more pictures later, but I thought I'd get this one up right away:

Yes, that's what you think it is. I'll let christinelh post some more information.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Beer in Paris

We're sitting at the "Beer Station" near the Arch de Triumph in Paris. I like to call it "Beer Land", just because it sounds even more American than this tourist bar already sounds. We have lots of pictures and updates, but we'll keep you waiting until we get back. I had envisioned being able to post at least a couple updates while we were here, but our Internet access was sparse.
Au revoir!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Super Mario Marimba Jam

Link courtesy of my brother:;=marimba

It's some high school kids playing some Super Mario tunes on the marimba. Complete with costumes and stage decorations. Pretty cool if you were an old-skool Mario player.

Let's Ride - Part 2

Christine and I took a motorcycle class last weekend. We both passed the test, so we just have to take our MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) card to the DMV and we'll get a new license with a motorcycle endorsement.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Let's Ride

My new alpine touring gear is ready for action. Atomic TMX skis, dynafit TLT bindings, and Garmont Megaride boots. Bring on the snow.

Friday, November 18, 2005


(Warning, if you're not a computer geek you probably won't find this at all entertaining.)

One of the vendors I work with is coming here to flash the firmware on a bunch of their cards (because they sent us a bunch of crap). They asked me if we had a 386 that they could use because their flash program won't work on anything newer. 386!? This division didn't even exist in the late 80's (when 386's were the latest and greatest). I did a quick survey around the lab to see if we could find one, and pretty much every just laughed. I think it's time they rewrite their flash program.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Photo Credit

I emailed a link of my Tom Danielson pictures to The Paceline (Lance's fan site), and they posted them up. I even get a photo credit. Here's the link, but you need login to their site to access it:

Here's a PDF version of the page: The Paceline- Dan and Tom in Colorado Photos

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team's Tom Danielson

HP held an event in Fort Collins this week to showcase our products to our sales force. The event includes presentations from some of our higher profile customers, and since we've struck up a new partnership with Trek they came to Fort Collins along with Tom Danielson of the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team. Our group at work was allowed to send one person to the event, and I lobbied hard to be that one person when I found out Tom Danielson was going to make an appearance. I won. As it turns out, one of the local bike shops took the opportunity to have Trek and Tom come into the shop, so I got to see them twice.

Most people probably do not know who Tom Danielson is. Yet. He's frequently considered America's next great stage racer. He won the Dodge Tour de Georgia this year, placed 8th in the Tour of Spain, and holds the record for riding up Mount Evans. Lance calls him GWH - the Great White Hope. Time will tell if he'll live up to his title.

The presentation at the bike shop was pretty good and I got there early enough to get a good spot. The disappointing thing was that the Trek representative didn't mention anything about the HP workstations they used. Hrmph! But I got some pictures:

Today I showed up to the HP event a little late because I had a meeting (which I ditched early in an attempt to make it on time). I stood at the back of the room so I could look around for a seat, and I noticed that Tom Danielson and the Discovery PR guy (Dan Osipow) were sitting behind the last row of chairs. What luck! It's not very often you get the chance to be around a pro cyclist when there aren't a bunch of other cycling fans around to mob them. I didn't really want to impose, but eventually I just had to say hello and get a picture. I think I was probably the only one in the room who recognized who they were. (Or maybe nobody else cared.)
Later I got Tom to sign his promo shot and one of our workstation chassis (a little something for the lab).

Michael Sagan (the senior designer at Trek's Advanced Concepts Group) was hanging out at the AMD booth so I went over to bullshit for a little while. It was interesting to hear about some of the considerations that go into designing their bikes. Cycling's governing body has a lot of rules that they have to follow in order for their bikes to be legal. For example, the downtube on their time trail bike can't be any wider than 80mm, otherwise it would be considered an illegal fairing. Also milling around was Scott Kasin, who played an important part in getting AMD to sponsor the Discovery Team. Now he lives in Carbondale, CO and runs a sports technology consulting company. Pretty sweet deal, because it gives him lots of time to train.

