Enjoying the fine weather

Mid-50s, cloudy. What a great August day. It should be against the law to have to wear long sleeve shirts in August. I'm sure Obama can change that, given his amazing track record of accomplishments and getting things done.

Got a good hike in on Tiger Mountain this morning, where the cool weather is actually a blessing, although no good viewpoints once you get to the top.

Sadly this might be the nicest day of the weekend.


Is Sarah Palin enough to tip the scales?

Surprisingly to me, McCain has stronger support in the Republican party than Obama has within the Democratic party (87% to 82% last I checked). Much is being made of the PUMA (party united my ass) votes on both sides - in such a tight race that 15% average will decide the election.

I will say, I am more likely to vote for McCain than I was two hours ago. Palin has a great reputation for taking on corruption, even against her peers in the party.


School will start on time in SVSD

Good news that both sides came together a week before school started (as opposed to the 11th hour).

Now, whatever happened to that bond to get a new High School???

Microsoft cashback back to school days

Extra savings from Microsoft cashback. Enjoy.


Great to have a new grocey store on the Ridge

Well, not really, but the fact that the new gas station has a) a better variety of goods and b) better prices seems to be positioning the new station as a grocery store. Good for us, and I've shopped more at the gas station the last month than the IGA!

Methinks they are going to need more retail space soon...


Many firsts taking on Bandera Mountain

I got up early this morning and headed out to my first hike ever along the north ridge of the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River. Bandera Mountain (5150 ft up) was beckoning, and I choose it to cut my teeth in this area. Outstanding hike (pics here, and turns out it was my first time...

  • seeing Seattle from the Cascade Mountains

  • seeing Mount Adams from the Cascades

  • seeing a black bear while hiking

Sadly, it was definitely not the first time I've forgotten my NW Forest Pass, my insect repellent (boy did I pay for that today), or my hiking poles.

Spotting the black bear was cool. I was on a boulder scramble near the summit, happened to be looking toward the east into a meadow (if you call a huge patch of grass and rocks that's on a 45 degree slope a meadow), and just happened to catch it. It was about 250 feet away, and it held still while I snapped a picture. After that it took off into the woods away from me. Way cool.

Met a very nice couple from Maple Valley there, and they took a picture of me at the summit.

Nice beaver!

The bear. You can get higher res pics here

Not sure why, I just think that it being ok to have a campfire at 3995 feet but not 4005 feet is funny.

Some pics from Mt Catherine

It was a nice day Saturday, so we decided on a quick hike - Mt Catherine located in Snoqualmie Pass. The sun angle played havoc with me, so not all the pictures turned out, but did manage to capture a couple good ones.

Silver Peak in the background

Mount Rainier

Tried to get Rainier in the background on this one but came up short


Hey Bob Costas...

... at least TRY to fool someone with that hair of yours dude! Sheesh.


Star Wars: Clone Wars Review

Some spoiler follows...

So Spencer and I made it to the midnight showing of the new Star Wars movie, Clone Wars. I was glad the theatre (we went to Crossroads Cinema in Bellevue) wasn't sold out, and we had excellent seats. The Clone Wars take place between episodes II and III of George Lucas' movie series, and a Google on the topic will give you all the background you can handle. I had seen the two Clone Wars cartoon movies made several years ago (just called Vol I and Vol II) which were compilations of the TV series, which in turn were based on the Clone Wars Adventures book series. I enjoyed both the book series as well as the movies.

I left the theatre with mixed feelings. On the one hand, the movie was well done - it did not feel cartoony, the dialogue was very good for a Star Wars movie, and there was tons of action as part of the plot, as opposed to gratuitous action. The characters were well played, and I felt were more true to their real character, especially Count Dooku. On the flip side, the Clone Wars as part of the Star Wars story are an era involving all the Jedi in a variety of conflicts, as well as numerous leaders and warriors emerging as part of the separatists. The movie only covered one aspect of the Clone Wars - a plot involving the kidnapping of Jabba the Hutt's son - and only a few characters (Yoda, Anakin, Obi-Wan, Dooku, Asajj Ventress, and Ahsoka Tano). For a 105 minute movie, I felt they would have been better served covering a broader set of conflicts and showing the Jedi or their evil counterparts in their glory than unfolding a single plotline.

