Jan 31, 2008
Jan 30, 2008
Jan 28, 2008
Well, after such a great weekend what could be better than a Monday morning like this one?
As if the Blue Man Group wasn't enough entertainment for one week, I took off early from work on Friday to head to the mountains to do some winter snow-camping. (Get the "blue" reference? I'm so freaking witty sometimes, I just crack myself up.)
So, yeah.... I rushed home to meet G-rod and load his car with my gear, then take off for Lake Wenatchee State Park.
We drove east towards Stevens Pass on Highway 2, for about 2-1/2 hours, stopping only once to get a burger from Zeke's Drive-In along the way.
The road was pretty bare, although the higher we climed into the mountains the deeper the snow was along the sides of the road.
We got there around 6:30 p.m. so it was dark as we drove into the campground area.
We planned on it being dark, but we didn't plan on the snow being so deep that we couldn't drive through the campsites to pick one out.
In fact, we had to park in a 'common area' and then scout around in the dark for a suitable spot.
The snow was anywhere from 18 - 24 inches, and many times we sank into it up to our knees.
Luckily we were wearing snow-appropriate clothing so we didn't get wet.
We found one place that looked nice, but it was close to the lake and there weren't any trees to string up a tarp over our tents, so we kept searching.
It started to dawn on us that we really didn't know where we were now. EVERYTHING was covered in white and we had wandered away from the parking area. All we had were our headlamps to guide us. We started to backtrack, and found another spot where previous campers had cleared out a trail from the parking area to the site. They also had dug around the camp tables and made a big pit in the snow to build a fire.
Trees for shelter. Fire pit for keeping warm (Ha! More about that in a minute). Tables to prepare meals. Within walking distance to the bathrooms and parking area.
This, we decided, would be camp.
G & I unloaded our gear and started to dig out places in the snow to put up our tents.
We were joined by Jason and Shane around 8:00 p.m. who did the same.
Once the tents were up, we started a fire to try and warm ourselves up.
Side note: If you've been following the weather in Washington lately, you'll know that the temps have been in the mid-20's to low 40's in the Puget Sound area.
Where we were, it was 0 degrees! In fact, Jason's digital thermometer said it was -9 degrees, but we think the cold affected it's accuracy, and decided to rely on a little clip on thermometer (which said it was zero degrees). *
It was so freaking cold, that standing inches away from the fire you still could not get warm!
The cold air just sucked the heat away and all we had was the light from the fire.
We stayed up, trying to get warm, until around midnite. But we were all getting tired and the cold was sapping our energy, so we all retired to our tents to sleep.
I had a down sleeping bag that has a temperature rating of 15 degrees (meaning I should still be comfy and warm if the temp drops that low) and a fleece liner that gave me an additional 15 degrees warmth. In effect, I had a 0 degree bag. I should have been toasty, right?
I was also wearing thermal pants, a t-shirt and a sweatshirt, wool socks, and a balaclava with a stocking cap, and gloves. I even tucked my head down into my bag. I woke up around 6:45 a.m. and was freezing. I also had to pee like nobody's buisness! As I laid there, deciding if it was worth crawling out of my bag, little bits of ice kept falling on my face. The condensation of my breath had frozen on the roof of my tent and froze;
Now it was falling on me every time a jostled about.
I figured I'd better get up, so I wiggled and squirmed and shimmied into some pants and got my boots on. Then I headed to the bathrooms. Thank you Lake Wenatchee State Park, for having HEATED bathrooms during winter! It was so nice!
I took some pictures of the lake:
Then I started getting stuff together for breakfast... only to discover that all the food was frozen.
I packed some mini bagels, lunch meat, and cheese that I was going to toast up but they were frozen solid. I had some of those little 'cutie' oranges. Now they were nice, orange-colored rocks.
My canned soup was solid ice. Even some canned chicken I brought was frozen and it was protected inside my cookpots which were inside my gear case!
The only thing I still had was some oatmeal and hot chocolate, so I made that for breakfast.
We all stood around deciding our plan of action for the day.
G & I were heading up to Stevens Pass to snowboard. While Jason & Shane went to Mission Ridge.
Well, G-rod was going to snowboard. I was going to take my first snowboarding lesson and fall down... A LOT!
Here we are at the slopes looking cool and dorky:
As I said, this was my first time. I took a two-hour lesson that showed the basics, but it's not a sport my almost-40 year old body is ready to master. So I managed to fall forward, backward, and sideways until the lesson was over.
Oh, did I mention that I was the oldest student in the class? Yeah, it made me feel so special to watch all the other folks 'get it' while I kept knocking the breath out of me.
I met up with G after my lesson and decided to use my newfound 'boarding skillz on the slope.
Watching the ski lift, it looked like no big deal. Once I got on it, however, it was a different story.
I'm not keen on hights, so being suspended in the air by a cable was not an experience I wanted to repeat right away.