Here I am with Michael Sagan and one of Lance's time trial frames from the 2005 Tour de France:

More pictures on Flickr

Monday, November 7, 2005

Bad Car Week (already)

On Saturday, someone hit my bumper as I was backing out of a parking spot. I would love to go after this person's insurance since they were clearly driving too fast in the parking lot, but in the end I think the effort required will not be worth it. It doesn't look too bad after I buffed it all out, so I think I can live without having the bumper resprayed.

On my way home from Old Chicago's tonight I got pulled over. Not because I was speeding (I wasn't), but because the cop says I "hammered it" leaving the traffic light. Right. I'm in a 250 HP hatchback, you're in a ginormous SUV. If I "hammered it", you would NOT be catching me any time soon. And who would floor it at a traffic light when there's a cop in the other lane? I guess I'll be going to court on January 30th. It's an actual court date this time, none of that bogus DA's office plea bargain crap.

And to top it off, I'm pretty sure I have an ear infection brewing. I'll be skipping some fun offsit work stuff tomorrow so I can go to the doctor. The week has surely got to get better than this.

Sunday, November 6, 2005


For those of you that don't read christinelh's LJ, we're going to Paris over Thanksgiving. Look out France, here comes a stupid American.

Windy Enough?

It's was pretty windy last Thursday and I came home to find this sight:

That's some shoddy worksmanship if I've ever seen it. I should find the people who built that piece of crap...

Friday, November 4, 2005

LiveJournal and RSS readers

I thought I'd check out Bloglines for reading LiveJournal and various RSS feeds, but it seems to be missing something. I can't get it to show "friends-only" posts, because it has no way to authenticate with LJ (I guess). I've tried using a URL like:, but it still doesn't work. Has anyone used Bloglines to view LJ posts?

So maybe I can't get Bloglines to work the way I want. Does anyone have a recommendation for another RSS reader? There's a ton of them out there, but I have no idea which ones are actually good.

Thursday, November 3, 2005

Jackson Hole

Anyone want to go to Jackson Hole February 10th-ish? A friend of mine is coming out, so Christine and I are going to head up there with him and get...extreme. We'll probably drink some mountain dew and jump off really big ledges because we're so totally extreme to the max.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Box Turtle Love

After much searching, I finally go my hands on the video from the 7/14/04 Daily Show, where they talked about gay marriage and made fun of a senator who put gay marriage on the same footing as marrying a box turtle. It makes me laugh just to think about it.

Here is the whole segment :

Here's the edited down version that just has the bit with the infamous box turtle equation:

Enjoy. They'll only be available at that link for a short time, so I suggest downloading it and saving it on your computer for those moments when you need a good laugh.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Got space for a video?

Does anyone have 7MB of web space to host a video? Here's a hint on the content:
man_turtle (by ryan_l)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Pumpkin Time

Christine and I went to a pumpkin patch Friday after work and picked up a few pumpkins to carve. We invited one of her friends over for some carving and pumpkin pie cooking and here are the results:

Pumpkin pie from scratch (except for the crust)

Christine's pumpkin and my Homer Simpson pumpkin

Livestrong Pumpkin

s, by ryan_l" href="">
Livestrong and Homer pumpkins in the dark

And, of course, pumpkin seeds

Thursday, October 27, 2005


So you're saving all sorts of time by letting your Roomba vacuum for you, but you're still spending too much time washing floors. Problem solved. Meet the Scooba:

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Austin update 2

When we left home on Thursday Christine was feeling a little dizzy, and when the dizziness didn't go away by Friday morning it was time to visit a doctor. The doctor told her that she has acute labyrinthitis, which I think means she's watched the movie "Labyrinth" too many times. The doctor gave her a prescription to help take care of any nausea and told her to take some motion sickness medicine (like Dramamine). Oh, and she also said not to ride her bike because the sodium in sports drinks would make her dizziness worse. No big deal, it's not like we had any plans to ride any time soon. Ha! We went to the "Livestrong Village" in the afternoon to pick up our ride packets and check out the festivities. It was nice to be there on Friday, because later in the weekend the crowd sizes greatly increased. We were able to casually walk around and check things out without dodging the masses of people.

