Some Christmas pics

I made out well on Christmas... a new waterproof, windbreaking cycling jacket, and a pair of cold-weather cycling gloves, both from REI. Tried them out a couple days ago in a steady cold rain, and along with my rainpaints they worked great. I am now officially ready for any weather the Northwest can throw at me.

Obviously the kids had fun on Christmas, and thankfully they did not get up early and we didn't have to start opening presents until 9-ish.

Pics of them and their loot...


Merry Christmas!

Santa already dropped by our house, looking forward to a fun morning with the kids :)


A fine day with friends

We invited a number of people over for Chistmas Eve "lunch." but only the Dykstras and Vassighs took us up on the offer. We enjoyed having their families over and partaking in one of my favorite entrees - deep fried turkey! Was a challenge to position the deep fryer in such a way so it didn't get blown over, didn't get rain in the oil, and didn't put the house at risk of burning down. Alas, I found a good location and we had a fine meal, enjoyed a couple of football games, and let the kids play. Perhaps the start of a fine tradition at the Reagan abode.

This year's family Christmas photo


Need some fantasy football help

Ok, I made it to the championship game as a #4 seed, blowing out the #1 team 93-28. Now I face a team with LaDanian Tomlinson and Chicago as a defense. Ouch, I'm really up a river.

I will start Frank Gore at running back, but for my other starting I have Rudi Johnson, Willie McGahee, and Corey Dillon. I really don't want to rest my chances with Dillon so that leaves Johnson (at Denver) and McGahee (hosting Tennessee). My gut tells me McGahee.

My WRs suck: Larry Fitzgerald, Chris Henry, Heinz Ward, Terry Glenn, and Javon Walker. Walker is a starter, and I will start Glenn. I can't see starting Fitzgerald, so down to Henry vs. Ward. Both can put up big numbers in a game, but rarely do. I need to flip a coin on this one.

Something tells me I should consider starting Henry and Johnson, resting my chances on the Bengals putting up points in Denver.

And we should be having dialogue with Iran?

Judge rules Iranian government financed 1996 Saudi terrorist bombing.

Duke LaCrosse

Fortunately I don't have to pontificate too much on this, as someone else has done that for me.

A lot of people's lives were severely impacted on zero evidence. Unfortunately, those that caused the damage won't have to reap what they have sewn.

I am still of the belief that the biggest danger to our way of life is a justice system that doesn't punish false accusations and/or lying under oath. You're talking about the core and basis of an entire free society. If a President can lie under oath with impunity, and the public supports it, why wouldn't other opportunists take advantage of our weak justice system?

I would vote for Donald Trump

Just for the record. Way to take off the gloves and pull no punches. Haven't had a politician stand up to a bully since Reagan took on the Soviets.


Don't want to jinx anything...

but power is back in Snoqualmie Ridge. Came back last night, and still here this morning, so that's a good sign. Looks like they ran a new line from another substation to our neighborhood, rather than actually fixing the substation and existing downed lines (which will take quite a bit of time). Good news is that hopefully that adds some redundancy for future windstorms.


Paige James, Rest In Peace

A good friend of mine lost his two year old daughter to a year's battle with cancer. Paige James, rest in peace. God bless your little soul.

Another day, no power

I'm losing count of days at this point. Hopefully we have power before Christmas. If not? No big deal, we have heat, food, and water.


Day Four

We awaken on Monday with still no power, but we did learn yesterday that our water heater has no electrical component, just gas and mechanical, so we have hot water for as long as we have gas. Felt good to get a hot shower in our own bathroom!

Yesterday we spent some time driving around the area seeing who had power and where there was damagae, and wow, did Snoqualmie Valley get hit hard. I've never had to drive under power lines that were supporting trees before, and had to a few times yesterday. I think Amy was freaking out when one powerline was no further than two feet from her side of the car.

All in all we are doing well. Aside from throwing some food out, things aren't all bad. The cold weather is keeping milk cold outside, enough areas have power so we can get gas, batteries, food, etc, so really all we are missing is TV. And missing the Lions game yesterday actually seems like a blessing rather than a loss.


Still no power

If you'd listen to the radio around here, you'd think this was the early 80s and we just suffered a full nuclear assault from the Soviets, and are experiencing "The Day After." So many references to the poor, suffering people of this area, and so much advise on how to deal with this tragedy.

Sheesh, people, there's no electricity in some parts of the area. That's it. Deal with it.

I will say, I am amazed by some of the callers, especially the one that suggested that the utility companies should have done their analysis and known exactly what was going to happen. I'm sure that caller is right... there are supercomputers out there that can tell you exactly which trees are going to fall on which power lines, and which transmission towers were going to topple in the mountains.

At least I haven't heard anyone blame this on Bush yet, although the weekend is still young.

Thankfully, Amazon has power and showers... family went down to the locker room today and enjoyed some refreshing hot water. Now off to some downtown Seattle dining, and over to the Seattle Center. Oh, the suffering my family has.


Skylight is back on the roof

At least I don't have to worry about snow on the upstairs carpet, or more accurately I don't have to climb my fat ass up onto the roof and fix it :)

But power is out and rumor has it it will take over a week to sort all this out. Puget Sound Energy says 2/3 of their customers are without power.

No power, no skylight

Wow, so that's what it's like to sleep through 30-50 MPH winds with 80 MPH gusts. Not much sleep at all, and the wind blew the skylight off our roof. At least the weather cleared up for now, but thunderstorms and snow expected on the way.

We're lucky, I already know three people that had trees fall on their house.


Batten down the hatches

Now that I think of it, I don't know how to spell "Batten". Battin? Baton? Whatever. The storm of the century is apparently hitting the Pacific Northwest this evening, with 100 MPH winds expected in the Cascades (uh, that's where I live). Snow line will drop from 3000 feet to 1000 feet, and blizzards and avalanches are on the way. We've already lost power once, and I expect we will lose power for quite a bit of time this evening. We've already grabbed food, batteries, and glow sticks for the kids. The fireplace is on, and we're ready!


Time to fix the BCS

Assuming the BCS needs fixing, after all. Here we have a system that the media asked for, and the media continues to whine about. I actually don't think the system is broken, and am glad we are getting a great Rose Bowl game even if it isn't for the MNC.

Of course, what the dipshits (and I'm being kind in using that word) in the media can't seem to grasp is basic math or common sense. Geez, guys, figure it out. NO system is going to "fairly" resolve picking 1 of n > 1 deserving teams for a slot (or two of n > 2 teams deserving of a slot) in the BCS title game. It's called math, and I'm pretty sure Spencer even understands that.

So, playoffs at Div I isn't going to happen, so what do we do? I have the answer.

Any time we have a situation where a team thinks they are getting screwed out of a BCS title game, they can invoke the gauntlet clause. What is the gauntlet clause? Glad you asked? Let me give an example.

This year, Lloyd Carr, on Sunday could jump on a plane, and be in the locker room with the #2 team when they go live on ESPN. He could then throw down the BCS gauntlet in front of Urban Meyer while yelling "LET'S GET IT ON, BITCHES!", challenging them to a game the following Saturday, right there on national TV. Game would be played at Florida. Not a playoff, but it ends the nonsense. Of course, this is not a perfect solution, as you are going to have years where multiple teams are left out, but at least we wouldn't see whining Urban Meyer in the BCS championship this year.

Frankly, I'd rather see Boise State play Ohio State. They have a better argument to be #2 than Florida does.

Go Bucks. A win by four TDs will be nice.


And like that...

the snow is gone. Simply amazing how quickly the Pacific air will warm things up here. Gotta enjoy the snow the couple days it's here. I was really looking forward to a weekend hike in the snow. Argh.


Snow in Snoqualmie

This time it really did snow in Snoqualmie. Lots of ice as well, but snow has stuck around for a couple of days, which last year was rare (nonexistant?). No school today, so Spencer had fun playing in the snow with Garrett.


Back from Hawaii

Apologize in advance for how long this page will take to load. I uploaded all the images in hi-res and "large."

