Well done CVES first and fifth graders!

I enjoyed a fine evening entertained by Snoqualmie Ridge's Cascade View Elementary School's fifth and first graders. First, the fifth grade band, which immediately made me thankful for my parents making it through me and my sister's band years. Second, the first grades did a great job singing songs, reciting books, acting out the songs, and playing xylophones and other related instruments. Nice to see Spencer improvising at his young age. And the music teacher did a fantastic job putting this together.

Lots of fun, and probably the best part was the first graders, despite being in the same spot for an hour, were remarkably well behaved. Very impressive. Perhaps a couple teachers at Mount Si can learn a lesson! I'm referring to their disturbance of a school assembly about Dr. Martin Luther King that made local news around here. At least the school apologied to Rev. Hutchinson.


More from the Neuheisel era...

Another front page story.

I think Rick pissed off the Seattle Times big time. Either that or they don't like UCLA. Why is all this stuff coming out now?


How can Neuheisel get a job?

I wondered this when UCLA announced the hiring of Rick Neuheisel. This guy left a trail of controversy at Colorado and Washington, neither of which have recovered from the messes he created, and UCLA (supposedly an elite academic institution) decides to give him a chance.

Now today's Seattle Times has a front-page story about Jeramy Stevens and his run-ins with the law, including allegations of rape while he was a football player for the Huskies.

Three questions:

  1. How can the University let something like this go on? Universities should financially be above that; that is, the negative publicity from criminals on campus should be a bigger detriment to financial contributions. As one of the commenters to the article said "is this really the type of person we want our sons and daughters to rub shoulders with?" Amen.

  2. Just how many chances does one get with our justice system? What the hell? I'm all for sympathy for the rare bad choice, but there becomes a time where the line is crossed. Jeramy crossed that before 2000. Maybe we need to hold our judicial system accountable. Clearly they are not deterring a known entity's behavior.

  3. At what point does our society use capitalism in a positive way to align rewards and punishment for ethics? My wife and I cancelled our Purdue athletic club donations after having some trepidations with head football coach Joe Tiller. Why don't more people do the same?

At least UW is standing behind Ty Willingham as he tries to clean up the Neuheisel mess. All indications are that the character of the program is leaps and bounds ahead of what Neuheisel created.

I wonder...

In 100 years will the term "carbon offsets" replace "snake oil" in our lexicon? Will people see references and laugh at "hey look at this 'carbon offset' thing from the early 21st century?

I have become one of them

I bought gas at Costco today for the first time. I have become one of "those people." I feel so ashamed. I wonder when I get my "Costco mafia" membership card and talking points for the unwashed?


Thank you stock market

Now that the market is down I can send in my 2007 Roth IRA contribution (and maybe my 2008 one too!). BOO YA!

Corrections are a GOOD thing.


If the Detroit Lions are smart...

...and from looking at their moves over the last few decades I would say "smart" is hardly an adjective I'd use for the Ford family and football, they should hire Mike Holmgrem as GM of the Lions. See ya Millen.


Happy Birthday Garrett!

Not a fancy day, but we did have a "Thomas the Tank Engine" party theme with just the four of us this evening. Pizza, cake, pop, presents. Simple and sweet.

Sledding at Hyak Sno-Park

I took today off and the family spent part of Garrett's third birthday at Hyak Sno-Park in the heart of Snoqualmie Pass. We originally planned on going tubing at Summit at Snoqualmie, but the 1:30 session was sold out (we arrived there at 1pm) so we headed down the road to Hyak. After paying the $10 parking fee we found a parking spot in a busy lot.

It was a gorgeous day today - not a cloud in the sky all day so far as I could tell. The kids enjoyed sledding for a good couple of hours before the sun "set" at 3:45 (the sun just goes behind the mountains... which makes it pretty cold).

Many people tailgated which seems like a great idea. No food or restaurants within 20 miles save one gas station.

Compared to the $75 we would have spent tubing, we a) got more sledding runs in and b) had more flexibility on how we spent our time. We'll be back.

Picture gallery is here.

Yep that's some deep snow.

Cool pic on our drive home. The snow in the Pass was about 10 feet high!


Garrett's Birthday party at Dig It Fossils

Amy found something new to try for Garrett's third birthday party - Dig It Fossils up in Everett. We invited six of Garrett's friends plus Spencer and tried it out. We had fun! They walk you through three different areas where the kids can dig for fossils, rocks, etc. In one area you find a shark tooth embedded in a "rock," and the provide tools for extracting the tooth and polishing it. You can even make a necklace out of it if you want. A very different experience and the kids didn't seem to get bored of it.

The big dig

The search

Garrett finds a tooth!

I had to help Garrett with his fossil.

Spencer digging his fossil out.

Garrett polishing off his shark tooth.

Spencer gets his Blue Stripe Belt

The obligatory Animoto video...


I would like to see the entire game

This is a call to every company out there that is involved with recording television shows.

I don't know how Windows Media Center (back when I used MC it was just as bad) or TiVo work in this space, but I am getting frustrated by Directv's capabilities. Specifically, Directv needs to fix:

1. Ability to record an event. I do not want to record channel 773 from 4pm to 6:30pm. I want to record the Detroit Red Wings game. That usually runs over. And that means I always miss the end of the game unless I happen to be home to remember to record the show right after the game. Granted this only occurs when Versus or HDNet show the game (NHL Center Ice records like six hours so never a problem... maybe they have the foresight to figure this out).

I hear the Wings beat Vancouver 3-2 last night. Too bad my recording stopped while 2-2 with five minutes to go in the game. Would have liked to see the shootout.

2. As I've pontificated before, I really want Directv to provide more intelligent search and recording capabilities. I understand TiVo does this really well. So copy what they do! Sheesh. I want to record all Detroit Red Wings games, just one version of it. How hard can that be to implement? Have a college intern figure it out.

At some point the overhead to manage recordings outweighs the benefits of doing so. Big Ten Network is valuable to me only to the extent that I can record the games and watch them later. I think NHL Center Ice has figured this out, and to a lesser extent so has NFL Sunday Ticket. Both will have their listings over a large block of time. Granted, that is a hack, but nonetheless it works. It does put the networks at a disadvantage. However, why can't Directv get a end of game indicator to signal a game or event is over? Seems like this would apply in a lot of situations - presidential speeches, "we interrupt this broadcast," etc.

New Garmin Colorado 400t - exclusive from REI?

Got a really cool email today from REI... Garmin has created a new, wireless sync, topographical maps included GPS receiver. Drool. Called the Garmin Colorado 400t, it apparently is only available from REI.

I Googled on it, and see it in a lot of places on the web. Amazon has a listing for it, but it is not in stock and it has it at a lower price. So not sure if its truly exclusive to REI or REI is saying it's only available online as opposed to their retail stores.

Very cool if REI was able to land an exclusive, but I don't have to have this device today (I need it soon though :) ).

My Garmin GPSMap 60Csx has served me very well, so well that I can't wait to get my hands on Garmin's latest!

We don't need economic stimulus

We need a) education and b) a return to an era of personal responsibility. Education is needed to teach people the fundamentals of capitalism, economics, and personal finance. Personal responsibility so that those who make poor, risky choices need to face consequences from their decisions when things don't go well (of course they get to keep the rewards when things turn in their favor).

Why do those who took on safe mortgages have to bail out those who took out risky mortgages? Why must we turn to the government every time life gets a little inconvenient? Yet another waste of taxpayer money, another incentive for people to do stupid things, and another punishment for those who are responsible. No wonder Carl Sagan said we are a backwards society.

There's a reason its called a "correction"... something needs correcting! Sigh.


A beautiful day in Seattle

You can't say that very often in Seattle, so the family got outside for a little bit today to enjoy the sun which ended our two straight months of rain and clouds (or so it seemed).

Including some other pics as well.

Garrett is getting quite adept at the computer.

Some artwork from Spencer, including a cool football picture he drew after I attended the Seahawks-Cardinals game.

Nice view of Mount Si from the park in Snoqualmie

The boys in the same shot.


As you can see, Spencer lost a tooth this week.

Linksys WGA600N Review

Rock on! Wow, what a difference an adapter makes. The throughput on this is unbelieveable. I didn't all of sudden get mad skillz over the last couple of days, but since upgrading my XBox 360 to a Linksys WGA600N on Friday all of sudden I am ending up with the most points on Call of Duty 4. Four bars, all the time. No drops. All the while my Mac is uploading a gig of pictures. Very impressed with the connection reliability of the WGA600N relative to my old Xbox wireless adapter. I haven't had to touch the configuration once since I installed it.

By the way, for you Mac owners out there... the web-management utility for the WGA600N doesn't work in Safari 3.0, but I did get it to work under Firefox. Still a little disappointed that Linksys doesn't have better Mac support, but once its up and running, its a dream.

Another awesome dinner at Jak's in Issaquah

Amy and I are getting predictable. With an exception in December where we went to Dahlia's Lounge in Seattle (man you have to try their duck and their homemade potstickers and sauce), we've been hitting Jak's in Issaquah whenever we get the chance. Which has been like 5 times in the last three months. And of course despite the 1.5-2 hour wait (they don't take reservations), we have yet to be disappointed (I continue to opt for their Top Sirloin). How lucky we are to have found this little gem tucked into a hole in the wall in Issaquah.

If you go, order the "UFO" as your potato dish. It's not on the menu, but they still serve it. I'll let you see what it is :)


Big test for the Red Wings tonight

Ah, this feels good. Being able to sit down in my home, flip on the Wings in HD against one of their peers at the top of the NHL. Looking forward to a great game.

Installing a Linksys WGA600N Gaming Adapter

Lately I've been unhappy with my Xbox Live connection speed, and with the number of wireless devices sharing my 802.11n wireless router, I decided to buy my first 802.11n client device. Linksys makes a 802.11n wireless game adapter that supposedly will work with my Xbox 360. So I ordered one to upgrade my "ancient" 802.11g adapter.

Got the product today, open it up wondering whether it would install seamlessly on the 360... no such luck. It comes with an installation CD that runs only on Windows. Bah, what to do. I get on Linksys web site, look for some docs or tech specs, no such luck. Ah, but they do have online chat support, so I try that. Sure enough, after a while, a tech support dude tells me I can use a web browser, connect to the factory default static IP ( and configure the wireless settings that way.

My *.*.1.* subnet is occupied by my Vonage router, so I connect it up and sure enough able to play with the device settings to my liking. Take it to the 360, connect it up, run through the "Test Connection" wizard... and for some reason DNS is not working. Argh. Back to connecting it to my Vonage router. I gamble and change the setting to dynamic from static IP (this is only supposed to affect the IP address of the device) and disable some other features I've never heard of, and sure enough it worked.

So how was the performance? No worse than my old adapter, and at times I did notice I got a four-bar signal, something that never happened with my old adapter. Most importantly I don't think my Xbox Live connection will crap out anymore whenever someone gets on the computer and starts downloading their favorite Youtube or MP3s.


It's now official

What has previously been reported is now official. Welcome to Purdue, Danny Hope! I'm looking forward to 2009. Not sure if I am looking forward to 2008, though :)


poor product selection, being out of stock on many items, extremely high prices (higher than, say, gas stations), and lack of a good bakery/produce is not a recipe for business success on Snoqualmie Ridge. The Seattle Times is reporting that the owners have filed for bankruptcy.

To be fair, the City of Snoqualmie and the land owners didn't help matters. They refuse to let that space be built facing Snoqualmie Parkway (the main thoroughfare) so they miss out on passer-by traffic, and I'm sure the rent there is just as outrageous as the rents other business owners pay in the area. Still, hard to believe that a grocery store can't be successful with the number of residents and kids in Snoqualmie Ridge and the fact that Snoqualmie doesn't have a grocery store.

