Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Birthday celebration

HR threw a birthday celebration for me at work. It went on for two days.

Halloween story

I'll never forget the employee who came in to our office and wanted to take halloween off as a "religious observance". (true story, this guy had evil tatoos all over his body and always wore black) I'm thinking to myself, you have to be kidding? and, this is a first. The production manager was an ex-military guy. I thought I was going to see a repeat of that scene from Full Metal Jacket I think it was, where the drill instructor confronts the recruit with; "YOU DON'T LOVE THE BABY JESUS?!!!"

Needless to say the employee did not get out of work for halloween. You can celebrate tonight after work with everyone else, I think the manager said.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Checkout line

I'm usually in a hurry when I go into a grocery store. Don't like it when the checker getts to chatty with the customer infront of me. I stopped at a grocery store in a small town in Montana on Saturday. What a difference. It became clear that eveyone knew eachother. As I walked in, one of the checkers who must have been in her 30s eyeballed me and said Hi, in a very friendly, almost desperate way. How are you? I responded as I went on in.

As I walked down the isles I heard people chatting as if the grocery store was a meeting place. Where I live, people are chatting, but on their cell phones and ignoring everyone around them. Thompson Falls is a logging town, and everyone knows eachother. My mom lived there before she met my father and worked at the ranger station as a secretary. I don't think it has changed much since then.

The grocery store had three regular checkout lines and one express line. 10 items or less. One line was closed so I got into one of the other regular checkout lines. The checker in this line was a middle aged lady with her hair dyed brown. It took me only a second to realize that she was a very nice lady. You don't hunt anymore do you Bob? she said to the man infront of me. (It's hunting season in Montana.) No I sold my rifle. Bob said. Bob was a man probably about 60 years old. A nice looking older man with a full head of grey hair, flannel shirt and blue jeans, and also a comfortable looking pair of work boots.

My mind wandered as they talked. Usually I'd get kind of upset if a checker strikes up a conversation with the person infront of me in the line because I know they don't know eachother. But in this situation I could tell that these people have known eachother for years. I looked up, and hanging from the ceiling on chains were these small "logs" about the diameter of a fence post. They had the number of the checkout line on a piece of plywood attached to them. Unusual, I thought, but fitting.

Well my sons smoked and I know it isn't in their genes. The checker said to Bob, as I came back down to earth. As Bob walked away I noticed that he left his wallet on the counter. Um, you left this, I said pointing to his wallet. Oh!.. Thanks. That has thousands of dollars in it. Bob said jokingly. The guy standing with his wife behind me in line said, I'll spend it for you!

Then the checker started to swipe my grocerys. After the Coke won't scan she decides to clean the glass on her reader. This needs to be cleaned. she said. Another delay I'm thinking. She bends down and gets a spray bottle and sprays the glass. Ooo! Pinesol! she said. Well there have been a lot of people with germs in this time of year.

As I walked out into the parking lot I saw Bob getting into his truck. I smiled and nodded. Then I got back into my little bubble and drove away.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Hot spot

I usually don't talk about work on bicycle log. But this is sort of a work related computer issue. All day long I do graphics on my computer. My hand hardly ever leaves the mouse. I've developed a hot spot on my wrist bone where it comes in contact with my desk. I moved my mouse pad to the edge of my desk so that my wrist is not on the desk as much as possible, but this is becoming an issue for me.

You need a dog

Why don't you have a dog? she asked. I don't want a dog. Why not? Don't you like dogs? I love dogs. I just don't want one. We have a dog, don't you like him? she asked, as the big golden retriever looked up at me. I love him, he's a great dog. If I was going to have a dog I'd want a dog just like him. Her husband looked at me and smirked. You need a dog. she said, It would keep you company. I have a cat for company and besides, I can't have a dog, I'm always going out of town. You never go anywhere, she said. I do too! I resopnded. Where do you go? I go to Montana. You can take him with you. I don't want to have to do that I responded. I don't want a dog in my car.

