Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Boarder Security

Whenever I see the phrase "boarder security," I immediately envision a college kid sleeping in a cheap bed in a small room with several Marines grouped around him, pointing their guns at the door, the walls, the ceiling--everywhere someone might break through in an attempt to harm the boarder.

... It's spelled "border," people!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Where is the internet?

Phone call just now:

"Where is the internet?"
"On top of the television."
"Which one?"
"Thank you."
"Sorry about that."
"No problem. Bye."

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Lake Malachite

Sun, rain, mosquitos, flies. . . What more do you want?

Let's go hiking!
Thanks to winter storms, the crossing of the West Fork Foss River was quite a bit different than previous years. I don't want to talk about it.

Trout Lake dropped about six feet due to those same storms. Now there's actually a beach you can walk on.

Up, up we go.

The lake!

You know you want to go swimming. Or at least, I did.

I dove in twice, Chunlin unsuccessfully attempting to time the photo. On the third try, we said I'd jump on three and then I'd hit the water about a second after. But then I jumped on two. Already in mid-air, I tried to stop. Long story short, I guess I'm not a cartoon character. Arms and leg flailing, I crashed into the water. Chunlin got a good picture, though!

Hmmm... It looks really nice in the photos, doesn't it? You can't see the bugs! (Even with the repellant, they still swarm in your face. Perhaps they don't land or bite, but they're still annoying.)

We ate an early dinner and took a nap in the tent. Before we knew it, the sun was behind the mountains. Time for bed!

This morning, it wasn't nearly so sunny.
For once, the weather report was correct. Hmph.

Light rain, heavy mist, and drizzle all took turns getting the tent damp. After a fairly quick breakfast, we hid in the tent and read the newspaper.

Eventually, we packed up and left.
This is the outlet for Trout Lake, the West Fork Foss River. That log was well underwater the past few years. It always looked like a good swimming hole, except for that big log just below the surface right through the middle. But this winter, excess water carved out a nice passage and managed to drain out half the lake. Now this spot isn't a very good swimming hole because it isn't deep enough!

We were going to stop for lunch here, but it started raining. Once we started walking again, it stopped.


More photos on flickr.

Friday, July 27, 2007

My Favorite Trailheads

A few trailheads in (or rather, just outside) the Alpine Lake Wilderness Area have drawn me more times than any other trailheads. Even Mt. Si.

Mt. Margaret/Lake Lillian:

1998 - Scouts. Margaret Lake backpack attempt, camped on ridge.
2000 - Scouts. Margaret Lk backpack attempt, camped at Twin Lks.
Jul 3, 2004 - Mountaineers. Margaret Lake dayhike.
Jul 30-31, 2005 - Uthrs. Lake Lillian backpack.
Jul 14, 2007 - Chunlin & I. Margaret Lake dayhike.

West Fork Foss River:

1988? - Scouts. Big Heart Lake backpack.
2003 - Mountaineers. Little Heart Lake dayhike.
May 15, 2004 - solo. Lake Malachite dayhike.
Aug 14, 2004 - friends. Lake Malachite dayhike.
2005 - Uthrs. Lake Malachite dayhike.
Oct 2005 - Uthrs. Big Heart Lake backpack.
Jul 28-29, 2007 - Chunlin & I. Lake Malachite backpack.

Tucquala Meadows:

1992? - Dad/Granddad & Scouts. Circle Lake backpack.
1994? - Scouts. Peggy's Pond & Snoqualmie Pass 50-miler.
Aug 31-Sep 2, 2002 - Dad/Granddad. Vicente/Circle Lks backpack.
2003 - Mountaineers. Robin Lakes dayhike.
Aug 21-22, 2004 - friend. Circle Lake backpack.
Jul 16-17, 2005 - Uthrs. Robin Lakes backpack.
Sep 2-4, 2006 - Dad/Granddad & Scouts. Circle Lake backpack.

Not that I want to give away some of my favorite hikes. . .

Meteor Showers

So, who wants to drive with me to some isolated campsite the night of Friday, August 31, so we can watch the Aurigid meteor shower between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. Saturday morning? The center of the shower is between the sun and the moon, so it's a very limited viewing opportunity, but some have predicted it'll be a good show.

PS: I already have plans for the Perseids on the morning of August 12. That's our first anniversary weekend (our first first anniversary!), so we're going backpacking up near Mt. Baker.

Also, the Delta Aquarid shower is happening right now, but it's very low on the southern horizon near the full moon. It peaks tomorrow morning.

Backpacking Tomorrow

I'm finding it very difficult to concentrate this morning. I keep thinking about Lake Malachite...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Where in Washington Were We?

We all know about Slaughter, Washington, changing its name to Auburn in 1893, right?

And some of you might known that Gilman changed its name to Issaquah in 1899.