Hopefully someone with a little more business sense can make effective use of that retail space, although the space is too small for a large chain like QFC or Safeway to move in.

I hate to be non-sympathetic to the owners who took a business risk, but I felt they simply tried to take advantage of the community by price gouging them. No wonder people continued to shop in Issaquah and North Bend.


On the Purdue head coach situation

Now that I think about it, keeping Tiller around in 2008 isn't a bad idea.

1. You have to pay his salary anyway. His contract runs through 2010.
2. He, IMHO, hasn't been putting too much effort into the program in the last 3 years. So, not like there can be a drop-off.
3. Someone has to calculate hang time.
4. He can't insult the fanbase any more than he already has.

I guess I don't like the idea of keeping him around "just so he can get the record." Seems shady to me. If he wanted the all time wins record at Purdue, he could have done that the last three years!!!

I guess I'd also like to see Danny Hope put his mark on the program right away. This isn't a situation where Purdue is doing very well and simply time for Joe to retire and this is a smooth way to do it. Purdue is heading downhill with no brakes in site. Saved only by the fact that we play I-AA and MAC teams every year. I hated with Minnesota and Wisconsin used to pad their schedules like that, and I hate when Purdue does it.

This is pretty pathetic

The Seattle Times is disclosing some emails to the University of Washington outlining fans input into Ty Willingham's status as head coach.

I am all for customers (that's what the fans are, customers) withholding support for tickets, merchandise, etc related to the product in question - after all, college football is run as a business, and as tickets go up in price there's no reason not to expect a better product on the field.

But to make a choice not to fund a non-athletic scholarship based on the employment status of the head football coach? That crosses the line of reason.

Fortunately, I don't know anyone personally who takes things that far with their program, whether its my Purdue friends or friends of other schools. Unfortunately, I do know programs like Notre Dame have a boatload of alums who do take things that far. When its ND, I simply lump it into the "well, that's why I have a problem with ND." When it's a state university (and a high quality one at that), well, now I have a problem.


Another news story on Purdue, Hope, and Tiller

Tom Kubat of the Lafayette J&C reporting what everyone seems to already know.

While I like the idea of Danny Hope coming on board, why wait a year to made him head coach here? If he's the right guy in 2009, why isn't he the right guy in 2008? Please don't tell me about "mistreatment" of Joe Tiller, someone who a) has consistently insulted many a Purdue fan and alum over the years and b) someone who has been pulling down seven bills a year for quite a while.

Purdue has a new head football coach lined up

This is good news (finding a new coach) in my opinion. Although I'm not sure how the coaching chemistry will be next year with Danny Hope on board as a head coach, I like the idea that the new coach for 2009 can recruit in 2008 and the recruits know who their coach will be. If you're not going to replace Tiller now, this is a good option. Although my preference is for a replacement now :)

I gotta believe Brock Spack had his eye on the head coaching spot. Hopefully he recognizes that his stock has taken a hit in recent years with the Boilers' poor defensive showings (as opposed to the great defenses he produced in the early Tiller years.

I'll pontificate later on "good riddance" to Joe Tiller.


If anyone wants free $25...

... and you're willing to open an ING Direct online savings account email me (jvreagan at gmail dot com). ING Direct no longer has the best rates online, but they are good, and in the 6 years I've had an account there I've had zero problems. In fact their easy to use online tools are the reason I stick with them even though their rates are no longer the best.

Not sure if the Telegraph is considered mainstream in the UK...

... but they just named General Petraeus their man of the year for bringing stability in Iraq and defeating Al Qaida there. My how times have changed in a year.


Google Maps delivers Iowa Caucus results

Very cool idea from Google on an innovative use of Google Maps. Saves me time from hunting down the results from various news sites across the web.


Check out our Fathead

We (ok, Amy) recently redid the toy room upstairs, decorating it in the colors and decor of our alma mater, Purdue. The walls were painted with Old Gold paint from Home Depot. Amy put a football field on one wall, the rest donn the Old Gold and Black (and white).