For example, General Grievous comes to power as Count Dooku's second-in-command during the Clone War period, and his character is never shown. If there is a character that epitomizes the Clone Wars, it is General Grievous.

Again, the animation was excellent. Even times when you could barely tell it was animated. And in the end it actually made for better scenes than using real people and props. If there was a downside to the animation it was that the lightsaber fight scenes were too fast - they were jumpy rather than more "realistic." On the plus side, the droids had a lot of dialogue, most of it actually funny.

Another interesting aspect were the character voices. Some were replicated very well (Obi-wan, Dooku), others weren't even close (Anakin, Padme) - as if they didn't try. Samuel L. Jackson was the voice of Mace Windu, even though he had a small part.

I don't regret seeing this movie, but I also don't seeing myself taking time out to watch it again. Then again, maybe this is the first in a series, and LucasFilm wants to see how this goes before announcing sequels? That would be a good thing.


First time I've ever sucked a Camelbak dry

No, I'm not talking about that band from Saudi Arabia. I actually ran out of water today (stored in my Camelbak) on my hike up McClellan Butte.

Good luck, John

Our little quartet just won't be the same without you. Not to mention no more big screen HDTV for us, shithead.

Enjoy Germany and hope we can make it there next year. We'll save your seat at Finaghty's for your return.

Closely watching the developments in Georgia

Their President has done an amazing job cleaning up the country. They are more American than America (meaning, they subscribe to the principles of America's founding fathers more than Americans do today). As such, they are right up there with Israel and South Korea as countries I have a deep respect for.

As such I'm more than a little frustrated at the lack of US and EU (well, NATO) response to what's happening in Georgia. South Ossetia aside (Georgia and Russia can duke that out without our help), we should be sending a strong message to Russia, just as Kennedy did in the early 60s and Reagan did in the 80s.

Some good sites have popped up:
Georgia Ministry of Foreign Affairs blog - other links from there.


Clone Wars tickets are in hand

Spencer and I will be attending the midnight showing of the new Star Wars movie tomorrow night. Looking forward to it as I actually liked the two cartoon Clone Wars movies done several years ago. Will see how well I hold up into the wee hours of the night.

Happy Birthday to my wife


Gmail Idea

Give me the ability to automatically flag an email as fraud. Then automatically forward the email to the appropriate agencies, and copy (auto or manual) the company that's being frauded. Google should be able to pull this off easily.

Users that abuse this have the feature disabled.


Call Congress Back

Very cool, a petition online already asking Pelosi to reconvene Congress for a vote.

And scenes from Capitol Hill.

Ball in Dems court. :)

An open letter to Pelosi from House Republicans

This is going to be a very interesting week.

Kudos to the Republicans for growing a set. Six years too late, but better late than never.

Following the House Republicans pushing for a drilling vote

This is fun to follow. Liveblogging here from John Boehner. And both Boehner and John Culberson posting tweets on twitter. Great use of social media to keep the people informed and have transparency to the process. Sorry MSM, you've been bypassed... which, by the way, also means you're irrelevant.

Wonder why the Dems don't want to vote on this? I mean, just because 70% of Americans want us to drill in US territory, why would you want put that before Congress?


Scratching my head for gift ideas

Wow I just love this time of year. Anniversary in late July, wife's birthday in mid-August. Within a month I have to come up with (or at least try to come up with) at least two decent gift ideas. I'm pretty sure that is also what will be waiting for me in the third level of hell. With any luck Congress will investigate this kind of tortune and do something about it.

I have yet to see a web site out there that has anything even close to a good gift suggestion feature. I mean, Amazon's is pretty bad - leaves me thinking "WTF... even I can do better than that."

I've never resorted to a gift card, but man that is awfully tempting this year.

Capitalism at its best

Kudos to someone who saw a need in the market and filled it (no pun intended). Those crazy Brits.