Saturday we went back to the Livestrong Village to purchase Chris Carmichael's new Cookbook, and have it signed. We looked at it on Friday, and Christine found several recipes that sounded fun and tasty. Instead of buying it on the spot, we decided to wait until following day when we could have it signed. After we left the village, we were headed downtown for some lunch and to watch a criterium bike race when we found the Whole Foods headquarters. Someone had told us a couple days ago that it was the "Disneyland of Whole Foods." I don't know, maybe we're spoiled in Colorado to have nice Whole Foods stores, because this wasn't all that impressive. It was huge, but it didn't really wasn't anything too special, except for the fact the they had a parking garage under the store and a slanted escalator that you could take carts on. Their specially designed carts had a brake system that activated when they were on the escalator so it wouldn't roll down. The downtown crit was a pretty boring course (only 4 corners) and the number of riders was astoundingly low by Colorado standards. I was looking at the posted results, and most categories didn't have more than 20 people. The Pro/1/2/3 race supposedly had 100 entries though. Apparently Robin Williams was watching the race, but we didn't see him. Later we went back the village because George Hincapie was there signing autographs. George is the only person to be on all 7 of Lance's winning Tour de France teams, and is one of the Discovery Team's one-day specialists. It was awesome to meet such a cycling celebrity.

With all the LAF festivities for the day behind us, we got on with evening plans - The Mr. Sinus Show. Mr. Sinus is essentially a live version of Mystery Science Theater, and if you're ever in Austin when they're doing a show it's well worth the price of admission. The movie this weekend was Lost Boys, which I had never seen before. Hilarious! The early 7PM showing even allowed us to get back to the hotel and get to bed at a reasonable time.

Sunday we got up early to beat some of the traffic to the event. We had been warned that the short trip could easily take an hour, so we left at 5:30AM for the scheduled 7:30AM start. I'm glad we left early, because we could see the traffic already starting to back up. When you register for the ride, you also let them know how far you're planning on riding (7, 25, 40, 70, or 100 miles), and how long you think it will take you to finish. With this information they line you up in different groups and release you at different times so there aren't suddenly 7000 riders on the road at the same time. Even though Christine and I were supposed to be in different groups, we wanted to ride together for a while so she started in my group. We rode the first 10 miles together before she split off at the first aid station. She decided to do the 40 mile route, which in her condition was pretty difficult.

After we split, I rode really fast to get around some of the slower starters. My plan was to ride the first 30 miles without stopping at the aid stations so I could get ahead of any crowds. I found a couple good wheels to ride with, and made it to the 30 mile aid station in no time. It looked pretty crowded, however, so I passed it up and ate some of the gel that I had carried with me. By the time I got to the 55 mile aid station I was ready for a break. I stopped long enough to refill my bottles, get some food, and stretch. I mostly rode on my own from that point, but I did ride along with the Tour of Hope team for a short while. (The Tour of Hope is a team of people put together by Lance Armstrong to ride across the US to raise awareness for cancer and the need for clinical trials.)

The miles seemed to tick by very slowly after that, plus the wind picked up considerably which made the rolling hills feel more like mountains. There were a couple stretches, however, where we had a strong tailwind. Sooooo nice. I finally made it to the finish line with a total ride time of about 5:15. I kind of wish I could have pushed a little harder to make it under 5 hours. Maybe next time.



Thursday, October 20, 2005


This weekend is Lance Armstrong's Ride for the Roses and Christine and I both raised the requisite $150 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation to ride on Sunday. I, for one, am pretty excited. When I first read Lance's book It's Not About the Bike in the fall of 2003 I didn't even own a road bike. For some reason or another, his story inspired me to start road riding and I always thought it'd be cool to do his charity ride in Austin. So here I am, and I couldn't be more pleased.

I saved the the first four seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm on my laptop and we watched a couple episodes on the way down. It made the already short flight seemed even shorter. I've been hearing for a while that the show was pretty funny and I wasn't disappointed. In a way, it's "nothingness" feels like an extension of Seinfeld. I look forward to wasting more time watching the rest of the episodes.

Domain Name

One of Christine's friends does some web hosting and gave her free hosting for a year as birthday gift. We still need to pick a domain name, but we're at a loss for a good name. Any suggestions?

