Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Office

The worst part of living on the West Coast is being 3 hours behind on the tv schedule. Curse you Marty McFly! Several people have informed me via text the new Office this week is amazing. Only 2 hours to go dangit.

Also, my parental unit was offended that I called bees assholes. Apparently - they are not "naughty words" but bees are instead mean spirited stinging drones.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

How I Met Your Mother

Monday night has a great show that needs to be watched. How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM)is a random show that is based in New York that has an ensemble cast with the focus on how Ted met his wife. The basic premise is the show is told in flashback form with episodes on what happened en route to meeting the his wife. By itself the show would be good but the piece that makes it great is Ted's friend Barney played by Neil Patrick Harris, aka Doogie Howser. You might not think it but he absolutely makes the show. You have to watch it too appreciate it - so watch it.

This upcoming weekend promises to be entertaining as well. Saturday during the day Red Bull is hosting a soapbox derby on a hill in Seattle. This thing promises to be ridiculous in every sense of the word. To make sure things are done in a timely fashion you had to apply to participate in the race because hundreds of people would race otherwise. You get judged on speed, design, and originality and knowing Redbull they will promote craziness.

After the soapbox derby I'll be heading off to see my first college football game ever. UW (Washington) will be taking on the #1 ranked USC Trojans and it promises to be high scoring event because UW has no defense. I figure USC will win handily but it should be a good time.

The best comedy on tv - The Office - returns on Thursday. Watch it and you'll probably like it. Dry humor and a decent plot should be enough for most people. On Friday the aptly named Friday Night Lights returns. FNL is a great show that has some football, some high school angst, and some real family situations. If you can't watch it at least Tivo it.

In closing you need to watch three shows.

1. How I Met Your Mother on Monday
2. The Office on Thursday
3. Friday Night Lights on Friday

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bees Are Assholes

Before I write about Oktoberfest let me begin by saying I hate bees. I was hiking yesterday when out of the blue a bee the size of a ... bee? decided to sting me on the hand. It hurt and therefore after I swatted the little sucker off I stepped on him to ensure that he would die a painful death. At least I wanted it to be painful. So my hand was sore and a little swollen for the rest of the day. I had heard of something earlier this summer about a problem with bees flying away from the nest and not returning. This was called colony collapse disorder I believe because entire colonies of bees were dying or disappearing. I've decided that since nobody eats honey anymore that bees should die. Bees are assholes.

It was cold towards the top the of the hike. It was maybe 60 towards the bottom of the mountain and once we got up it was cold, windy, and damp. I was dressed a little bit better for the weather so I gave Lisa the emergency rain jacket I keep in my packback. Big jacket - Little Lisa.

After watching football today (stupid Vikings) my friend Brandon and I went to the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle to take part in Oktoberfest of a local nature. Fremont is the center of the universe according to locals. They signs saying that at least so it must be true, right? Anyway, this counter culture neighborhood has a statue of Lenin, and a Troll so their Oktoberfest would have been pretty good had we actually gone in. It was super expensive for what you got and we weren't 100% into drinking heavily on a Sunday afternoon. It looked liked it would have been fun if we had gone last night.

Here are shots of the lake and of fun with Digital Cameras. Brandon and Lisa below. I'm tired of messing with the formatting also.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Return of the free wireless. Two Posts!

When my brother was in town we did some standard tourist stuff but we did drive all over creation on day. The first few pictures are from that trip when we were driving around Washington. I would also mention they were taken in September so only the highest mountains have snow on them and in some cases glaciers.

This picture was taken from a low scenic overlook looking back towards the East. Mt. Rainer is in the distance and it would be around maybe 40 miles away as the crow flies. Below is the Hood Canal, a separate offshoot that is part of Puget Sound.

Looking to the Northeast at Mt. Baker and a smaller peak to the right. I'm not sure of the distance but it's significantly farther away than Rainer. It's close to the Canadian border.

This was taken later on the same day. We drove around Puget sound and into Rainer National Park. This is a close up of the top of Mt. Rainer - again notice the glaciers. I believe there are 14 named glaciers that can move up to 3 feet a day, both forward and back.

This is a valley on Rainer. The "rocks" are really gigantic boulders that were left as the glacier retreated up the mountain. According to one of the information plaques on the Mountain one of the glaciers in the picture above reached all the down to the bridge in the picture. Scientists think the glacier is due for a major move down the mountain.