But did you know that the town of Tolt changed its name to Carnation in 1917, back to Tolt in 1928, and back to Carnation again in 1951?

Or how about Yakima changing its name to Union Gap in 1905, shortly followed by North Yakima changing its name to Yakima in 1917?

How about Sehome changing to New Whatcom in 1890, merging with Whatcom later that year (but keeping the New Whatcom name), changing its name to Whatcom in 1901, then merging with Fairhaven in 1903 to form Bellingham? You knew that one, right?

And everybody fondly remembers Houghton (1947-1968), East Redmond (1956-1964), and Mercer Island Town (1960-1970). Ah, those were the days.

I suppose I could mention Ballard, Columbia, George Town, Ravenna, South Park, West Seattle, South Seattle, South-East Seattle, etc. -- but I wouldn't want to bore you by talking just about my home town.

(Information taken from MRSC.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

US Forest Service Gets in on Carbon Offset Scam

And good for them! Take advantage of the suckers while the opportunity presents itself. In a few years, nobody will be willing to pay extra money to plant trees.

The U.S. Forest Service is teaming with a nonprofit foundation to allow consumers to participate in a voluntary program to "offset" their carbon dioxide emissions.

Under the agreement to be announced Wednesday, the Forest Service and the National Forest Foundation will allow individuals or groups to make charitable contributions that will be used to plant trees and do other work to improve national forests.

The Forest Service estimates that the nation's 155 national forests offset about 10 percent of carbon emissions in the United States. Forest Service scientists believe that figure can be raised to as much as 25 percent by doing such things as planting more trees in urban areas or reforesting old cropland.

Under the new program, known as the Carbon Capital Fund, consumers can "offset" their carbon emissions by investing in projects on national forests to plant trees and improve water quality, increase wildlife habitat and help restore public lands damaged by natural disasters such as wildfires.


The Forest Service has identified several reforestation projects to kick off the new program, including one in the Custer National Forest in Montana and South Dakota and another in the Payette National Forest in Idaho.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What Season Are We in Now?

Winter changed into Spring. Spring changed into Summer. Summer changed back into Winter. And Winter gave Spring and Summer a miss and went straight on into Autumn.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Although this year it needs a minor modification: Winter changed into Spring. Spring changed into Summer. Summer changed back into Winter. And Winter gave Spring a miss and went straight on into Summer. ... at least for a while.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Haller Lake to the Ocean

Once upon a time, the waters of Haller Lake flowed west, then south through the swamps of Licton Springs to Green Lake, whereupon they flowed down Ravenna Creek to Union Bay of Lake Washington. Eventually they flowed down the Black River to the Duwamish River and ultimately to Elliott Bay, Puget Sound, and the Pacific Ocean.

Nowadays, though, there have been a few changes. When Seattle lowered Green Lake in 1911 by seven feet, they had to start piping the water out. Ravenna Creek has since been built over for much of its length (except within Ravenna and Cohen Parks) and gets piped into the man-made Union Slough which drains to Union Bay. The water flows through a wasterwater treatment plant between Green Lake and Lake Washington.

When Lake Washington was dropped nine feet in 1916, it left the Black River high and dry. The water instead flowed out the Montlake Cut to Lake Union and thus to Shilshole Bay, Puget Sound, and the Pacific Ocean.

Soon, Haller Lake water will avoid Green Lake and Lake Washington altogether. King County will be routing Licton Springs water to a treatment plant that pipes it directly to Lake Union.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I Picked a Bad Day to Forget the Bug Spray


Chunlin and I took a dayhike yesterday to Margaret Lake. (Why do I want to call it Lake Margaret?) No rain, but the mosquitos were out in full force. Constant swatting while we ate our lunch. I got about ten bites, including one on my ear. Chunlin only got three or four. Maybe I'm tastier, or maybe she's better at protecting her flesh.

The snow must not have melted till a couple weeks ago. The mosquitos were freshly hatched and very hungry.

The view from the high point on the trail:

Name that flower!

And one more for your viewing pleasure, on the final descent to the lake:

I've posted more photos at my flickr site.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Apollo 11 Day!

38 years ago today, Neil Armstrong mumbled those immortal words: "One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."

Or maybe it was the radio transmission which dropped the smallest word from the lot. In any case, it makes more sense the way he intended to say it rather than the way everyone remembers it.

Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spent 2.5 hours wandering around on the lunar surface that day. I bet it was tough to go back inside, even with a dwindling oxygen supply.

I like Superman's headdress. . .

A real comic book cover from the golden days. . . More at Superdickery.com.