Sea People

Inspired by the Southpark episode where Cartman gets some sea-monkeys thinking that he can grow some friends, I picked up some sea-monkey's the other day. I hatched them before I left work yesterday, so by the time I get home from Austin I should have some fun new company in my cube.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


I went for a training ride this morning with a couple people I haven't ridden with before. These guys rode for other teams last year, but they may ride with us this year. I haven't been doing much riding lately, but I need to get my rump used to the saddle again because the Ride for the Roses is next weekend. I was planning on a pretty laid back ride speed, but these guys kept the pace up so I had to do some work today.

Part of the route we rode took us up to Horsetooth Mountain Park, and as we neared the top it looked like the two of them were preparing to sprint for the top. I didn't really feel like I had any chance with them straight up, so I launched an early attack off the back and blew by them. I ended up blowing up with about 50 feet to go and got passed, but it was still pretty fun. I hit a new heartrate high on that jump - 202 beats per minute. I'm pretty sure my heart was just about ready to explode.

Only one more ride before we have to give our bikes up to be shipped to Austin. I think we may ride Lookout Mountain tomorrow.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Weekend fun

The weekend started with us going to Denver to see one of my favorite comics - Dane Cook. Christine got us tickets as a gift a couple months ago. It was hilarious, but I was wishing we hadn't watched the Dave Atell special he was in on Comedy Central last week. A lot of the material was repeated, but it was still funny.

Saturday I went out to Devils Backbone to do some trail maintenance with the cycling team. I haven't hung with the rest of the team in a while, so it was a good chance to hang out and bullshit. It sounds like Barry's been working hard on getting some more sponsorships and equipment suppliers. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next year.

Sunday was pretty crappy, with rain pretty much all day. In the morning we did some closet cleaning and brought out the winter clothing. In between cleaning (and me watching football), we did some walking around in the rain and took a look at a few houses that are for sale in our neighborhood. For dinner we met up with a couple of Christine's friends and then went out to see Tim Burton's Corpse Bride.

Tonight I get to go see Son Volt, which is a band that I really really like. I didn't even know they were coming to town until I saw their name on the marquee when Christine and I were driving out of town last weekend. I'm pretty excited. I get to see an awesome band, and I don't even have to drive to Denver or Boulder!

Monday, October 3, 2005

Backpacking to Browns Lake

Christine and I took Friday off and headed for the hills. Her, Kuzca and I drove up to the Comanche Peak Wilderness and hiked in to Browns Lake. Bucket had to stay home because we didn't think he'd be able to make it. :(

I first went to Browns lake a couple years ago and have wanted to go back for a while now. You're only allowed to camp in designated sites at this lake, and we had our choice of site since we were getting there on a Friday afternoon and nobody else was there yet. We, of course, chose the most choice site. It had a great tent spot that was hidden in some tres and a separate kitchen area complete with fire ring. We even had a perfect bear bagging tree close by.

We planned ahead and picked up a backcountry cookbook so we could try some new food. For our Friday dinner, we chose a sloppy joe type of thing that turned out great. Most of it was a mixture we made before leaving and stored in a zip lock. Then we made some biscuit dough at the campsite and cooked it with the rest of the food. Mmmm, warm biscuits. And another plus was that we made it with soy crumbles instead of hamburger, so it'd be acceptable to any vegetarians we camp with.

For Saturday we had two dinner plans: Fresh fish from the lake, or prepackaged dehydrated meal from REI. We had heard the prepackaged food was actually pretty good these days and we wanted to check it out. It turns out that we were able to use both dinner plans because I caught some fish, but we were still hungry for more food.

The fishing was slow at first, but then I found the fly they wanted. After that I pulled in (I think) 5 really nice fish. One of them was full of eggs, so I decided to throw it back and hopefully help preserve the future of the lake. My good gesture was rewarded with several more fish. I'm generally a catch and release fisher so it felt a little strange to be keeping a couple. I don't think I've kept a fish since I was younger. Again, we had planned ahead and brought some spices to make blackend trout. I haven't cleaned a fish in a super long time, but I guess I did alright cleaning these two. The end result tasted soooo good. I wish we had taken some pictures. I should have maybe kept another one of the fish, but we filled our bellies with some prepackaged beef stew. It was quite good, so I think we'll try some more of those meals. They're great for cleanup because you cook them in the pouch so there's no pot to clean.

Here's the cute shot of the weekend: