Tuesday, February 28, 2006

a couple of pictures from Japan

I especially like these two photos, which I shot at a shrine in the space of 20 or 30 minutes a couple of years ago.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

small and delicious burros

My darling wife and I made (OK, mostly I in this case, but that's an aberration (and aberration is a weird-looking word!)) enchiladas/burritos Saturday:

8 burrito-size flour tortillas (today's word is "aside" - flour or corn? wouldn't that be wheat or corn?)

One large yellow onion, chopped
Six or seven cloves garlic, chopped
A can of crushed tomatoes in puree (I used about half of a big can)
1 tablespoon freshly ground coriander seeds
1 tablespoon freshly ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 can corn
1 can black beans
1 pound boring-style mozzarella
chicken or turkey breast, seasoned, pan-cooked and shredded

Assemble and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Texas man comes up short

"My heart is bigger than anybody else out there. If another skater had felt like I did today, he wouldn't have been on the podium. That's just me refusing to lose." - Chad Hedrick

uh, yeah, dude. except for the part where you "won" a silver medal.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Basket weave, Finnish twills, Gothic cross

Some examples of the latest: One of these photos is of a Finnish twill and an 8-fold basket weave, another is a pair of Finnish Twills and the third is a Gothic cross. Not all of these have been washed, so...

where can I get that jacket?

don't get too excited, this is just an anomalous flurry of photos.

Pisten bully

whatever they thought that might mean...
if you can guess the locale, you win a zillion bucks!

The candy bar that makes Idaho famous

is, of course, the frivolous and fun Idaho Spud. You can even get two dozen shipped anywhere in the United States (in the summer, shipped for a premium with dry ice - good for homemade bombs) for about 22 bucks.

Or just go to Apex, at the corner of Park and Alder streets...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

iambic pentameter

is so 1600s. Yes, a plague on Sally Potter for nearly boring me to death.

less than speedy but more than slow

the usual suspect, 2,200 meters, ended at the same moment as lap-swim time, so that wasn't exactly the fastest swim on record. But last week was very poor (except for the probably foolish 7,500 meters Sunday afternoon), so I am wholly unconcerned.

well, my encouragement didn't result in Chad Hedrick entertaining me, but of course he came in third in the 1,500, so good job, jerkoff!

Hmmm. Hey, happy birthday, Chris! I should find a picture of you when you were younger (not a picture of you when you're older...), but too lazy :)

34 is super neat. I know this from vast (almost a whole month) experience. Just fantastic. Better than the alternative, at any rate.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

long weekend's rest

Sometimes long weekends are just for chilling out... hung out with the dear, sweet wife, wove a bit, cooked a bit, watched a movie (The Aviator), played cards, bowled, had a beer. Yep, pretty heavy duty stuff.

All that, and filling out my first 1040x and a raft of other forms that head to Fresno today (fly like a bee!). No big deal.

Oh, and plus: Laughing at the Chad Hedrick/Shani Davis "feud." Sorry Chad, but you're really only here to entertain me, so get to it. :)

Friday, February 17, 2006

thinking video posts are out

on account of failing to post one. oh well, worth a try!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Fare thee well, Sammy Sosa

Slammin' Sammy has that Raffy McGwire look to him, like it's time to exit stage right and wait for The Call.

The talking heads are talking doping and how the ascension of apparent cleanskies Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn (gee, there's a guy who really grasped for the brass ring) might make Sosa's road to the Hall non-navigable.

Yeah, maybe.

But until doping came up a few years ago, nobody really talked about Cal Ripken's streak saving the game after the strike, or Tony Gwynn's golly-gee whiz-shucks crapola bringing the joy back to Mudville.

They talked about the Great Home Run Chase. Major League Baseball rode Sammy and Mark to riches, and the favor needs to be returned. In Sosa's case, in about five years.


The Dutch have a good handle on design, nee?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

no great shakes, but swimming nonetheless

In a shortened session, put in a mile-plus at lunchtime... not wonderful because my neck was a little annoyed today, no doubt with how I slept on it.

Still, any swim is pretty nice!

Poachers and their bedfellows

Maybe Harry Whittington should have been on the other end of the shotgun, but at least he got his just desserts for being a God damn poacher: Neither he nor the vice president bothered to buy upland game bird stamps before they jumped in the car - the car, for Christ's sake - to drive around looking for quail to shoot.