Why don't you have an SUV? she asked. I don't want an SUV. Why not, do you have something against SUVs? No, well... no. We have an SUV don't you like it? I like it , I just don't want an SUV, I like driving a car, it's easy to park. I've never had a car she said. You've never had a car?! I responded. No, just trucks and SUVs. You'd like a car. I said thinking I had changed the subject away from why I didn't have a dog. They're easy to park when you go shopping.. you'd love it.

You have a big yard don't you?.. Yes... You should have a dog. I don't want a dog in my yard. Why not? Because it would go to the bathroom and then I'd have to pick it up before I mowed every week and I don't want to do that. You have a cat. Yes, but the cat goes to the bathroom in a box and I can leave it while I'm gone. When was the last time you went somewhere besides Montana? I went to Park City for a week. I can't take a dog with me on the plane. I'd have to get someone to watch the dog and that would be a hassle.

Well I think you need a dog.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The time of darkness

After I lost my old surround sound system to a lightning strike, I finally bought a new one. Pretty much the same Onkyo except newer. I got it home and it was fine with the CD player but I hated the way the TV sounded through it. The sub-woofer kept timing out and turning off. Plus it had this terrible echo. Today I went back to the store and they sold me this optical audio cable and told me how to plug it in. But when I got home my cable box didn't have an optical out on it. But it did have regluar outs. So I used those and it sounds great now. I was using the audio outs on the back of the TV. I had it plugged in wrong. I'll return the optical cable tomorrow.

There was a cold wind blowing tonight. Soon it will be time to set our clocks back. Who's idea was that? I vote to leave the time alone. The time of darkness is upon us. This is the most boring time of the year. Can't do anything outside after work as it is too dark and cold out and the ski lifts aren't running yet. It's the reason I wanted to get the sound system going as this is when I'll be watching movies and listening to music. I guess the upside is that the time of lawn care is over.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Drafting on a motor scooter.

Today I came home at lunch, threw on my cycling clothes and went out on my bike for a quick ride around. It was freezing this morning with fog so I didn't ride to work. Anyway I headed out on my bike and by the time I got onto the road by the river, my neighbor, Ted, was riding his motor scooter to work.

Ted does triathlon. Now and then we ride together.
Plus Ted is a safety freak and not what I would consider a risk taker. I was on a tour one time and ran into him so we rode together for a while with a woman. We came to a decent that went for several miles. This woman and I just let it rip and went as fast as possible down this mountain. But Ted slowed and really took it easy. I guess it's the ski racer in me.

Anyway he pulls up beside me on his motor scooter today and yells, "I can go faster than you!". So I swing in behind his scooter and start to draft behind him. He didn't expect that! So he throttles up to 35mph (the speed limit, we had been going about 20) and I shift down and stay in the slip stream behind on my bike. Now if he wants to go faster he has to break the law! and it is kind of a dangerous road to go that fast on. It was like that scene in the movie Breaking Away, when that guy drafted behind the truck.

Anyway I wasn't having much of a problem staying at that speed for about 300 yards, but the gap started to open and I lost the draft. I could see Ted laughing in his side mirrors. Finally I sat up and let him go as I fell out of the draft. But I for a while I did push Ted onto the edge of his comfort bubble.

The whole time I'm listening to a political debate with my headphones on NPR. I've really got to stop thinking about politics. It's starting to consume me. So for at least now, no more politics for don.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Retro kitchen

I love retro things from the 40s 50s and even 60s. Below is an earlier post about my dinette. I just think it is cool product design, and it is well made. This table is over 50 years old and still looks great. From the time I decided I wanted a set like this it took me about 4 years to find one. I'm into it $30. That's a pretty good value.

My Fiesta is all new however. I found out that new Fiesta ware is worth as much or more as the old pieces. Unless you have an unusual old form. I have 8 place settings and various pieces, bowls, platters and such. Warhol had a big collection of it, but I started collecting it because my dishes sucked, and I was embarrased when someone came over to eat. People never knew what to get me for gifts. So I told them Fiesta. They can buy me one cup or something and it doesn't cost them much and they know I'm going to like it. Now when people come over to eat they like the dishes and the food even looks better as a result.

