Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Name my rabbit

I've been aware that I had a rabbit in my back since yard last summer. My cat Spunky died in the spring of last year. She never would have tolerated a rabbit in her yard. But now I seem to have one. It ate my tomato and pepper plants that I planted in the yard last summer. This year I'm going to have plants on my deck. I think they will be safe from the rabbit. At some point I'd like to have a garden and then the rabbit would be a problem but for now I'm ok with it.

It's kind of a low maintenance pet. Lives outside. Lives through the winter, (and it was a harsh winter) Don't have to take it to the vet. Not bad.

Just need a name for it. So if you have any ideas besides Peter and Roger, I might consider it. I was thinking Russell, but 'm open to anything, and it doesn't have to be an american name either.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Crush you like the wolf

Another anti-Canadian Wolf bumper sticker. I took this picture as people were driving their Super Duties to work the other day. As you can see by the small car behind the Ford F350, small cars aren't safe. It's been all over the news. People in Super Duties just can't see you back there and if they hit you they will crush you like the Canadian wolf lover that you are.

I'm almost eye level with the bumper of this Silverado. Is it my little car that isn't safe or the big truck? In the news they singled out the Toyota Yaris, Smart Car, and one other small car. They ran a Mercedes into a Smart Car and concluded that the Smart Car wasn't safe. That's sort of like having an elk hunter shoot a wolf and concluding that the wolf wasn't safe.

Well maybe not,.. but I've been thinking that the elk aren't exactly safe either.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Camas Prairie Montana

Here's a picture of the Camas Pairie in Montana that I took today on my way to Flathead Lake. It's the first picture on my blog that I've taken with my new camera. I think we're going to get along ok. This is one of my favorite places even though a rattlesnake almost bit me here once. I heard it buzz and I looked down to see it coil back. It's a good place to wear your cowboy boots, but today it was too cold for snakes.

For some reason my mind always comes back to this place when I look into my past. The trips in the back seat of the car with my parents.. It's still like it was back then. The air still smells the same. Even the dirt here seems clean.
I'm still getting used to my new camera. Monitors make such a big difference in how things look on screen. So I re-posted it. It looked ok on my laptop, dark on my NEC but way too saturated on this Samsung.

I retain all rights to my photos.  Please do not use any of my photos without permission.

Endless winter

I went skiing again today as they ran the lifts once again. The skiing got better as the day went on. The sun would come out then it would snow. Hard to believe only a couple of days ago it was 80 degrees and I was riding my bike in shorts and a jersey and thinking how much I don't like hot weather. A lot of people made the mistake of not dressing warm enough, but not me. I knew it would snow. When I got done skiing I drove on into Montana.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A talk with the sky

The sky at lunch today. "What are you doing don?" the sky asked. "I'm taking your picture." I responded. "Well all right then." the sky said.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A template of convenience

I changed the template of my blog. I guess in a way the relationship between a person and their blog is sort of like any relationship. Now and then it's time for a change. Even though the relationship isn't working you just can't bring youself to break away.

I was never really in love with my old template. It was a template of convenience. When I chose my old template it was the best one I could find. As time went on, I changed and my template did not. I tried to change it, but outside of the bubble it was much the same. It just wouldn't let me do some of the things I wanted to do. Gosh, I feel a little bad about it now,..

It's for the best. My old template will meet new bloggers and we can both move on.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How to set a bike computer

As you can see in my bike photo above,.. that's my bike BTW, looking down on it today as I rode to work this morning,.. anyway as you can see the speedo/ computer is dead. I needed a new battery. So I went to the local bike shop and bought a replacement. Then I had to set the computer. They are all different and I have several different ones. Of course I couldn't find the instructions to the one I was using. You have to set the wheel size and kilometers or miles.

Well there are only two buttons on it, so some combination will let you in to set it. I finally figured out the combination of holding down the buttons and in which menue. Then I did a wheel roll out to set the wheel size. Bla bla bla. If you came here looking for that information, hold a button down and wait until the display flashes. If there's a four digit number in the display, Roll the wheel out one complete turn and measure it in cm. Just put a metric tape on the floor, and start with the stem on 0. A typical mountain bike wheel will be 2075 and a typical road bike wheel will be 2124. That's close enough. Don't get anal about it, but roll the wheel out if you must.

I'm not too hung up about recording miles or anything. I've ridden enough to know pretty much how far I've gone each summer, but if you tour, race or distance ride, a working computer/ speedo is really valuable to measure your effort during the day. Other than that my advice to people new to cycling is don't get to hung up on how many miles you ride. It's not the best reason to get on a bike.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Snowcat skiing

Today might have been my last day of skiing this year. It was a pretty good day to end on. Plus I lived through it.. I ran into my friend Russell who I went to school in Bozeman with so I skied with him and his friends a for a while. They were giving people free snowcat rides to a peak you usually have to hike up to so Russell and I made the last trip of the day in it. We were the 12th and 13th people and they only take 13. So it worked out perfect.

The snowcat arives to pick us up.
The driver will lower that basket and some of the
people will ride up there with the skis and boards.
We rode in the coach in the back.

My friend Russell on the ride up. He looks docile in this picture, but he's insane.

Looking forward in the snowcat.
I wanted to ride up there with the driver, but it didn't work out that way.

Some fellow snowcat riders. Anthony Hopkins and Miguel Indurain. Well not really.. Who is Miguel Indurain anyway?

Here's Russell dropping in. Fancy pants! I'm always a little nervous when I ski with him. I had to stow my camera and then chase after him and it was pretty steep.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Digging Bear and the Schwinn Varsity

A few years back, I was in Montana, down in a dumpster digging through the garbage,..and I heard a pickup truck back up. I looked up to see a native American guy looking down at me. (it happend to be on an indian reservation) "One man's trash is another man's treasure." I said up to him. He just looked down at me, pushed his lips together and nodded. It was sort of a Dances With Wolves moment.

Flash forward to today. I found some bike fenders on Craigslist. The ad said they came off of a Schwinn Varsity years and years ago as when this guy got a new Varsity he took them off because he thought they weren't cool. Like new, never used, ten bucks or best offer. "So you want ten bucks for them?" I asked. "You can look at them and make an offer." the guy said... (like I'm going to offer $7.50 and see if anyone beats it)

It wasn't far from where I live so I drove out there. No one was home but there were the fenders on the front step. This was out in the country. I had an envelope in my car and I put two five dollar bills in it and put it in his door above the door handle and took the fenders. I felt wierd about doing that. (unlike digging in the garbage on an indian reservation, I'm perfectly comfortable doing that...) I couldn't just leave $7.50 without dealing face to face with the guy. That would be just plain cheap of me! So when I got home I called the guy and left a message on his machine that said where I put the money, and if he didn't get it to give me a call.

The reason I was in the dumpster was someone had thrown away a perfectly good Schwinn Varsity bicycle. In my size! Old yes, but not bad enough to just throw away. Even if I didn't really need it, I hate to see that kind of waste. Some bikes aren't worth saving but this one was. It was older than any Varsity I'd ever seen. It even had brazed on down tube shifters. It didn't take much to get it working. I got it all lined out so I could seriously ride it and it's an extra bike for visitors at the lake. It would also be a nice city bike to ride to work or the store when you don't want to leave something expensive out. Now I have NOS chrome fenders for it. Bonus!

One time I as on a 20 mile morning ride with my dumpster Varsity. Not an easy ride BTW. Several big climbs. I noticed a tick tick tick noise developing. A pin on the chain was coming out. I didn't have a chain tool with me so I used a rock to pound it back into place. It worked and I haven't had a problem with it since. Well the Schwinn Varsity is sort of the model T of road bikes. The first mass produced american road racing type bicycle. And this one is an early example. There was a plate on it that said 1963.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Church on credit

I was talking to someone I know about going to church this Easter. She grew up on a farm in Kansas. So she likes traditional things as do I. Especially when it comes to church.

There's this whole new church thing going on around here. Mega style rock and roll church. Cowboy church. Wear your visor cap while you drink coffee church, you name it. She can't relate to that and wants a traditional service. There's a lot of people who feel this way. People have to decied which church is right for them, just like they do with their medication.

A light bulb went on in my head. So I directed her to a traditional church that I've gone to with an organ, bell ringers, hymnal... If I can get her to go, it would be like buying carbon credits and I won't have to go..

And I wonder if the pastors get any hecklers at the rock and roll church when the sermon isn't going over very well? "Dude!.. Know any Deuteronomy?!" "Let's hear some Proverbs man!"

Ok I think I'm pushing my luck here..., but church has become such a consumer item, like everything else. Talk to your pastor about which service is right for you.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter service

I went to Easter church service today. The church was packed. We sat in the very last row in the balcony. The very very last seats. Any place else they would have been the worst seats, but in my opinion, at church the seats in the very back are the best ones. I hate sitting way up front. The pastor can look right at you and see your face. If I sit up front I feel like I have to have an expression neutral face. If the pastor says something I think is stupid I can't let my face say "Oh geez!" If you sit way in the back you don't have to worry about it, and of course there's the whole issue about faking when you sing. It's much harder to fake when you sing if you sit up front.

I think they ought to make new people at church sit in the back and work their way forward. Earn their wings.. New people don't want to sit right up front anyway.

So I'm sitting there way in the back way up in the balcony enjoying the view,.. The pastor is going getting into his sermon. People were bringing out chairs and sitting on them here and there as it was so croweded.

This one older guy who kind of looked like a mortician in his dark suit sat in a chair just around a corner from my view. After he sat down, all I could see was his right leg. Dark pant and dark sock and dark dress shoe. He had RLS, restless leg syndrome. The moment he sat down his foot and leg went into motion. It was really wierd. I imagined that shoe must spend most of its time in his closet lifleless. On him it was a dancing shoe. All I could see was this skinny leg with this dancing shoe on it. At first it reminded me of an insect leg moving with no logic to it. Pure reflex. But then I started to recognize patterns. It would go heel toe, heel toe. heel heel heel toe. Like that. Then he did this sideways heel toe heel toe, to the left, then heel toe heel toe to the right. A serpentine dancing shoe move. Hey! I know that song!

There was boy about 14 years old or so sitting in the pew in front of me. I noticed he was looking at something. I thought it was a cell phone at first but it was his watch. He'd taken off of his wrist and was goofing around with it. He saw that the flat crystal reflected a spot of light on the wall so he was playing with that. It was hard for me to ignore. He would move the spot around and trace the architecture of the sanctuary with it. Now and then he'd write words on the wall.

It was a very nice service

Riding chairlifts

I spent Saturday riding chairlifts. It felt like the middle of winter once again. It snowed pretty hard at one point. I skied at one place then drove down the road about 30 min and skied at another place for the rest of the day. Both were kind of foggy but the second place was nicer and the backside was clear, plus it was thier last day and it was free. It might have been my last day of skiing this year. I'm one day away from reaching my goal of skiing at least 30 days.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

They should call it Really Good Friday, and give everyone the day off. Here's what it looked like this morning on my way to work.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Kalashnikov justice

I've figured out what do do with these guys who insist on owning asault style weapons like the Kalashnikov.

We could put them to work on freight ships off of the cost of Somalia. They could shoot pirates instead of their wives, children and former co-workers.

Ok I'm being sarcastic, but honestly, how hard could it be to protect a big ship like that? Just have a few guys on lookout who could pick them off before they ever got close. I don't get it. Or while they are trying to crawl up on the ship throw big bags of wheat at them. I don't really think throwing money at them is a sustainable answer to their problems.

Back to the gun issue. I was listening to a local radio talk program while I ate lunch where I ski in north Idaho. Must have been some sort of public access program. Local elderly people were talking about the 2nd amendment and how Obama and Pelosi were bent on taking away gun ownership rights. It was hosted by a nice older lady and man. The lady did most of the talking. Clearly the talking points were scripted out of an NRA magazine, and there were also Rush Limbaugh buzz words like "drive by media" thrown in, but what really got me was the last thing she said, and I quote, "government is a self feeding cancer."

Wait a minute.. My dad worked for the government..

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Ski picture

Here's a picture of a skier that I took today. There's only one day left of ski season where I ski, but I'll ski at least one more day next week.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Across the state line

People travel across the state line into Idaho to buy cigarettes. From what I understand they are $20 less a carton in Idaho than they are in Washington. They put up an illuminated sign to advertise the products and their costs. Sometimes the authorities will set up a sting to catch people from Washington who buy cigarettes and bring them back into the state.

I don't smoke, but when I go in the stop and go, I'm amazed at the variety and selection of cigarettes. If I took up smoking I wouldn't know where to start. I guess I'd start with Pall Mall.

This sign really stands out in the weather. They've cracked down on signs on the Washington side too.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Brownie Flash Six-20

Here's a picture of one of my vintage cameras. A 1939 Kodak Brownie Flash Six-20 with the flash attachement and unexposed flash bulb. Pretty cool don't you think? I can't remember if I used this camera or not. For a while we wound 120 film on 620 spools to use 620 cameras, but I have other old 120 cameras that I used and you could just throw the roll of film in them. I tended to favor the 120 cameras.

Stormy weather

I guess I'll write a house cleaning post. Not really about cleaning my house even though I did do some of that last weekend on Sunday when I couldn't go skiing due to the stormy weather. (That's a great song BTW) It's snowing right now here too. I just hope there won't be so much snow that I can't drive my my van up the mountain to go skiing. My car is in the shop with a broken transmission and my van is rear wheel drive. To make matters worse I had to take the studded tires off of the van as you can't have them here now after April 1rst.

Despite all of this snow my resort is closing this weekend. They keep rolling back the closing date earlier each year and I think that really sucks because now I'll have to pay to ski somewhere else. It's like winter here now. The skiing is great and they close the resort? I'm going to complain.. That's just all there is to it.

My car. I talked the dealership into cutting me a break on the parts and labor. I just said, "Do you think you could give me a break?." So I talked them down $250.

Well I bought the car used and haven't put any money into it for a couple of years execpt I replaced the alternator last year. It konked on my way back home from Montana to be with my mom who was recovering from cancer surgery. You can read about that adventure Here . What the heck... That time, I understood the problem and thankfully I had my tools with me. But changing a transmisson is a little more than I want to take on. Don't get me wrong, the alternator was no small feat either as there is no room to work on these little cars. I wasn't really sure if I could do it without taking the whole car apart, but my options weren't that great and I had to try. I had to be back at work the next day. I replaced the alternator that night, exchanged the core part the next morning and then drove 200 miles back to work and got there two hours late. I'd missed so much work being with my mom for her whole cancer situation, that I had to do what I could to get back to work as fast as I could.

The situation now is much more relaxed than it was back then.