Pathetic, but also funny.

Here's what the vice president (through his office) had to say about the whole matter:

"It has been brought to the Vice President's attention by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department this afternoon that, although he had acquired a 125 dollar Texas non-resident season hunting license, he lacked a 7 dollar stamp for hunting upland game birds. To address any questions about the licensing:

-- A member of the Vice President's staff wrote a check for 140 dollars understanding that this would purchase a Texas non-resident season hunting license that would permit the Vice President to hunt quail in Texas. It appears now that the license itself cost 125 dollars, and an extra 15 dollars covered the cost of a Federal migratory bird stamp. The Vice President did not need the Federal stamp, as he already possessed one.

-- The staff asked for all permits needed, but was not informed of the 7 dollar upland game bird stamp requirement.

-- Because the requirement is new, the Department has informed us that it is issuing warnings, and the Vice President expects to receive one. He will take whatever steps are needed to comply with applicable rules.

-- In the meantime, the Vice President has sent a 7 dollar check to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which is the cost of an upland game bird stamp."

So pretty much it is OK to break the rules if you didn't stay up to date on them. Or, I should say, if your flunkies didn't stay up to date on them. I wonder if Cheney usually has someone else carry his gun (and yes, I am making a "Full Metal Jacket" reference).

I also notice the National Rifle Association shows no sign of issuing a safety-related statement on the matter. This is the best they could do.

Where's Eddie Eagle for such a great teaching moment?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Intelligence and so on

Spent a breezy three hours Monday at the Mother Ship, filling out forms and playing with pencils:

Timed tests:
ACER test of reasoning ability (I think, just some verbal and math reasoning stuff)
Raven Standard Progression Matrices, which is laid out pretty well here.

"Untimed" tests:
Kuder Preference Record (do you want to raise vegetables, write advertising copy for a typewriter manufacturer or keep the books for a bookkeeping service?)
a personal attitude questionnaire (MMPI Lite, more or less)

I enjoy standardized tests, so no big deal. The jury (aka the test interpreter) is out on results, however, so I'm left to be wicked curious as to how I did :)

Also, happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

two and change

Blew off swimming Friday and only played a bit of tennis Saturday, so I cashed in this afternoon (during the two-hour lap swim at the pool) and swam 3,800 meters. To my delight, I guess, the second mile was just as fast/slow as the first. What a deal.

I did actually get tired near the end, too. A good time, for certain!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

snow tire idiots

Snow has fallen in our fair city a grand total of once this winter, but yet every day, many times a day, I hear cars equipped with studded tires drive by.

Not every day, but many times, I have also heard people whine and complain (whinge, even) about the poor quality of our streets. Indeed, the need for street repairs and road work has several times been cited as an argument against expensive municipal projects.

Gee, how might these two things be related? I want to follow city councilors - and peole who chime in during council meetings - around and see if any of them a) use studded tires; and b) whine about roads. I do, strangely believe it, have better things to do with my time.

Such as? Why, whinge about studded tires!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Liquor sales

Ah, the land of the free:

My pretty and youthful wife forgot her identification, so we were 86'd from Applebee's (OK, really we were just told we couldn't sit in the "bar area," but who would want to sit anywhere else in that establishment?).

The state Legislature is working on a bill that would allow out-of-state wineries and breweries to sell directly to retailers the same way in-state outfits do (no word on distilleries, because of course you can't buy spirits such as those at the market here). The legislation is essentially a court-ordered remedy to Washington's illegal system of discriminating against out-of-state (but in-country, for Christ's sake) businesses.

A fifth of Laphroiag costs $50 in Washington but $40 in New Hampshire. Maker's Mark has the same markup, $30 instead of $20.


Thursday, February 09, 2006

semi-intentional yardage increase

I have trouble keeping track of laps, so I try different tricks to keep count. Lately, I've been counting down instead of up and reminding myself at each lap whether the number is odd or even. For some reason, that seems to help.

Yesterday, I started my countdown for the main part of the swim at 30 (to do a 1,500), which is the distance I swam Monday to make sure I got in the full workout (I was running late and didn't think I'd have time to warm down for 100 meters).

I'd been doing 1,400 and hadn't planned to go up yet, but I found there was time for 1,500. But - yes, I'm a tad neurotic - I wanted to go up in 200-meter increments, just to push myself a little. So when I got to 19 on the countdown, I just did it three times, to get the main part of the swim to a mile.