At the top of the slope I got strapped onto the board, went about 20 feet, and fell.
Got up, turned left, and fell.
Got up again, went downhill about 30 feet and fell on my back and hit my head on the snow.
Got up yet again and fell about 20 feet later.
By this time, my legs were getting shaky and I head a headache. So I told G to have fun. I was going to WALK down the slope and meet him later. I had enough punishment for one day.
We headed back to camp around 4:00 p.m., where Atul was waiting for us. He couldn't make it the night before, but showed up mid-afternoon to join our group and experience the fun that is... Winter Camping.
I went to the bathroom and changed out of my wet, frozen clothes and into nice dry ones.
Since all my food was frozen, Atul made up some soup he brought and I ate that for dinner.
Then I popped a few ibuprofen and drank B-52 hot chocolates as we sat around the fire in our 'man cave'.
It was actually a bit warmer this night. 10 degrees. Ooooh, balmy. I think I'll wear shorts!
Around midnite we headed off to our tents and try to sleep.
Remembering how the previous night and morning went, I was a little better prepared.
I had thermal pants and wool socks again. But this time I stuffed hand-warmers into my socks to keep my feet warm. I wore a thermal shirt, a sweat shirt, and my fleece jacket. I stuffed hand-warmers in my gloves. And I wore my balaclava and stocking cap.
I slept like the dead! I was not only warm, but I slept until after 8:00 a.m.
It may have been because I was so tired from the day before. Or it might have been a mixture of pain-killers and alcohol before bed. Who knows?
We got up Sunday morning and made breakfast with whatever food we could thaw out quickly. (Oatmeal and hot chocolate again for me).
I used my new alcohol stove, and it worked great:
I'm going to use this set-up again soon.
We packed up all our gear shortly thereafter and started heading home.
G-rod & I got ahead of the skiers and snowboarders leaving Stevens Pass, so traffic coming home was pretty easy.
He dropped me off at home and I seperated my wet, smelly clothes from the rest of my gear.
Then I promptly took a HOT shower!
Today, I ache all over.
Did I have fun? Yes, even though I fell a lot while snowboarding and looked like an idiot, and was cold the entire time.
Would I do it again? Definitely!
Did I learn anything from this? Only that I'm not as young as I like to think I am.
Here's a few more random pictures from our adventure:
Home Sweet Home
What's for dinner?
* The official temperature on Friday night was 4 degrees according to this.
Hey kids, I'm back!
Last week was a busy week. Not at work, just in general. Mostly it was spent in preperation for the coming weekend... and what a weekend it was.
I had requested some time off early from work on Thursday & Friday to go do things I've had planned in the pipline for a while.
What did I have planned, you asked?
Well, on Thursday night I went to see the Blue Man Group in concert at Key Arena in Seattle with my buddy Dug, and friends Jason, Kayo, Scott, and Todd. (Sorry. I didn't get a group picture, but we were lovely bunch of hipsters. Take my word for it.)
I met up with Dug at a Park & Ride in Redmond and we carpooled into the city.
Our group all gathered together at Peso's Kitchen on Queen Anne (near Seattle Center) for muy bueno tapas and drinks before the show.
We shared amongst ourselves: bacon-wrapped prawns, dungeoness crab springrolls, chipotle chicken skewers, spicy fried calamari, steak quesadillas, and of course chips & salsa.
I had a couple of 'sage & cucumber' Margaritas and was feeling pretty good by the time we left and went to the show!
I took a few pictures before the show, but they didn't come out too well.
However! I did manage to get some video of the concert.
The opening act was a VJ by the name of Mike Relm.
It started out okay but as the crowd was getting into it he began to really amp-up the act and it was a terrific start to the main event.
The Blue Man Group came on stage a few minutes later and really put on a great all-ages show. I could've taken my mom, my niece, (heck! even the town preacher).... just about anybody and they would've had a good time.
For those not in the know, the BMG's schtick is to act like they are from another planet. Everything is interesting to them and they delight in making music from unusual objects. Mostly PVC pipes and such. The also have a piano onstage that they hit with a hammer to strike the many chords at one time.
I'll leave you with a few videos from the show. If you ever have a chance to see them perform live, I highly recommend it!
Jan 24, 2008
Jan 21, 2008
I've been trying to find time to blog 'cause lots of stuff has been happening, but I just haven't had enough time to go into details.
Here's a short list so you'll know what's been up lately:
My birthday was on Tuesday last week. It snowed that day so I got to take it off from work.
Hung with my buddy Dug on Friday night and watched "The Kingdom". Great movie!
Went to the opera on Saturday to watch Pagliacci with Hotness. It was a sold out show and was fantastic. Later dinner at.... you guessed it, Pomodoro.
Bought a bunch of new clothes so now I can look a bit more respectable.
Found out we had rats in our pumphouse again. After cleaning it out last year, we're not about to let them take over again! Lots of traps and poison bait being set out now. Death to follow soon.