And here is another dish collecting tip... Melmac. I did a google search for it and didn't find much. What I did find suggested that It is going to become a popular collectable. I can just tell by looking at the pieces I have that it has value. Now I want to fill my camper with retro Melmac dishes.

I wish the stove in my kitchen was as cool as the stove in my camper.

Once a year the town where I work has a town wide garage sale. I had been looking for an old metal dinette from the 1940's or 50's. Actually these mostly came from the late 40's and people just think they came from the late 50's. This town wide garage sale is a really good idea. People drive in but I ride my bike. It is much easier to cover the whole thing. I found a metal dinette table for $40. and I talked the people down to $30. But no chairs. So I found a cool set of chairs at the dump in Montana. Someone had left them out of the dumpster instead of throwing them in. I have 4 of them but only use two. They aren't the same color as the table but I think it works perhaps better. I also have a leaf for the table. I have been collecting Fiesta dishes to go along with it. There is a pitcher and salt and pepper shakers on the table in this photo.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

"New" camper oven

Check out my new retro camper oven! My friend gave it to me from his old 1960's camper. He bought a newer camper as the roof finally fell in on his old one. But the oven was too nice to haul to the dump with the camper. I only had a stove top in my pickup camper and no oven. So today I removed the old stove top and installed the "new" oven. Now I can really cook up in the mountains at hunting camp and skiing. Plus it matches my Melmac dishes.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A little too early

Got up a little too early this morning and took friend up into the woods beind my place for him to hunt. I took my camera along. Beyond the second tall pine there is a lake. Beyond the lake is where I live. We were way up in the mountians before the sun came up. It was 25 degrees out.

We only saw a couple of people all day. A father and a son were out hunting. They were laughing and having a good time. It reminded me of when my dad took me hunting when I was a kid.

I don't remember much laughing back then, and didn't have a lot of choice in the matter when it came to going hunting. Dad would drag me out of bed and into the 4 wheel drive where I'd sleep until the last possible moment. (no coffee for kids) Then out into the cold morning I'd go when it would start to get light. I usually wouldn't see him again until dark.

I remember one time he took me hunting in the mountains behind the cabin. I was wearing a pair of sneakers with a hole in the toe of my right foot. When we got up in the woods there was a few inches of new snow on the ground. So I took the plastic bread wrapper my sandwich was in and put it over my sock so my foot wouldn't get wet. I went up on the hillside and built a fire where I stayed most of the day keeping my toes warm.

Dad asked me about it that night back in the cabin. I think he must have seen the smoke from my fire or he might have tracked me. He didn't push it, and I didn't offer up much.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

More inside

If this isn't enough, there's more inside.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Darrin and Samantha

Today I pulled up to a stop light in a company van and one of my old girlfriends and her husband were in the next lane. Her husband, the guy she left me for. It was several years ago. I don't think they knew it was me next to them as I could just see the side of her face. It gave me cause to think as I looked at her nose and mouth. What if I had married her? She did want to marry me, but I guess I waited too long to ask her.

I can honestly say that I have never cheated on a girlfriend,,, with the possible exception of when I was 16, but I'm not sure that counts. But this gal did start a relationship with her now husband before she broke up with me. I only heard about it from a friend. I hope she wasn't scared of me. I'd hate to think that. Perhaps she just didn't want to hurt my feelings? Perhaps she didn't have enough courage to tell me. Perhaps she couldn't find the words. I don't know.

But I looked down at her today in their little car from the heights of the van. She sat there in silence only a few feet away. It reminded me of so many times when she sat in my car a few feet away and not really saying anything. She was kind of a quiet person. Now she lives outside of town on a couple of acres in a double wide mobile home. They have a couple of kids. Not sure where the kids were today.

She had a cute little mouth. She always reminded me of Elizabeth Montgomery on Bewitched. When I was a kid I wanted to be like Darrin Stevens and work for an advertising agency, and come up with silly layouts. I'd marry a pretty woman like Samantha and we would move into a nice house in the suburbs where I'd carry her over the threshold. We'd have a charming little daughter and live happily ever after.

Several months after she left me, I bought my house in the suburbs. Her mother had always been really nice to me, and they both wanted to come and see my house. They showed up when I was hanging some blinds in the kitchen window. I could see that my girlfriend was fighting back tears as they walked around looking over my new house.

