Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bought a Bike

Chunlin and I took a bike ride from Redmond to Snoqualmie Falls yesterday. Or at least that was our plan. In actuality, we made it as far as . . . Redmond.

My borrowed bike's chain broke again as soon as I tried to shift gears the first time. I called Dad and he pointed us to the nearest bike shop. They sold us a new chain ($35) and said the bike really needs new gears, too. So I called Dad (see photo) to discuss. In the end, we didn't pay for the new gears, but rode it to REI with only the chain replaced.

Mark Tree

At REI, we looked at new bikes. Since it's the end of the 2007 season, none of the stores have regular-sized bikes anymore. Plenty of extra-large and extra-small, though! The Redmond guy called Southcenter because they had a medium in the style I liked (K2 Mach 1), but it was on hold for someone else through Saturday night. I called Tacoma REI to put a K2 Mach 1 medium on hold. Southcenter REI put a K2 Mach 2 on hold for me.

This morning, I test-rode the K2 Mach 1 at Southcenter (the holdee customer didn't buy it yesterday). I don't like drop handlebars.

In short, four bike shops later, I bought a Marin Fairfax ('07) at the Seattle REI for $499. It's a flat-handlebar road bike. Chunlin chided me for the flat handlebars. Not hard-core enough! But it's what I'm comfortable with.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Bash stuff! Bash stuff! Yeah, yeah, yeah! Destroy! Destroy! Destroy!

Mwa ha ha!

'Tis the Holy Day of Huro! Take your goat-drawn chariot of gold -- and don't forget your jumbo hammer -- and go wreck stuff! Knock a hole in that wall! Bash your friend's head in!

. . . Okay, maybe not that. Stay away from your friends. Especially if you're drunk and violent. Or if they're drunk and violent. That's a bad combination -- but it's right up Huro's alley!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Love the Internet

Reading Bldg Blog:

Wired: When you were growing up, hearing music often required going to see it performed. But iPods make music ubiquitous, like mental air-conditioning. What have we gained or lost by that?

Sacks: At first it would seem to be a wonderful gain. Darwin might have had to go to London to see a concert. But I can't help wondering if the incidence of earworms and musical hallucinations is higher now, with background music in every public place. You can't go to a restaurant without music, and they get offended if you ask them to turn it off. They feel it's part of their creativity – they're doing it for you.
Click on earworms:
See also:

Phonological loop
Badger Badger Badger
Motif of harmful sensation
Tetris effect
Click on Badger Badger Badger:
The video series "Shortlist", released by PC World Australia, made a clip on internet fads, listing the Badger fad as one of the top five internet fads (along with the Star Wars kid, All Your Base Are Belong To Us, Peanut Butter Jelly Time and Numa Numa. They further showed a version of the original animation, replacing the badgers, mushrooms and snakes with the hosts, and modifying the words to the people's actual names.
Click on All Your Base Are Belong To Us:
The cut scene transcript goes as follows:

Narrator: In A.D. 2101, war was beginning.
Captain: What happen ?
Mechanic: Somebody set up us the bomb.
(spoken in the Flash animation as Someone set up us the bomb)
Operator: We get signal.
Captain: What !
Operator: Main screen turn on.
Captain: It's you !!
CATS: How are you gentlemen !!
CATS: All your base are belong to us.
CATS: You are on the way to destruction.
Captain: What you say !!
CATS: You have no chance to survive make your time.
CATS: Ha Ha Ha Ha ....
(spoken in the Flash animation as Ha Ha Ha)
Operator: Captain !!
Captain: Take off every 'ZIG' !!
Captain: You know what you doing.
Captain: Move 'ZIG'.
Captain: For great justice.
Which brings us to the source behind James Taranto's use of the phrase "Someone Set Up Us the Bomb."

Oh, the wonders we find!


Remember what I said a couple weeks ago about rebellions?

Well, I don't have high hopes for the monks in Burma.

Mooncakes are yummy

Yesterday was the Moon Festival, so now is the perfect time to go to your local (Chinese) grocery store and buy mooncakes at a discounted price!

May I suggest the date-filled variety? Oh, just buy a whole box.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I have a North Central accent.

And yet I talk nothing like a Dakotan!

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: North Central

"North Central" is what professional linguists call the Minnesota accent. If you saw "Fargo" you probably didn't think the characters sounded very out of the ordinary. Outsiders probably mistake you for a Canadian a lot.

The West
The Midland
The Inland North
The South
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

But if I change a couple iffy answers, I move to California!

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The West

Your accent is the lowest common denominator of American speech. Unless you're a SoCal surfer, no one thinks you have an accent. And really, you may not even be from the West at all, you could easily be from Florida or one of those big Southern cities like Dallas or Atlanta.

North Central
The Midland
The South
The Inland North
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Monday, September 24, 2007

MLB Postseason Decided

I know there's still one week left in Major League Baseball regular season play, but it's all wrapped up now. Thanks to my ever-decreasing scale of can't-catch-'em-anymore, the postseason lineup has been decided. The last to fall off the list were the Brewers, losing too much ground to the Cubs over the weekend.