And there I stand - 2,200 meters a day. Which is not tons, but I've really only got an hour unless I start swimming at 0530, which is certainly not in the cards. Or start swimming elsewhere, which I'm not going to do either.

I'm hoping to move up to 2,400 in the next couple of weeks. I'm also hoping my technique/fitness improve enough to make the yardage increases work in the alotted time. I could certainly swim much farther, but not much faster as of yet, so that's a small pickle. But hey, it's only been five months and a few days :)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


are out of the woods in the northern Rocky Mountains, if you believe the Fish & Wildlife Service, which today published a proposed rule that would establish wolves in that area as a distinct population segment (any splitters out there want to claim they're a separate species?) and remove them from the endangered species list.

The population in 2004 had apparently reached 800-plus wolves in the region...

On a side note, the service wants to delist even though Wyoming, a recalcitrant jerkwater if ever there was one, hasn't coughed up an acceptable state law that the service says is needed to make the delisting a reality. The upshot is that the federal action would be contingent on state action. The service is more diplomatic than I am:

"However, we have determined that Wyoming State law and its wolf management plan do not provide the necessary regulatory mechanism to assure that Wyoming's share of a recovered NRM wolf population will be conserved if the ESA's protections were removed."

aka Wyoming is full of the same fuckups who shoot coyotes in southeast Washington, but in Wyoming, they put those fuckups in the Legislature.


houses of worship

I oppose solemnity in churches. In the same way, I oppose the pomp and circumstance and obsequious applause attendant to speeches by presidents.

I guess that's nothing new. Churches remind me of a Mitch Hedberg joke:

I was reading a magazine at the 7-Eleven and the clerk said, "Hey man, this isn't a library."
I said, "OK, I'll talk louder."

backpacking pigeons and other odd ducks

My pretty comparative psychologist wife spotted this amusing story about smog-blogging pigeons carrying pollution detectors in their backpacks... most pigeons I know only carry crampons and clif bars.

Speaking of birds, here's a place to go as an antidote to late-night infomercials for Ionic Breezes (too bad they aren't Ionian breezes :) and Supreme Greens. But don't stay too long or you'll turn into a severe weirdo.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

hurry-up offense

something Seattle could have used Sunday, and also something I had to use Monday to get 2,000 meters into 50 minutes. I guess the upshot is that I could go up in yardage again and not run out of time. food for thought.

Looking for a way to blow your hard-earned money on other people's junk? Here's an option.

Monday, February 06, 2006

sp continued

Well, as you might guess, the soup, while delicious, was a bit sweet...
Not in a change-the-recipe way, but in a serve-with-spicy/salty food way.

The Superb Owl and its mostly boring ads didn't move me, so I wove two scarves instead, Nos. 6 and 7 in the eight-fold basket weave. I also tinkered with a couple of variations in that weave, but one didn't work and the other, which was pretty, promised to be far too time-consuming.

So, on to a modified twill genus. If I get my act together, photos to follow.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


but not chicken noodle...

1 acorn squash
1 large yam (the orange sweet potato, not a real yam)
2 onions
6 cloves garlic
1 inch-and-a-half cube ginger
beef - a pound or pound and a half, I think
1 cup barley
3 large blops of yogurt, about the same of crushed tomatoes.
coriander, cumin, turmeric, fenugreek, cayenne, salt, pepper, paprika, fennel seed, caraway.
2 32-ounce yogurt container's worth of homemade chicken stock

makes TONS. Tasty? Should be but it is still on the stove, so who knows?

hopefully a good tonic for a night of over-indulgence (Friday). Demon rum!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

2,000 and counting

I raised the yardage - to 500, 1,400, 100 - again Tuesday, thinking that the first of the month would be a good day to go up and that I might as well get a head start. The result was fine, but I ran low on time (the pool is only open to lap swimmers for an hour at the time I swim).

You can do the math: 2,000 meters in an hour is not exactly flying :) But I've only been at it for five months and I'm 62.5 percent of the way to my arbitrary goal of two miles a day.

The main body of yesterday's workout was 1,400 meters and took about 33 minutes, and a good (ok, really good!) 1,500 is 15 minutes. I think I need to pull my time down to the low-20-minute range to get the main body to 2,600 in the time I've got.

This is all a far cry from running, damn it. But I love the water!