What a change of pace to come back from Hawaii to snow in Seattle. Argh!

The family used the Purdue at Hawaii game as a good excuse to head to the middle of the Pacific for a week. We spent a lot of time on the beach, in the Ocean, traveling around Oahu, and catching a few major attractions.

We got in late on the 19th (after midnight), so spent the first day sleeping in and relaxing. We stayed on Waikiki, which I'm not sure we'd do again. Didn't like the price of the hotel for what we got; then again, we didn't have to worry about parking.

We spent the first morning on the beach and enjoying "riding the waves" as they came in from the south.

After a lunch at the beach, took a drive around the southeast end of the island, allowing the kids to take a nap and Amy and I to see a little of the island. That night we were back down at the beach playing in the sand.

Next day, we visited Diamond Head. Here's Honolulu from the top:

After another short drive and naps, we hit the Pearl Harbor area, taking the opportunity to tour the decommissioned battleship USS Missouri.

Spencer loved the .50-cal machine guns! (yes, that's him running to it at the end of our tour)

The next day (Wednesday), we headed to Sea Life Park, located on the southeast coast of Oahu. We weren't sure what to expect, but they had dolphins, sea lions, and sting rays, so we were hopeful it would be fun.

Along the way, we stopped and enjoyed one of the beaches... the east coast is chock full of rock and lava rock.

We only stayed at Sea Life Park a couple hours, but caught a Sea Lion show and a Dolphin show. In addition, they had penguins and sea turtles... it was hard to pull Garrett away from either one!

On the way back, we stopped at a scenic viewpoint and snapped some pictures of the rock formations in the ocean.

That afternoon, we all crashed in the hotel, and enjoyed dinner at "Cheeseburger in Paradise" in Waikiki.

Thursday was Thanksgiving, obviously, and strangely enough we awoke just in time to see the Lions kickoff at 7:30 am our time! After the Lions gave up a 10-0 lead to go down 21-10, we decided the beautiful weather was calling us and we retired to the beach. After a lazy day, we had a turkey buffet dinner at a restaurant around the corner from our hotel.

On Friday I got up and headed to the east coast to catch the sunrise, and was treated to spectacular views from a vantage point I sought out.

That day we went to the northwest corner of the island, about a 60 minute drive from the hotel, and enjoyed real waves hitting the beaches of the north shore. Too dangerous to go in without a surfboard or other floating gear, but Spencer enjoyed getting knocked down by the waves.

Finally Saturday rolled around, and we spent some more time at Waikiki beach, and finally headed to the game. We missed kickoff due to parking problems, but the game was a blast, a first for Garrett, and the first time Amy and I have been to a Purdue game in two years. We met up at halftime with a couple former tailgating friends who also made the trip to Hawaii, and it was great to see them after such a long hiatus.

And that was that. Purdue lost, 42-35, finishing the regular season at 8-5 and a bowl game in Orlando.

A very relaxing trip for me. I didn't touch work once, and made a good dent in reading the Lord of the Rings (all six books... I got through three of them on the trip). We had a couple interesting incidents, one involving Garrett, an overflowed diaper, Amy cleaning clothes in the airplane lavatory, and me cleaning an airplane seat. The other incident involved me leaving a bag (my computer, PSP, GPS, and iPod) on the rental car shuttle on our way home. I learned I CAN jump a fence (although I did have to set Garrett down to accomplish that) and run up a set of escalators the wrong way.


First snow of the year

Not in Snoqualmie, mind you, but rather up in the Pass. After a few hours at the Museum of Flight, I took the boys up to the Pass to see what the snow was like. Sure enough, at least a foot of snow on the ground, so I bundled them up and spent some time walking and playing in the snow. The Tubing runs weren't open yet, but they had fun nonetheless.


Detroit Lions exorcism

Funny video (if you're a Lions fan) on YouTube I found while looking for Lions videos...


1 out of 9 ain't bad

I'm talking about the Lions, and this was the first time I was truly unimpressed with the Lions' play. And even then, they looked better than they have the past five years.

Marinelli may not know how to win, but the Lions sure look good in losing.