The division winners are:

AL East: Red Sox
AL Central: Indians
AL West: Angels
AL wild card: Yankees

NL East: Mets
NL Central: Cubs
NL West: Diamondbacks
NL wild card: Padres

The Phillies, however, are only a half-game behind the Padres for the wild card slot. They fell behind too far last week, so I cut them.

The Yankees are only 1.5 games behind the Red Sox, even though they fell far behind a month ago.

The Rockies are on an eight-game winning streak to get to 1.5 games behind the Padres. I crossed them off two weeks ago.

If any of these trailing teams manage to catch and take over the leading teams, then they surely are the teams to watch in the postseason. They're obviously playing well right now, to have regained some distance.

Time will tell.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday Ride

We took a bike ride from Kenmore to Redmond and back this afternoon. 25 miles or so. My first bike ride in . . . well . . . twenty years?

It was quite fun. It feels like I coasted most of the way, both directions. Just a few pumps and then just float along the path, the wind in my face.

But I'm sore in some unusual places. . .

And a couple miles from the car, on our return, the bike chain snapped. Luckily, a bike shop was just a half mile back, in Bothell. I scootered along while C & C rode.

The mechanics fixed the bike with no troubles and we were soon on our way home.

Also: At Cold Stone Creamery, Irish cream ice cream with almonds is good, but strawberry ice cream with graham crackers, caramel, and whipped cream is better.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Earth Mother Goddess

Today's the Holy Day of Nuvíní, the High Goddess of Earth!

Can you dig it?


Thursday, September 20, 2007

The 87th State

New US Map

A map I drew. It shows almost all of the state secession proposals throughout the years, as listed on Wikipedia. The good ones, at least.

Only fourteen states remain untouched.

UPDATE: 87, not 86. I kept missing Conch in the Florida Keys!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Hard Candy Is Hard

Chunlin and I were sitting on the couch, watching a movie with the lights off. Chunlin asked Christina to get some hard candy for her. Christina dutifully retrieved two pieces of the delicious Chinese candy and pretended as if she were going to throw one. I held up my hand to catch, and so she threw.

Did you know it's difficult to judge a small object's velocity, direction, and overall location whilst in the dark?

I now have a bruise on the bridge of my nose.

Qualtiy Assurance

-- A section heading from a different company's specifications.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


There's a lot of leaves on the ground these days.

And the air is kinda cool.

Do you think, maybe, that autumn is on the way?



Full Plate

Sorry! Busy! Gotta get back to work. . .

Friday, September 14, 2007

Thoughts from 10,000'

The EU will collapse within 5 years.

Something on this plane stinks.

Some SUVs are larger than this plane.

Rory's front wheel fell off his bicycle.

Facial hair usually looks stupid.

Rebellions at solar minimums seem to be "quelled" more often than those at maximums.

Brasilia EMB120s label their seats in an odd location -- over the window on one side, on the storage overhead compartment on the other.

Islands in the clouds.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Remember that honeymoon we took?

If you ever go to Butterfly World in Fort Lauderdale, make sure to not wear a grass hat into the lorikeet building.

8zf-Lorikeets Eat Hat
They seem to find them tasty.

I finally finished posting the last of the honeymoon photos.

The macaws weren't so aggressive, thankfully. But this one did give me the eye.
8zi-Blue Macaw

Butterfly World also had butterflies.
8j-Black Yellow Butterfly

But the living ones are hard to photograph. They don't keep still for very long.

Dead ones are much easier to photo.
8s-Morpho Butterflies
8v-Butterfly Colors

And then we flew back to Seattle.

9m-Banks Lake
Look! The Grand Coulee Dam!

Party Time!


Now that the harvest is in, it's time to party! Turn the world upside down!

Servants run the mansion, the king serves the beer, and parents follow their kids' orders!

Happy Korutuzho Day!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Labor Day Weekend

I forgot to post photos from the end of the Goat Rocks hike. The second half was more spectacular than the first, so you really should go to my full set to see them all, but here's a brief summary:

Golden eagles soaring high:
70-Golden Eagles Clouds

Looking over the Packwood Glacier at Mt Rainier:
96-Mt Rainier Packwood Valley

Chunlin and Mt Rainier:
12-Chunlin Mt Rainier

Mt Adams from near Goat Lake:
26-Lupine Mt Adams

Christina staying out of the cold waters of Goat Lake:
32-Goat Lake Christina

My dad near his Goat Lake campsite:
38-Dad Goat Creek Cliff

I really needed to shave:
2-Mark Chunlin Tent

Mt Adams down the Goat Creek valley:
17-Mt Adams Goat Valley Morning

Chunlin still having a good time after three days of hiking:
21-Chunlin Goat Ridge Laugh

Mt St Helens

Okay, so I didn't make it to the top. My knee was still too injured from last weekend. But who would really want to be on the top with all that sand blowing around?