We also picked up a Purdue football field rug - very cool and sits nicely on the existing carpeting. Hopefully it absorbs spilled juice and milk without a trace.

And finally we ordered a Fathead Purdue helmet for the football field wall. We finally got around to putting it up tonight. Turned out much better than I expected and the Fathead was much easier to put on the wall than I expected. In addition, we got (for free) two smaller decals that we put on either side of the closet. I wish I would have known Fathead did those smaller ones - we'd buy a bunch of those to decorate the room.

Yes that's Garrett trying to convince me to let him watch a movie at 9pm at night. He won.

This picture shows how well Home Depot's paint matched Purdue's official colors.

And thus closes 2007

What a great year. If 2005 was a year of transition, and 2006 was a year of adapting and getting settled, then 2007 was definitely a year of feeling of belonging. I finally feel like I'm a part of the Snoqualmie community, our neighborhood, and the Seattle area. I continue to make new friends, have new experiences, and find ways to give back. All while keeping to my commitment of being a true father to our two sons. To summarize, I would say 2007 was a year of eye-openers for me.

It is the year I became convinced I wouldn't sell our house no matter what the offer - our neighbors are just too valuable. They share the same humble backgrounds, the same family values, and are steadfast to those values even if we are in the minority in our community and this area of the country.

It is the year I figured out how to get deeply involved with the community by volunteering to help run the local Little League (Fall City, not Snoqualmie Valley, for those in the area). While the crux of my work will come in 2008 and beyond, nonetheless it feels good to get involved at such a deep level.

It is the year I helped support Amy move from one church to another, which was definitely not easy for her given her countless hours of volunteering at her old church. Nonetheless, it is clear that the move was the right one and she continues to get more and more involved and while things aren't perfect for her yet it's clear she is moving in the right direction.

It is the year that I watched my eldest son grow into a responsible little boy, as he does little things without my involvement or oversight. It's the year that the hard work in shaping his values starts to bear fruit, as he won a citizenship award and continues to get high marks in school for citizenship (even if he does lack focus and attention!). It's the year he made his own decisions (and right ones in my opinion) regarding his extracurricular activities and his commitment to them.

It is the year that my youngest son showed me he has an independent mindset and can hike with the best of them despite being two years old. And I learned he is both exactly like his brother and very different from his brother.

It is the year I bought my first Seahawks jersey, attended my first Seahawks game, attended my first Washington Husky football game, and my first Apple Cup (including my first practical joke on our friends that took us to the game).

It is the year Amy and I decided to sponsor two children, ages 3 and 5, in Sri Lanka. And we also decided at some point in the future we will have to take the family and visit them. (Note: we made this decision within seconds of hearing a great story of helping from Adam Salmon who happens to be the brother of the lead pastor at our church).

It is the year we discovered our summer getaway - Lake Chelan. We will be back there over and over and over. Especially if we buy some property there.

It is the year I experienced the peaceful enjoyment of whale watching in the waters off the beautiful San Juan Islands. How lucky we are to live so close to one of the most beautiful areas of the world.

It is the year I met and had intriguing discussions with several entrepreneurs - the owners of Cozi, Dreambox Learning, and Others Online. It is the year my resume became sought after, as Google, Expedia, Omniture, and Target reached out to me.

It is the year I realized how much I do miss my old college buddies, as I was able to visit them for the Purdue - Notre Dame game this past fall. Ah but they are all just a text message away :)

It is the year I've realized I've lost contact with more friends than I can count. The older I get, the harder it is to keep in touch, even with email.

It was also a year I probably accepted the fact that a very sizeable number of adults spend a good deal of time exploiting others for their gain, namely in politics and the media. Oh well, it is what it is, and I have accepted I have to quit pointing out their hypocrisy, their selfish nature, and the damage they do to society. If others are duped, that is their responsibility.

Man am I looking forward to 2008...

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a prosperous 2008!