A semi-daily chronicle of my life as a musician, a family man, and a citizen of Oregon.

Sep 29, 2007

Florence Adventure - Woahink Lake Summer '07

From August 18th through the 23rd our family went on an adventure to Woahink Lake in Florence, Oregon, which is near the famous sand dunes.

Map image

We were staying for a week in a nice beach house we had rented with a bunch of our friends.  Our friend Russ brought his boat and the purpose of the trip was to water ski and wakeboard for Jen and the kids.  We had lots of fun.

While we there Andrew learned how to first waterski, then wakeboard.  Our friends Mike and Keavin helped Andrew get a feel for the waterskis and helped him get up & going.

Sep 26, 2007

Linux Alternative

This is the bomb - a listing of all the software you don't want to use commercially and its linux alternative.

The bomb, I tells ya.

Mom's Visit Part IV

I can't believe I'm still blogging about Mom's visit but here I am posting the last pictures from her trip.  That's how much stuff happened in that week.  It was intense.  :)

On Friday, August 10th Brianna, Jen, Mom, and me headed out with our friends Russ & Bev to Koppert Lake.  This is a man-made lake run by Active Water Sports that was designed specifically for water skiing and wakeboarding.  As a birthday present I had bought Jen three lessons.  Russ signed up for three as well.  For those of you who don't know, Russ is a rock star on the water.

Here he is in action:

Jen did two runs on the regular boat - and then they got out the B-52, which is a wakeboard boat that puts out a gigantic wake.

Sep 23, 2007

The World in 250 million years?

According to this article on the NASA website, we may be headed toward another Pangea.

Hopefully we'll all have figured out how to get along with one another by then.

Sep 18, 2007

Thoughts on Camp - or Man as Tool Maker

The first night of camping in Astoria on Friday I had a little bit of trouble getting to sleep.  The air matresses hadn't worked out (a problem we solved the next day when I bought one of these foot billows, which work great) so we were sleeping on the cold, hard ground.  Andrew was snoring like a freight train.  I was in a good place, though and I was kind of laying there in our tent with all four people in my family and thinking about this kind of camping vs. all of the RVs and trailers we were surrounded by. 

Jen and I have been talking about buying a tent trailer lately.  Prior to this year both of our biggest issues with the tent trailer idea was that it seemed like it was just one step away from the RV or trailer.  Neither Jen or I really think of RVs or Trailers as really camping, but rather as something that old people do.  But we both realized that if we did get a little tent trailer with a heater our camping season would be a lot longer and we wouldn't necessarily have to worry so much about getting all of our camping in during June, July, and August.

So as I was laying there on the cold hard ground I was reflecting on the fact that next year we'd probably have a tent trailer with a heater and instead of laying in a tent I'd be laying in the tent trailer - off the ground and hopefully with a heater.  Maybe even with a sink or something.

I started to think about how the good thing about tent camping, even if you do it with the family and cooler out of your truck/car,  (ie, not "backpacking" style) is that it makes you appreciate what the world is actually like versus the artificial construct of a world and society that we create for ourselves. 

I enjoy my life and my house and my laptop & all that.  At the same time, the earth is a lot more basic than that.  Tent camping helps you understand that the earth is ground and trees, plants, minerals.  I know a lot of serious campers who are also kind of environmentalists and laying there that night I couldn't help but think how important it is that I keep riding the MAX to work, teaching the kids how to recycle, trying to make sure that we do a much better job of limiting our water use.

But the irony of the whole thing is that I've never met a single camper or backpacker who didn't love a campfire.  We all do - campfires are an inseparable part of camping, like Christmas trees at Christmas.  And you have to think about what that's doing to the environment.

I also started thinking about how when you realize that you've forgotten something camping, like a spatula or whatever, the very first thing that you do is:

a) start thinking about what materials you have available to you to improvise the same function

b) take inventory of what other tools you have at your disposal that would suit the same purpose.

Basically the point is that it is in our DNA to  act out our evolutionary role as tool makers.  Either we make something, or find a use for something that is in excess of its original purpose to us.  For me it's part of that same evolutionary hard-coding that makes building a campfire and indispensable part of camping.

The paradox is that even as we appreciate the world as it actually is, or at least more stripped of man's influence than what we typically interact with on a day-to-day basis, we exhibit our tool maker nature and it is this nature that causes us to slowly destroy the world that we are trying to connect with.

Sep 16, 2007

Back from Astoria

Just got back from Astoria where we did the SOLV beach cleanup at Fort Stevens.  We camped there Friday and Saturday and headed back today after getting some lunch at Moe's on Canon Beach.  Will write more about that later.

Luckily, we didn't run into any grizzly bears:

Sep 14, 2007

Mom's Visit Part III

Thursday August 9th was a pretty good day.  First off - I had to go to work because I was interviewing for a new opportunity at work, which I ended up getting, which is great.  Since then it's really turned into a lot of work - but it's not like I didn't know that beforehand.