20-Mt St Helens Monitor Ridge

Here's where Chunlin left me behind.
19-Monitor Ridge Chunlin

I made it to the 21st post, which is around 5800'. So that's just about 2000' gain (out of 4500'). Not the top, but still quite a view.
30-Monitor Ridge View

I could see Mt Adams, Mt Hood, Mt Jefferson, and (I believe) Three Sisters. Which makes it five-volcano hike! If I had made it to the top, it would have been six. How sad.

I've posted more photos on flickr, including our jaunt in the Ape Caves on Saturday. Ooh, that place was dark!

Don't Submit!

There are people out there who despise the American way of life. They long for simpler times when life wasn't so complicated. These times never truly existed in history, but that doesn't stop them from fantasizing.

These people fall into two categories: hippies and Islamists.

Hippies, I can deal with. They don't want to kill me.

The Islamists, on the other hand, plan on killing each and every one of us, if we don't meekly obey their every command. They want a world-wide theocracy. It's how they expect to reach salvation. It's for their religion. It's from their religion. And if anyone gets in their way, the Koran tells the Islamists to kill the infidels.

And so they do.

Our only options are to surrender and to fight. Anything half-and-half would be detrimental. Either give up and most of us get to live (in slavery, more or less), or fight and stay free.

Which would you choose?

I say fight. Some will die, true, but at least they'll know in their hearts they sacrificed themselves for the lives and freedom of their loved ones. In our current wishy-washy, half-submit, half-fight scenario, our soldiers don't know if their sacrifices will be worth it. They don't know if our government will surrender before the job is done, and so our soldiers worry for their loved ones, uncertain of the future.

Our future should be clear. We should never retreat. We should never surrender to the Islamists. We should never submit.

Monday, September 10, 2007

M's September Slump

I go away for the weekend and look how far the Mariners have fallen. Five games back of the Yankees for the Wild Card. The M's always seem to slump at the end of the season. Even in 2001, when they won a record 116 games, they were only 50/50 in September. It must be something to do with the length of plane flights. They have a lot further to travel than the other teams. Maybe we need to get a Honolulu team to join the league.

Well, in summary: that's it. I'm writing them off. Better luck next year.

Damn Yankees.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Washington State Route 339

RCW 47.17.571
State route No. 339.

A state highway to be known as state route number 339 is established as follows:

Beginning at the junction of state route number 160 at the state ferry terminal at Vashon Heights, thence via the state ferry system northeasterly to the junction with state route number 519 at the state ferry terminal in Seattle.
It's not so much a reality as a state of mind. . .

Mmm... Donuts...

Top Pot donuts are melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

I'll savor this one and not eat any others today, I promise.

Cispus Basin

Last Saturday night, we camped at Cispus Basin, just this side of Cispus Pass at the headwaters of the Cispus River. It was my second time camping there. Still beautiful.

The view up from our campsite in Cispus Basin:
28-Cispus Basin Flowers

A shot down to our camp:
30-Cispus Basin Camp

If you run fast enough up the hill, you can catch the goats. But only if they're standing still.
37-Mountain Goats Collar
Note the tracking collar. *Someone* must have caught that goat. I guess he was the slow one...

Mt. Adams over Cispus Pass:
41-Cispus Basin Mt Adams

The sun sets, leaving Mt. St. Helens in the dusk:
50-Mt St Helens Sunset
I'll be climbing that mountain on Sunday, straight up the left horizon edge in this photo, more or less. Or at least that's where Pedicularis says the trail is.

And then it was time for bed. My thermarest has a hole in it. This makes for a rough night's sleep. I blame the cat and his claws.

A very few morning clouds:
55-Clouds Cispus Basin

And away we go...
60-PCT Cispus Basin

Goodbye, Cispus Basin!
61-PCT Cispus Basin Sun

Another day and a half of photos to come. A couple more dozen photos at flickr.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Walk in the Woods

I've started posting photos from our Labor Day weekend hike in the Goat Rocks Wilderness. I haven't even gotten to our first night's camp yet...

A waterfall under the Goat Creek bridge:
6-Goat Creek Falls

Mt. Adams, looming close:
12-Mt Adams Bypass

Here is a closeup of the Goat Rocks:
18-Goat Rocks

Cispus Basin, where we camped:
21-Cispus Basin Cispus River

Chunlin and I at the waterfall alongside the trail:
24b-Mark Chunlin Cispus Waterfall
If we didn't dawdle at the back of the group, we probably could've had someone else take the photo for us...

More photos on flickr, with more yet to come! And one of these days, I promise to finish off the honeymoon snaps, too.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Need to Post Something

I have it.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Weather My Knee

For once this summer, the weather and weekend cycles aligned! A beautiful three-day weekend in the mountains, followed by rain when it's time to go back to work. Yay!

I injured my knee on Sunday, so that it hurt going downhill. Monday, we had almost nothing but downhill to hike. I took aspirin and limped, and got down without undue pain or further injury. Getting out of the car the first time was painful, though. Stiff and injured, ow!

This morning, though, almost no pain. Just a little tweak in the side of the knee. I guess I didn't permanently damage myself. Now I only need to figure out how not to do it again.