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

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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:

Grand Canyon Journal - Monday September 12 2005 - Day 10 - The final day

River covered: Mile 212 to 225. Pulled out rafts at Diamond Creek

The final day is bitter sweet for me. On one hand I can't wait to get home, but on the other hand I'm bummed that my awesome is over. I find it a little irritating to see how happy some people were that the trip was finally over. As if it was all some horrible experience of camping in the desert.

We landed the boat at Diamond Creek where there was a bus waiting to take us back to Flagstaff. In the way back we stopped at an ice cream place on Route 66. The whole route 66 thing is pretty cheesy, but it was amusing to see all the places that are still trying to hold on to this particular piece of nostalgia.

Now I'm back in civilization and ready to get home. It's a long drive and it's sure to be boring because we're taking 2 highways: I-40 and I-25. 800 miles of good 'ole interstate driving. Ugh! I need to take another Grand Canyon vacation. An oar trip next time though.

Diamond Peak - The elevation of Diamond Peak is about the same as Lee's Ferry, so it gives you a good visual of how far the river drops

The raftOur dry bags

This is how I'd like to remember Rob: Sitting on the boat, sharing an interesting story about the Canyon or its geology. In this case, he's urging us to get involved in conserving the things we love.

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Grand Canyon Journal - Sunday September 11 2005 - Day 9

River covered: Mile 173 to Mile 212. Camped at Pumpkin Springs

Not much of an exciting day. The main goal was to get down river and set ourselves up to be at Diamond Creek for a 10:30AM pickup tomorrow. The sun was a real scorcher all day and we were in a part of the canyon that doesn't get much shade. Jumping in the river at lunch felt soooo nice. We went through Lava Falls today, which is a category 10 rapid created by one of the Canyon's many lava flows. I hate to say it, but it paled in comparison to some of the other rapids we went through.

Rob scouts Lava Falls

One of the more exciting things today was finding a baby scorpion. It was crawling up my leg on the raft. It's pretty rare to see scorpion in the Canyon, and probably even more rare to see a baby one. Rob pulled the boat over to a beach so I could set it in the sand.

Our camp was just downstream from a place Rob called "Tapeats Museum" for the really cool "sculptures" of Tapeats Sandstone carved by the water. I was fishing when Rob took a few people over there, so I ended up checking it out myself a little while later. It was worth the short trip.

In the evening we had a "no-talent" show where people told stories, (bad) jokes, performed skits, whatever. I wrote a haiku about dinner blowing over in the wind. It sucks to think that tonight is my last night in the Canyon.

Rob explains to us the various theories on how the Canyon was formed

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Grand Canyon Journal - Saturday September 10 2005 - Day 8 - Havasu

River covered: Mile 152 to Mile 173.

The wind last night died down into a comfortable breeze. It cooled me off nice and I was able to sleep well before our early start. I had prepared my gear in advance so I was ready to go quickly. Gee, do you think anyone could tell I was excited? We rolled out early and were the first raft to arrive Havasu. It was a treacherous parking job in the swift current, but we eventually got it all set up right. The hike was pretty easy as far as elevation gain, but we were traveling up a stream bed and had to walk over a lot of boulders. The route also took us through wild grapes and thorny bushes, and the end result was worth it. Hopefully the photographs will do it some justice.

Havasu CreekBeaver Falls
Beaver FallsDad in pool at Beaver Falls

We played around in the pools for a while then we went on the AZRa “safari” portion of the hike. We started by traversing a couple logs until we reached a rock face with an underwater ledge, which we then traversed. It was only a 5.5-5.6 type of route but the excitement was high. After crossing the ledge we were able to toss our packs up to Rob, who had climbed across a gap and onto another ledge. From there, the non climbers hopped into the awesome pool we had reached, and a few of us climbed up to the ledge with Rob. Then it was a sweet 15’ plunge into the cool blue water below. A highlight of the trip for sure. I look forward to hiking down from the rim someday.

The wall we traversed More traversing to get to the pool
View of pool from high above Jacque jumping into pool
Brent jumping into pool

After we left Havasu, it was time to make some serious miles. We forged on as long as we could and it turned out that the campsite we were shooting for was pretty sucky at the low water levels we were having, so we pushed on a little farther. We soon found a new campsite a couple miles down the river. It was one that Rob hadn’t ever used before, and by the looks of it, not many (if any) other people had either.