From the same hill earlier in the day looking back East at downtown Seattle. It's probably 25 miles away but that's a guess.

Here is the zoom in of the Seattle Skyline from that same vantage point. It's a little blurry but I think it might give and idea of height and distance we were looking at.

After my brother left I went hiking with some friends. We climbed to what is considered a sub alpine lake. I need to find out what the difference between and alpine lake and a sub-alpine lake is but I assume it's just height. Notice how clear the lake is. It was a long decent hike and the view was pretty solid.

Same lake looking in a different direction.

Lastly - in terms of both coolness and creepiness the new google link is pretty high on both counts. shows a steady stream of the pictures being uploaded to the Google cloud at all times. It's addicting and scary.

Don't Mess With Texas!

This last weekend I flew to Austin Texas for a bachelor party. A few friends from college are getting married in a few weeks and instead of having to separate parties the decision was made to combine the forces of evil and have a gigantic party. We ended up with about 25 guys arriving from Seattle, Madison, Lansing, Las Vegas, Chicago, Bloomington, Columbus, Milwaukee, and possibly places beyond that I’m forgetting. I’m glad I wasn’t in charge of that debacle – herding cats comes to mind because that is a lot of humanity to move around without the benefit of military training. This came off pretty smooth overall, a few small gaffes but otherwise well.

Austin is a pretty nice town. It reminds me a lot of Madison Wisconsin for a lot of different reasons. They are both major college towns and the state capitols respectively. Austin is about twice the size of Madison so there is a more metropolitan feel than Madison but not by much. Walking around 6th street was also similar to State street in Madison – a few too many bars and a little too dirty but good for cheap beer and keeping college kids out of mischief for the most part. It was almost like a cleaner version of Bourbon St. or maybe Beale St. in Memphis would be a better comparison with all the live music.

The selection of Austin as the destination stems around the large music festival they have towards the end of summer called Austin City Limits or ACL. Most people are familiar with the long running show on PBS called Austin City Limits which shares the name but is unrelated to the festival. ACL is held in a city park a little bit away from downtown. Every city and county bus available must have been used to transport most of the 65,000 people in attendance around because it went pretty seamlessly. Milwaukee could take a few lessons for Summerfest which doesn’t do a bad job.

The only problem, and it’s pretty much unavoidable, is the excessive heat. The temps were pushing 90 – 95 during the day and the skies were pretty clear. That’s really warm to have so many people in a treeless park drinking cheap beer. They schedule the festival around Longhorn (UT) football games so there is some flexibility but they can’t push it up because it would be even hotter and they can’t push it back much farther, supposedly because of the threat of thunderstorms. I’m not sure what could be done because a different music festival is held in the spring called South By Southwest (SXSW) and it’s going to hot in Texas most of the time. To keep things moving they staggered starts to prevent shows from bleeding over each other and to maximize the music being played. It was cheap too! A 16oz beer was $4 and the slightly larger souvenir cup was only $7.

A few of us watched college football for a while to keep us from baking in the sun, or maybe in the honor of the Violent Femmes, from blistering in the sun. We showed around 5 and not being in the sun might have saved my life. It was hot and there was no shade but there was plenty of water and lots of good food options. The Arctic Monkey’s put on the same solid show I saw in Seattle a few months ago, solid but not spectacular. Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah put on a good show but they are hard to understand and I wasn’t familiar with the new album. Good but not great I guess. The Arcade Fire was put on a great show. Lots of energy, great songs, and it would appear the members of the band really enjoy playing and being on stage. Good times.

Flying out of Seattle meant an early leave time on Friday so I bought a paper at a newsstand to kill time and was given some change. Nothing weird about that until I realized I was given three different $1 coins and 3 quarters. Either the United States need to get rid of the paper dollar (which I think we should) or the coins need to stop being printed. I got a Susan B. Anthony (from 1979), a Sakakawea (2000), and a new George Washington (2007). The United States has failed twice to go to coins and now a series of coins that will have the Presidents in sequence is being rolled out similar to the quarters. Who cares? Either go with the coin and get rid of the paper dollar or stop trying to roll out the coins with the halfhearted crap. Coins last forever and paper has a very short lifespan. I think coins make the most sense and if Europe and Canada can do it so can the United States. Hell, most people don’t even realize we have a $2 bill. I think we can make the change on dollars and don’t even get me started on how useless the penny is.

