Friday, May 13, 2005


"I call it nap time. Which is just before food time. And then comes food-nap time. And that's my favorite time of all." -- Michael J. Caboose

Monday, May 09, 2005

International mail

What do they do to internationally shipped packages that brand-new cardboard boxes don't survive the journey? I just received my box from Dubrovnik, but I didn't recognize it at first because it had been wrapped with brown paper to prevent the box's innards from falling out the gaping holes.

Most of my souvenirs survived the maltreatment intact. There was one casualty, however (and I don't mean the box -- that was a fatality). A large sculpted candle has a few pieces broken off. After I left the post office in Dubrovnik, I started worrying about this candle. I realized that it didn't have much padding around it to prevent it from shaking around in its little box inside the big box. So it shook and bits broke off and other corners got dented and now it's not nearly so pristine as when I purchased it.

A shard of plastic mysteriously appeared in the box and I'm pretty sure it isn't part of anything of mine. So therefore it came *in* through one of the gaping holes before the box got wrapped.

The ceramic elephant survived intact. I'd wrapped several plastic bags around it. ("Nothing says Dubrovnik like an elephant," I joke to the shop employee. And then I look around at all the trite tripe in that store and other souvenir shops nearby and decide that the ceramic elephant was indeed the best souvenir available. It thankfully doesn't have "Dubrovnik" imprinted upon it.)

So, back to my original question. Are the postal workers playing football with the packages, or what? Or lacrosse, perhaps?

Friday, May 06, 2005

Kill the Messenger!!

Over in Sudan, people are clamoring for the government to give the death penalty to a journalist who "review[ed] a 500-year-old Islamic manuscript which says that the prophet Mohammed's father was not Abdullah, as Muslims believe." That's all. He didn't make it up or invent anything. He just showed everyone a 500-year-old document that people were happier to forget. Kill him! Apparently, "Islamic Sharia law in place in Khartoum requires the death penalty for such an offence."

So which of you was complaining about the U.S. system of law and government?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Cinco de Mayo

Happy May Fifth! I've heard that today isn't a really big holiday in Mexico, but I've never been there, so what do I know?

But of course what I like about this holiday is that it celebrates the Mexican army's victory in a battle against the French. Yup, that's right. France managed to lose even to Mexico in military conflict.

Mexico had half the numbers of the French army in the battle and not nearly the weaponry, but they still managed to give the French their comeuppance.

They beat them with cows.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Now and Again

If you want to meet people from the future, be sure to attend the one-time-only Time Traveler Convention. You can either attend now or wait for time machines to be invented...

(With thanks to Ped for the link.)

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Oyster Dome

I led a hike today, an official Mountaineers hike. My first, really. Last year, I agreed to lead one, but the two people who signed up canceled the day before. I led a couple other unofficial hikes last year, but only a couple people turned up. This time, I had eleven people with me (and two on the wait list, since we have a max size of 12). I jazzed up the hike description a bit, so it sold better. That and it was an easier hike than last year's.

Anyway, ... Oyster Dome is just off I-5 between Burlington and Bellingham. It's part of Blanchard Mountain/Hill, a massif with a couple knobs and lakes on top and a hang-gliding takeoff on the southwest.

At first, everything was going fine. We all met up and despite a wrong turn or two (and a cellphone call or two), everybody made it to the trailhead. It wasn't, however, the trailhead that I was planning on going to. That one was two miles beyond a locked gate. So the hike got longer and with more elevation gain. (From 6 miles, 900' to 8 miles, 1200' (from easy-moderate to moderate).) The hike was intended for beginners who just finished taking the Basic Wilderness Travel course. For one woman, this was her first hike EVER. I spent a lot of time with her, far behind everybody else.

It would have been good if there was an experienced hiker at the front of the group who had a map and knew where we were going and knew what trail junctions looked like and knew when we should be going uphill and when we should be going downhill. It wasn't until we were on the way back, actually, that the lead group, who I shall name Trouble, started going astray. Sure, they didn't stop at the last junction on the way to the lookout, but at least they turned the right way (they saw the sign).

Here's a few pictures:

Edge of the Cliff


Dave & Claudia Resting


Claudia's Homey, Who Stowed Away in Denise's Boot

I've got more people-shots at
Flickr, if you want. That last one is an inch-and-a-half-tall guy that managed to hitch a ride up the hill in somebody's boot! He fell behind the boot's tongue while she was in the guy's owner's car.

On the way back, Trouble managed to miss a turn-off and the good kids followed them blindly (even though one of them apparently asked, "Isn't that a trail?" as they passed the correct turn-off). Luckily they were going up a dead-end on that one. I had them trapped. Later, though, Trouble went straight at a switchback. But that hill has a lot of underbrushless terrain, so they were able to meet up with the trail a little ways down the hill ("We weren't the first people to go that way!") before I got there. A couple more junctions that Trouble blew past (but went the right way), and we were finally back at the cars. Six hours on the trail (including a 30 min lunchbreak for me and first-timer).

Great weather, great hike, even if I didn't get to talk much to ten of them. First-timer said she'll stick to Easy hikes from now on.

I need to lead more hikes.