The light turned green and we parted ways again. But for a moment our paths came together and we were pointed in the same direction.

I wonder if she knew I was there.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The last sunset

We took the skiff out onto the bay Saturday night. This is probably the last sunset I'll photograph on the lake this year. I tied the skiff up to the dock and we went to bed in the cabin. Then in the middle of the night I started to worry that it might freeze outside. The outboard might freeze and break with water in the block. But thankfully it only got down to 35 degrees.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Larch photo

The larch/tamarack trees in Montana are turning yellow as it has started to freeze. In this photo there is a band of spruce and fir trees and then the yellow ones above are tamarack. The light green tree in the center of the photo is also a tamarack just starting to turn. I don't know how in the world it got out into that meadow alone like that.

Redneck car alarm

The security system ON this truck is activated

Friday, October 13, 2006


Martha Raddatz, ABC news chief White House correspondent posed a very interesting question to the american public regarding the war in Iraq since it is so distant and out of mind for many. Should the american public who are not part of the military make sacrifices to engage in war? For instance a tax or something, or a draft perhaps. I think her point is that the public is out of touch with the war, and would we be so willing to wage war if we all had to share in the responsibility in a real way and like the folks in the military do?

If you have high speed you can listen to what she had to say HERE
It's 53 min long but worth it. And I noticed that there is another interesting program at the same site. Sandra Day O'Connor and Stephen Breyer discuss the value of an independent judicial system for our democracy. What justice Breyer said on the Charlie Rose show about the same subject almost brought me to tears.

O'Connor points out that there is a bill in the state of South Dakota that is called "jail for judges" Judges could be taken to court if the public doesn't agree with a finding. That is very scarry.

Bicycle log has avoided getting political as I'm not really about that. But I'm kind of a student of history. I've been reading a book about the bombing of Dresden. It's called Dresden by Frederick Taylor. He outlines how quickly democracy was undone in Germany prior to WWII, when one party took over a whole country and propoganda played a major role in this. Individual rights and political parties were eliminated one by one. We all know what happened as a result. It wasn't that long ago.

Bad service bad customer

Several years ago I went out to dinner with a bunch of people. One couple had twin boys both in highchairs. I don't know how old they were. We all sat down and it was a spaghetti place so that was what we all ordered. When the food came the father of these two little boys pushed back the table cloth where the boys were seated and dished the spaghetti directly onto the wood of the table in front of each of them. I was shocked and embarrased! I guess if you gave these kids plates and silverware they would just throw them on the floor. But what the heck? Both little boys just grabbed the spaghetti with their little hands and squished it between their fingers and then smeared it on their faces. One of them was pleased with this situation but the other one just screamed. I was thinking; what in the world does our waitress think of this, not to mention eveyone eles walking by? I'm like, no problem, this is normal...

We always hear of bad service, and it bothers me to be with people who always complain about the service no matter what. It kind of ruins the dinner or evening for me. I can kind of understand it if they actually throw your food at you, like the time I went to a company dinner, and the waitress had a plate of prime rib with lots of juice and spilled it into the lap of one of the guys, and then acted like it didn't happen. He was wearing light tan slacks and it made this big brown stain right in his crotch. It was so bad it was funny! He had a big sweater on that he pulled down low enough to walk out. Not sure if he ever got the stain out.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Cyber cedars

One of my friends is taking me up to the lake in Montana again this weekend to retrieve my truck. I use it to launch my boat during the summer. Last weekend I drained the water out of the motor of my boat to winterize it as it has been freezing at night now. I also need to cover it up for the winter. So we will go up there probably make a fire down by the beach at night and talk things over.

So my mom calls me tonight from Montana where she lives. She is going to drive up there on Sunday morning to give me a birthday present. She asked me what I wanted and I told her I wanted a flashlight. So a flashlight I'll get.