Zuul, Stop the Rain

Long as I remember, the rain been coming down
Clouds of mystery pouring confusion on the ground
Good men through the ages, tryin to find the sun
And I say it, still I pray it: Zuul, stop the rain

I went down to Manhattan, seekin shelter from the storm
Caught up in the fable, I watched the tower grow
Smoky ruins and maidens wrapped in golden chains
And I say it, still I pray it: Zuul, stop the rain

Heard the chanters wailing, how they cried for more
The crowd had rushed together, trying to keep warm
Still the rain kept pouring, fallin on my ears
And I wonder, still I wonder: Are you the gatekeeper?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

$1000 photos

I posted some more wedding photos over on flickr, if you care to look. These were taken by the professional we hired.

Here's a sampling:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Location Location Again

New question:

Where should we buy a house as an investment to rent out? In other words, where in the area do you think rents will increase the most, and soon? I'm thinking Eastside, but maybe we need to go fringes, like Renton or Kenmore.

Currently, a one-bedroom condo rents for about $1,000/month. A two-bedroom condo rents for about $1,500/month. We'd need a mortgage of less than $100,000 to break even on the one-bedroom condo, and a mortgage less than $200,000 to break even on the two-bedroom.

Unfortunately, those condos cost $100,000 more than that, each. So we need a place where we can increase the rent by $800 in the next few years.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Location Location Location

Where should we buy a new house: Seattle or Bellevue?

Monday, July 16, 2007


In my lifetime, the dollar has shrunk to be only worth $0.27. (266.11% inflation, as calculated here.) In other words, you need $3.66 to buy the same item that cost $1.00 in 1976.

While the phrase "a penny for your thoughts" originated sometime before 1546, the inflation calculator doesn't go back that far. It only goes back to 1914, since which time the equivilent value has grown to $0.21. Add in a few more centuries of inflation and the phrase should now be "a hundred dollars for your thoughts."

Friday, July 13, 2007

Our Honeymoon Cruise

What else is there to do on a cruise ship but take pictures of the ocean?


It was a dark and stormy morning in the emerald city. The sleepy denizens awoke and opened their blinds to wonder if they had somehow slept through the remainder of the summer.

Little did they know, however, that a Seattle summer only lasts two days! Especially when you have a Friday the 13th on the calendar. Mwa-ha-ha!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Holy Mountain

On an isolated peninsula jutting into the Aegean Sea, a group of monastaries cling to the steep and heavily forested mountainsides, maintaining an existence semi-autonomous from Greece. Just over two thousand monks and laymen live on the peninsula, with no women or children (or non-Orthodox men) allowed to reside.

It's official name is the Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain, but it is commonly referred to as Mount Athos.

Civil authorities are appointed by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but spiritually, Mount Athos is under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch in İstanbul. The patriarch is the Orthodox version of the Catholic pope, with the qualifications of being a Turkish citizen of Greek ethnicity.

To visit the peninsula, one must take a ferry. "Before embarking on the boat all visitors must have been issued a diamonitirion, a form of Byzantine visa that is written in Greek, dated to the Julian calendar, and signed by four of the secretaries of leading monasteries." Or so says Wikipedia.

Drink Up!


Today is the Holy Day of Hívo, the God of Potable Water, the Second Eldest of all the gods! So you better drink your eight glasses of water today to show how much you appreciate Him. Or more, if it's hot out. It's good to stay hydrated.

The Eldest, of course, is Kérasa, High Goddess of Water, Who is Hívo's consort. Or rather, one of Hívo's consorts. He also consorted with the ice goddess, Vítí, but that's only because She tricked Him.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

But It's a Dry Heat

Maximum temperature at our house today: 97.0°.
Minimum relative humidity: 16%.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Wedding Photos!

My queen, the beautiful Zhonoríní:

The view through the sculpture at Kerry Park:

Ready for the guests:

What's everybody waiting for?

Catch it, Carey!

More of my photos at flickr, as well as some photos of the actual cermony at my aunt's flickr page.


So far this year, I've taken 24 airplane flights. In the past twelve months, I've taken 30 airplane flights.

At my current rate, I should have 46 flights for 2007 by the end of the year. Right? Probably not. I've used up all my vacation time already!

Last August: Spokane (work)
December: through Atlanta to Wilmington, Delaware (work)
December: from Buffalo through Cincinnati (work)
January: Minneapolis (work)
January: through Los Angeles to Nadi, Fiji (vacation)
January: from Nadi to Auckland, to Queenstown (vacation)
February: from Auckland through Los Angeles (vacation)
February: Spokane (work)
March: Spokane (work)
April: Las Vegas (vacation)
April: Spokane (work)
May: Spokane (work)
June: Spokane (work)
June: Oakland (work)
June/July: Miami (vacation)

Maybe I'll get to 38 flights in 2007, though. . .

Monday, July 09, 2007

I'm Back!

Cruises are bad for the health. How many meals are in a day, after all? Six? How many courses are in a meal? Seven? . . . It all tasted good, though.