While I was going through all that interviewing stuff Jen, Brianna, and Mom went to the International Rose Garden, which is located here in Portland, Oregon.  They got some of the best pictures from mom's entire visit.  First off, I'll start with the beautiful roses:


And now, some of my favorite pictures of Mom, Jen and Brianna:

Who Has The Oil, Who Uses The Oil (PIC)

This little image shows the reason for so many things in this world…

read more | digg story

Sep 13, 2007

Mom's Visit Part II

On Wednesday night of Mom's trip, August 8th, we went out to dinner at Newport Bay with Jen's grandparents, Harold and Beryl.  Jen's grandparents are really wonderful, sweet people and it was incredible for my mom to get a chance to meet them.

We found out some interesting things.  First off, Beryl also collects chickens and roosters.  In fact, her kitchen has chickens all around the borders and even has chicken curtains.   My mom also collects chickens, so there was quite a lively discussion on that subject.

Secondly, Beryl and my mom are both quilters.  I would love to elaborate on that subject, but not being a quilter myself that's about all I have to say about that.

Harold told a great story that Jen and I both heard for the first time that night.  Apparently when Harold first began courting Beryl he had a very long drive back to Corvallis when he was visiting Beryl, who lived in Mill City.  This gives you an idea:

Map image

Harold was attending pharmacy school at Oregon State University and Beryl was in secretarial school.  When Harold was in Mill City, he would spend the night at Beryl's parents' couch.  Harold said his feet were in the fishbowl.  Jen says if you saw how small their house was, this was literally true.  He also told the story about how he forgot his wallet on their first date and Beryl had to pay for the movie.  Too funny.

After dinner we got some great photographs.


We shared a lot of talking and laughing that night and it seemed like everyone had a great time.

Sep 12, 2007

Brianna's Swimming Lessons

While my mom was visiting Brianna's swimming lessons were still going on this summer.  Brianna did great in swimming, such a change from a year or two ago when she would be scared to death to go into the deep end of the pool or swimming from the boat when we went out with my friend Russ. 

This summer Brianna got through Polar Bear, which is a big deal.  That means that she can do the front crawl, the beginning of the breast stroke, and the back stroke.  She  can make it all the way across the pool.  She can also dive into the pool from the diving platform.

Sep 10, 2007

Mom's visit Part 1

Going back to trying to catch up on the haps in the household... My mom came out to visit from August 5th through August 12th. We had a great visit and a lot of fun. Obviously, I don't get a chance to see her nearly as much as I'd like so every time I do see my mom it's really special.

On her first day here we headed out to go antique shopping. Brianna, Jen, and my mom all had a really good time. For me it was looking at a bunch of old stuff but I was glad to be doing it with my mom.

On Monday we went to Canon Beach, which is the *coolest* beach in Oregon - it's not too touristy for a beach town, but still pretty high on the cheez factor. Even though it was a gray day (like the majority of days on the Oregon coast) we had a lot of fun.

After we ate a late lunch we all got new sunglasses:

We went to the beach next. I had a chance to sit and talk with my mom, play with Brianna by the ocean and attempt, unsuccessfully, to fly a kite. Brianna and Jen made a little beach town which came out really cute:

Sep 9, 2007

Hamster in a wheel

Clark and Michael

I totally stumbled upon this - the internet TV show Clark and Michael. Not being much of a TV watcher, for all I know there's a commercial on CBS about this every few minutes, but I just happened across it while watching Will Ferrel's Funny or Die.

The show is genius. I'm a huge, huge, fan of Arrested Development and this feels very much like a cross between that and The Office. Michael Cera, who played George Michael costars with someone named Clark Duke who I'd never heard of before this. The premise is that the two are writing partners who are trying to sell their series in Hollywood. Along the way wacky hijinks ensue.

This show has some great one-liners, I highly recommend starting at the first one and working your way through.

Sep 4, 2007

Jen's Triathalon

It seemed like August had as many days in it as could possibly fit in any month. We had a ton going on and I was too busy to even thinking about putting up all of the great pics we were accumulating and now the kids are starting school tomorrow and the summer (at least the fun part where you vacation all the time) is over.

I'm just going to write a little bit at a time since it'll take me so long to catch up. The first really big thing that happened actually was in July. On July 28th Jen ran her first beginner triathlon, the Luna All Women's Triathlon at Blue Lake, OR.

It was a 1/4 mile swim, 12.5 mile bike ride, and 5k run. Jen had a little bit of trouble with the swim - even though she had practiced in the lake once before it was a very long swim and it's a whole other thing to do it with 114 other people in the water with you.

One of the other racers was really great and she came over and helped Jen get oriented and on her way. That was great - definitely not something I think you'd see at a men's triathlon.

Once Jen was through the swimming part she really took off on the bike. She had the 55th fastest time (of 114) which was really impressive because she was using my mountain bike (as opposed to a street bike like most people had).

Even better, once Jen got to the run she really picked up the pace, coming in 31st of 114. When she got to Andrew he ran out into the trail to give her a high five, and she started skipping a little bit after that - you couldn't tell she was tired at all.

Brianna and Andrew both made signs for Jen. Brianna's said "You can do it, nothing to it" and Andrew's said "Mom, winner you are" with a Yoda picture on it, and a picture of Jen riding her bike, running, and swimming. Our friends Russ and Bev showed up to cheer Jen on along with Justin and Amy.

You can see all the stats yourself here. Overall the whole race took Jen 1 hour, 35 minutes and 47 seconds.

If I had done it, I would have taken 19 hours, 3 minutes, and 59 seconds. :)