Then I find out that she is bringing up her neighbor girl to the lake for me to meet. She wants to hook me up. Anyway I'm like, ok cool. This gal lives across the alley from my mom and they have become friends. They trade vegetables with eachother, and my mom recently showed her how to can dill pickles. I guess she has a masters and teaches at the U at least for one semester. Then I think she wants to go over seas. So the quest to find don a female friend continues. She sounds interesting to me.

Man, tonight I watched a show on HBO called the Journalist and the Jihadi. It was about Daniel Pearl. It was very sad and telling. I admire journalists like Pearl and Politkovskaya who bring us the truth despite the danger.

The photo is the latest addition to my cyber tree museum. Cedars along Two Mile Creek from my trip last weekend. They always grow in deep shaded forests along streams. They are cool places to explore.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Some advise

I had to tell my friend who set me up on a blind date (in a bar and sort of a get-together) that I didn't want to pursue a relationship right now with this gal. I guess she was interested in me and wanted to get back together. She was pretty and all, but I could just tell that she probably wasn't the person for me. Plus it is going to be ski season soon and I won't be traveling anywhere except the ski hill all winter. I was very clear about it. I got the impression that she couldn't understand that. I don't think she ever would.

Perhaps Lance Armstrong had the same sort of problem with his relationships, and why his wife left him and Cheryl Crow. "I'm going to race my bike all summer so I'll see you in the winter."

I have had a few girlfriends who can ski and it was a pleasure for me. But I'm not going to sit around not skiing if I have any spare time in the winter and the ski lift is running. Life is too short and I'm still improving racing. People criticize me for being single. But doesn't freedom have a value? Don't we go to war over it.

I love my friend like a brother. I've known him since I was 5 years old. But I'm not sure he understands me even yet.

Here is his advise for me;

Don, I will give you some advise. Go to a larger church. Get involved with
some singles. There are women all around that would love to meet a guy like
you. You have to hunt, as you say. Quit looking where there is not substance
(work, bars, get togethers). I would bet money that church has about the
highest percentage of good women, with morals, upbringing, viewpoints, and
love is there. Love is the main thing in the bible as well. As god says the
greatest of these things (important for us to have) is love. I try not to
get all religious, I think you will find that person, because
I think you are honing your skills. Keep doing that. Take care Don, let's
keep after this, and I will look here for you as well.

It was his idea to have a "get together" in a bar, to introduce me to this gal from his church, and I was the only one who didn't drink. (not that that matters) I hardly ever go to church. I can't say that I like going to church. I'm not sure that god knew about skis when when he told us what was important. I love skiing, so perhaps that is what he meant. Pope John Paul was an avid skiier. I thought that was cool.

My life isn't a disaster because I'm single right now despite what my friends think. I'm thankful for the effort my friend made to hook me up. I did have a good time and experience. It's about the journey, not the destination.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bach and Beyond

A couple of weeks ago I heard about this CD on NPR. Gabriela Montero Bach and Beyond. She improvises on Bach. I liked what I heard so I went to Barnes and Noble to see if they had it. They didn't have it and had to order it and then I found out that they would have to burn one for me. Today it came in. I haven't listened to much of it but so far I like it.

The odd thing is that if you know the theme and are familiar with a piece then it might be a problem. I don't think it will be for me as it is so well recorded and I haven't listened to enough of it yet to know. I know that I can listen to the same classical piece performed by two different people and I'll like one and not the other because I'm used to hearing something played a certian way. But it has to be really familiar.

When I was a little kid my mom used to play the piano after my sister and I went to bed. One of the things she would play was Chopin Etude No.3 in E major Op. 10 (you'd probably know it if you heard it) I got used to the way she played it, and it bothers me if someone goofs around with it too much.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Faking it

Last night I went to north western Montana to meet a friend who set me up on a blind date of sorts. It was pretty cool actually as blind dates go. She was good looking and friendly and all. I didn't want to drink anything as I had to drive down a no tolerance highway to get home. So after drinking my glass of water, I ordered a non-alcoholic beer. The girls were drinking wine and my friend was drinking beer.

It was good to see my friend as I hadn't seen him for years. The place was packed with people when I got there. The down side was that a blues band started playing after a while. There wasn't any place to dance and honestly who is going to dance to the blues?. And they were very loud, so the place started to empty out. But we sat there and screamed at eachother.