I know used the North Dakota spelling of Sakakawea and I don’t know why we pronounce it that way as opposed to the more commonly known Sacagawea. I'm going to blame Lewis for this one, take that Meriwether!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Free Internet

So my free wireless has been on the fritz lately, meaning it hasn’t been working at all which would be annoying if I actually paid for it. I guess beggars can’t be choosers. If I wasn’t already getting screwed on my cable I would consider getting my own wireless router, but then again free wireless is available all over Seattle. I will post pictures from Mt. Rainer at some point.

My friend Michelle was in Seattle to visit last weekend. She took a day off to come and visit me in Seattle and to see the sights and experience the city. My brother was in town the weekend before so I got a pretty solid plan in place for what makes for a good tour. I won’t go into tremendous detail but it was a very good weekend.
Things we did include – Sushi, small local shops, seeing salmon migration (they really do jump), seafood, sun setting over mountains, the original Starbucks, a ferry ride, feeding seagulls, the public market, shopping, the space needle, a jazz club, a wine bar, and lastly a quick drive around the city on the way to the airport. I could go into much more detail as well – like how we saw a troll under a bridge but you’ll have to come to Seattle and see for yourself. The best part about the tour is that it’s very customizable as shopping could easily be replaced with a tour – brewery, winery, or some other exciting options like mountains.

This upcoming weekend will be spent in Austin Texas for a bachelor party for some Marquette friends. This will be my 3rd Friday in a row that will be spent out of the office. While that sounds good it is a pain in the butt to miss a bunch of days sporadically. Having the days off is nice but having the weekly work stack up is not as fun.

Today is Sept 11th and I’m watching a show on the difficulty surrounding the unexpected need to ground the entire United States airspace, something that had never been done in the history of American flight. The day had nearly perfect weather around the country and it took nearly 3 hours to ground nearly a million people airborne at the time of the attacks. More than a few close calls were had that day including the near shoot down of a Korean Air flight that was headed to Alaska. Amazingly enough it was determined after the fact that a detailed landing plan would have made things worse. Apparently on the fly decision making made by experienced air traffic controllers was better because they could take things like weather into account that a plan would not be able to handle. It feels surreal to watch all this stuff 6 years later especially now that I live on a coast and work in a real skyscraper. I’m not paranoid or particularly worried but it does make you think. There is something odd about watching a series of shows on the 9/11 attacks but I’m sure they will continue for a very long time similar to the JFK assignation or the Challenger shuttle explosion.

I feel like I had much more to write about the lack of Internet has dulled my memory and/or need to write.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia

Possibly the most inapropriate TV show in the land returns on the 13th on FX. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia has Danny Devito as a sometimes guest star and revolves around a few idiot friends who own a bar. This show is funny and it deserves and audience.

My younger brother was in town for a few days and I have a basic tour of the city / surrounding area prepared. Come visit - I know where to take you now and how long to allow. We did sushi, the market, an underground tour, a boat tour, a ferry ride, a drive around the Olympics, a drive to Mount Rainet all in basically two days. I have some pretty cool pictures but I'm too lazy to download them tonight. Apologies. This tour is customizable as well so if you're not interested in one part we can subsititute something else. I have another friend arriving this week and we'll certainly be trying some different things.

My brother left on Sunday morning so I spent part of Sunday and most of Monday with some friends. We grilled Salmon, drank some beers, went for a long hike, lounged in a hot tub, and had an all around fun time. I also have a few pictures from the hike - again not posted - because I'm too lazy tonight. Brandon is Mr. Outdoors so I'm going to be spending a lot of time and money at REI to keep up with him. Snowboarding, camping, whitewater rafting, and lord knows what else... I guess that's why I moved to Seattle.

Labor Day also means the gradual start of fall. Fall is my favorite time of year and nothing beats 50 degrees wearing a sweatshirt and goofing around outside. College starts and that means football. The games are great and with college and pros starting at 9am and 10am respectively means that weekends are better than ever. College starting also means that college basketball is that much closer. MU released their schedule today and I think I'm going to try to be in Milwaukee at the end of January for a two game weekend but that's a long way off. I have season tickets to both UW (Washington) and Marquette. Lots of college basketball to watch this season and I can't wait.

I'll try to get pictures up tomorrow.