Visited my aunt this evening and did some grocery shopping for her. (She's not able to get out and do it herself at this time)
Concert coming up this week followed right afterwards with some winter camping and possibly snowboarding.
Details forthcoming when I have time to sit and spend more time at the computer.
Until then, hope all is going well for all of you...
scribbled down by Ferretnick around 11:22 PM
Jan 18, 2008
Well, "50" is the new "30", so in keeping with that theme here's something else that turned 50 recently.
I remember watching the cartoon back in the 80's and it was okay.
I wasn't all that into them, but they were fun to watch on Saturday morning while I waited for Pee-Wee's Playhouse and ate a big-old bowl of Cap'n Crunch.
(Okay... so I have a Hiker Smurf figure on my desk at work. I'll post a picture so you can make fun of me later*.)
So yeah, the Smurfs turned 50 this year and for lots of Smurfy trivia, check out this link.
Did you know there are at least 101 different Smurfs?
And that there are THREE female smurfs? (not just Smurfette?)
Also, did you know there are LOTS of similarities between Smurfette and Paris Hilton?
Yeah... I didn't know it either.
Well, have a Smurfy day!
(thanks to the Presurfer for the heads-up)
It's not like this makes me gay or anything, though!
Not to get too deep into specifics, but wearing a union suit and having to do #2 are not workable together.
I'm usually pretty warm all tha time but lately I've been cold while I'm at my desk at work, so I decided the other day to wear some thermal underwear along with my regular clothes.
Viola! Warmth ensued and therefore problem solved... until I need to use the restroom.
Then I had to replicate positions from the Kama Sutra to keep from... uh, well... let's just say I survived the experience without an "incident".
I'll be wearing separate pieces from now on.
Jan 13, 2008
A couple of quick links for old-school gamers out there.
You can read more about them both here and here.
On Saturday, Hotness & I went to Seattle to do a little shopping near Pike Place Market.
On a previous business trip she took, she had borrowed an Oriental dress that looked really good on her (well, I thought it looked good) and she wanted to pick one up for herslf to have for when we go out to nice events.
It just so happened that back in July, when I had jury duty, I managed to run into a couple of shops near the market that carried these dresses. So I made a mental note of it and planned to come back with her to get them.
I didn't look too closely at the styles of dresses these shops carried, only that they had them.
So when we went yesterday, I was a little dissapointed that they weren't like the one she had worn before.
But all was not lost.
One of the two shops:
carried a variety of styles and we were able to find something equally nice that had more versatility to it than just a dress.
Hotness set her sites on a green jacket with a high Mandarin collar.
While I spied a beautiful black velvet jacket with pale purple trim and coin 'buttons'. It had a matching top that went with it.
(jacket & top detail)
Both of these could be paired with a either a long or short skirt that she already has, or a nice pair of dress slacks (that she's still looking for).
So all in all, I think it worked out better than just getting a dress.
Sorry I don't have any pictures to show you with her wearing the outfits, but we have a special event coming up next weekend and I'll take some pictures to post then.
Afterwards, we both met up with my friends Liz and G-rod for a late lunch at a Thai restaurant in Redmond called Noodle House.
I hadn't been there before, but they have really good food!
We got together to celebrate my birthday, and they both bought my lunch as my present.
Thanks you two! I'm really glad to have you as friends in my life.
Then the four of us parted for the day and went our separate ways.
Hotness and I went back home where she took a nap and I watched "Superman Returns"
A lot of fans were kind of on both side of the fence about it, but I really liked this movie.
Yeah, Kate Bosworth wasn't a very convincing Lois Lane, but overall I though it was good.
And besides, EVERY time I watch this scene:
I just want to stand up and cheer.
Oh! One last thing....
I saw this on a building while we we're getting ready to leave Seattle and thought it was kind of funky.
I like random things like this.
I think I might start up a second blog just for random pictures taken by cel phones.
Jan 12, 2008
Terry Moore's latest creator-owned book is coming out in just a few months. (In fact, March I believe is when it'll be on the stands).
Jan 11, 2008
A couple in Britain was married..... and then found out they were TWINS!
(The marriage was quickly annulled by the court)
Jan 10, 2008
Just doing a little cleaning up around here. Nothing major to report.
I took a couple of the links down:
(He's got a really funny sense of humor and it's worth checking out for his nostalgic comic book reviews, but he hasn't been updating his site regularly)
Stuff They Say
(It's a funny site, but after I got to thinking about it, it really isn't something my mom could read. So down it goes)
And I put up a new link:
This site has tons of cool, yummy recipes.
Remember that salsa I made a while back? I got it from this site.
I also made penne pasta & asparagus w/ ricotta cheese that I found here and it was not only quick and easy, but very delicious!
If you like to cook (and even if you just like to read recipes) this site is wonderful.