Jon Kitna is on pace to break Scott Mitchell's Lions' record for passing years in a season. Three Lions are on pace for 80 catches this year (Jones, Furrey, Williams). Ernie Sims looks the real deal.

Where oh where did Dre Bly go? I really thought he would be hitting his prime this year, and no such luck.



Microsoft to offer movies and video via XBox 360

This really isn't a surprise, except for the fact that I expected it eariler. I fully expect the 360 to turn into a home control, media center, and e-commerce hub for the home. The platform is there.

Record Floods in the Snoqualmie Valley

This really doesn't affect me directly, except Spencer didn't have school today and likely won't for a few days, but the Snoqualmie River has record water flow, and the flood plains in North Bend, Snoqualmie, Carnation, and Duvall are experiencing record floods at the moment. Some news on the floods from the King County website. I guess that's nice about being on the Ridge... we are subject to the high winds, but water flows downhill.


My 300th post, and a new pic for my profile...

The obligatory family picture, updated to reflect the fall, taken on the Tokul Creek Bridge on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail on a beautiful October morning. You can't see it, but Snoqualmie Ridge is actually the ridge in the background.

Halloween Pics!

Argh, just realized I hadn't posted any halloween pics...

Seattle Museum of Flight

Spencer has been asking to go to Seattle for the past week. Today Amy and I decided to try something different - the Seattle Museum of Flight. We weren't sure what was in store for us, we hadn't been there, and we hadn't heard anything about it.

Located right on Boeing Field, the Museum of Flight is a "small" (not tiny) Museum that does a good job on the history of flight and airplanes, not just Boeing :) And they have an impressive array of interactions, which the kids love. Multiple similators, interactive teaching tools about drag/thrust/lift/gravity and yaw/roll/pitch, and various cockpits to sit in made for a fun day for the kids. And, the actual

They also have a live area outside where you can tour actual plans; today they had Air Force One and the Concorde; alas, it was raining by the time we finished the museum, so we took a rain check, literally, and will be back soon to check those out.

We bought a membership, and we plan on taking the kids back quite often. Unlike the Pacific Science Center and Chidren's Museum at Seattle Center, the Museum of Flight was not busy on a weekend, which suits me just fine.

I don't shop very often...

and it's even more rare that I enjoy shopping and get caught up in it, but that's exactly what happened Saturday as the family spent a couple hours at REI's flagship store in Seattle. What started as a visit to see what it had in store and pick up some winter gear for the kids turned into a free-for-all for Amy and I as we spent far more than planned. Of course, it's about time I upgraded my winter gear wardrobe, as it's stood pat for almost 15 years now. Now I am ready for winter tubing and skiing!


Could not have said it better myself

Great writeup on the Audi RS4.

I drove my ex-boss' RS4 last week on the way back from lunch. F-in' 100MPH in second gear before I even got to the end of a SHORT on ramp on the I-90 express lanes. I was most proud taking the turns at the end of the express lanes and having my ex-boss reach for the door handle. And the roar of the engine at idle is unbelievable.

One friggin' sweet right. Amazon stock better go through the roof so I can afford one of these.

"You're now driving war." Amen to that.


Time for more pictures

I posted pictures of our hike across Rattlesnake Mountain, so I won't repeat them here. But some updates...

Last Saturday we had a really interesting fog in the valley. As you can see, clear day, except for the very low fog in the Valley. The picture is taken from Snoqualmie Ridge as we descend down the Parkway into the Valley. Very cool, and the first time I can remember seeing mountain tops but not the bases!

We had a visitor in our backyard a couple weekends ago. I thought we left our deer troubles behind in the midwest!

Amy posing at Grand Prospect.

Amy took Spencer to a Lego event where Spencer got to participate in helping make a Lego exhibit. And of course he came home with a new box of legos.

Spencer at Remlinger Farms on "the boat."

On the tractors at Remlinger Farms.

Garrett in a couple of pumpkin patches.

Nice picture of me and Spencer... me refereeing, and Spencer taking a corner kick.

On the boat ride at Remlinger Farms.