I could hear my friend's wife as the frequency of her voice cut through the "music" And I could hear my friend, pretty well and I could kind of lip read them. But I had trouble hearing my "date". Her mouth was pointed across the table at my friend and his wife. She started to tell this story about a dog on an airplane (she works for an airline) and the dog went to the bathroom on the plane. That was about all I got out of it, but the story went on and on for quite some time. I couldn't really tell what was going on so I just started to fake like I knew what was going on. They would look at me an and laugh and I'd smile and nod and so forth. I kept expecting the story to end but it went on and on and on, and soon I was completely in the dark about it except that the dog went to the bathroom on the plane.

For a while the sound of the band and the sound of them all screaming at eachother started to get to me. I really wanted a beer. I started to fixate on my friends glass of beer. I came to a realization. THIS is why people drink at bars!

When I got back to my cabin I popped open a can of beer. Then I went out on the deck, sat down and looked up at the moon.

On the trip over to Montana I took some photos in a deep canyon in the mountains. The sun finally came up over the ridge above. It got light at around 7:00 but you don't actually see the sun until around 11. It is kind of a hard place to take photos as the highway is right there along the river. I dont' want a photo of the highway, but it is a beautiful place this time of year and I was there at "first light". This is where the St. Regis River meets Two Mile Creek.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

10,000 white corn tortillas

I'm thinking skiing! I bought my season ski pass the other day at Schweitzer and got a discount for buying early. It cost me the equivalent of 1200 cans of Coca Cola from the pop machine at work, or about 250 gallons of gas at today's prices. Or I could buy about 10,000 white corn tortlillas with 0 grams of trans fat, no lard and no colesterol. (to put the cost of an early season pass into perspective.) It's still a good deal compaired to Park City or Big Sky. That would cost me over 20,000 white corn tortillas, And I just can't afford that!

They keep using the same photo (above) for my pass that I posed for a few years ago when I bought early. At first I wanted my sun glasses on but they wouldn't let me. I bet I'm the only person with my helmet on in a pass photo. But I think they all know me now. Park City has the cool passes that you just walk by a thing and it reads your pass and a gate opens. They call it Fast Tracks and I think you have to pay extra for it. If you are racing it allows you to go in a different line and perhaps not miss the start of the race by standing in a long lift line. I had one of those , and it also knows how many days the pass is good for. Nobody has to swipe your bar code. We are so far behind the times up here. Perhaps I need my season pass implanted in a chip in my forehead. That way if I got lost they could just scan it and take me home. Just kidding, but it does remind me of a TV show I watched last night.

I watched Dr. 90210, and I was totally disgusted. This "doctor" "enhanced" a pretty young girl. I was very saddened by this. What the heck? She was happy with it. But it was a shame what he did to her at her young age. She was beautiful the way she was. What a creep, this guy.

It just shows you what is wrong with our medical system. Here is a trained doctor who is doing this sort of thing to pretty young women for bucks and there are lots of people who can't afford to see a doctor in any respect.

Anyway when ski season starts, I'm going to start a new blog related to just skiing, and mostly one aspect of it. I'll still blog here for regular nonsense.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


It's roundup time in Montana. These cows need to be moved off of the range and to better feed. I noticed that they got moved to a place where the grass was greener. Then when that runs out they will have to be fed hay and that gets costly. Thankfully for the ranchers, it has been raining warm, and things have greened up here and there. All the cowboys and girls come together from different outfits, and help eachother out in this effort.

I like the way this gal looks on her pony. (notice the little cow dog in front of her doing it's job too, and loving every minute of it, if you click on this photo and see it bigger you can see the dog's mouth is open.) And this gal brings to mind a song,..

rain and wind and weather,
hell bent for leather,
wishin my gal was by my side...
All the things I'm missin,
good vittles love and kissin,
are waiting at the end of my ride.

I'll stop right there :) The gals are by their side now.

I'm afraid if I lived in cowboy country for any length of time I'd trade my bicycle in on a horse. I'd have to get a horse trailer of course. I already have the old Ford pickup.