Saturday, October 30, 2004

New Script Popping up

You'll see when you leave my site that a popup asks you to rate a picture. Please let me know if this is annoying and I will take it out :)

Friday, October 29, 2004

Snow Games

Yesterday, we got about 2 inches of snow, so Galileo and I went outside to play ball. Ball play with Galileo consists of throwing him the ball, and watching him run around in circles for ten minutes with it. Every once in a while he would stop and look for me to take the ball away from him.

Puppy blinking

Galileo's got the ball!


Taking a breather

Quick turn

Another Breather

I'm in a Photo Contest!

Hi Everyone --

One of my pictures got chosen for a photo contest! It's here. Please take a look, and if you'd like to vote for me and the other picutres (they do have controls against continuous voting), please go ahead.

This is the first time I've ever entered a photo contest, so I'm very excited :).

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Don't Miss the Lunar Eclipse tonight!

Supposedly the moon will be red during the eclipse. To find when it will happen in your timezone, use the Lunar Eclipse Computer.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Blog Primer

Last week, Mom and I had an interesting conversation. We talked about blogs and their future impact on news delivery. It's my opinion that blogs will transform how we get news, much like how the internet transformed how we receive other forms of information. She asked me for blog "hand grips", or blogs that I regulary frequent for information.

Here are a few places that I visit often for news stories:
1) Instapundit is a good starting point for anyone. Glenn Reynolds is a law professor at University of Tennessee, and is a very popular blog for anyone who wants to know what is happening in the political world.
2) Ann Althouse also has a good website and is in Wisconsin.
3) Venturpreneur is also a good site, once again from Wisconsin.
4) Technorati sums up blogs on different subjects.
5) Sometimes I just check out this old debate blog page and look for something new to read.

Some other interesting blogs:
1) Anne has a blog also, and shares the same birthday as I do (too bad she lives "Outside" -- HA!)
2) Madeleine Kane specializes in political humor.
3) Cooking for Engineers tells you everything you need know about analytical coooking!
4) The Daily Meme has blogging games -- think of them as writing skill puzzles -- for your blog.

So, when you get a chance, get out there and read!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Wednesday Concert

After going to see Natalie MacMaster last month, Frank and I became season members to the Whistling Swan Concert Series. This Wednesday we saw Chris Whitley and Jeff Lang in the Marston Theatre.

Suprisingly, the Marston Theatre is in the Loussac Public Library. It's a beautiful, round, some would say "archi-cool" building with nice little touches like mountain ash that extends through two stories of patio. The theatre is on the bottom floor.

Our MC for the night was a exuberant Red Sox fan with a heavy Boston accent. He was very excited about the game and also with being the MC, which I guess is good for a concert. At the same time, this really creepy-looking skinny guy in a white tank top kept fiddling with the instruments on stage -- I thought he was a stagehand at first. That was Chris Whitley, the first act.

Just so everyone knows, I totally realize that appearances are not everything -- Chris Whitley cannot really help being really skinny and a little creepy looking. I'm just observing that it might have been helpful for him to have at least dressed up a bit -- it was 30 degrees outside.

Chris Whitley plays these metal acoustic guitars -- Frank says they were probably vintage. They were very difficult to keep in tune, and Chris had to fiddle with them quite a bit -- sometimes in the middle of a song. But the sounds coming out of them were interesting and nicely paired with his voice. Whitley's played around the world apparently, and kept telling us where the songs were written but not what they meant ("I wrote this song in Belgium" and it was a song about prison?).

Dave Matthews says that he is more passionate about Chris Whitley's music than he is his own, and you can tell that Dave has been influenced greatly by Whitley's vocal stylings. Many of the songs were abstract, and when paired with the vocals, it was difficult to keep track sometimes. I could, though, see that if you pulled Whitley into a studio with a band, you could have a very good and interesting album. I especially liked "Local Girl" and "Assassin Song" -- both were a bit more simplistic than the others, and not as dour (a lot of the songs were kind of depressing).

Jeff Lang is a guy from Australia, and was a little more dressed up. He had three guitars, one was a guitar that you play on your lap. Jeff's songs, also depressing, were a little more straightforward and his mastery of the guitar was just incredible. I thought he did a great job, although sometimes he would go into the "impressive but irrelevant guitar playing zone" where many great guitarists go. He was very fond of completely deconstructing the song into incomprehensible (but impressive) screeches and funny sounds, then going back into the structure of the song. I like that once or twice, but too many times loses effect in my opinion. One of these moments also included a fingerpick being launched into the first row, so the deconstructing thing is also dangerous!

All in all, I really did enjoy the concert, and thought both artists did a good job. If you ever get the chance to see either of these guys, it's certainly worth your time to go see them!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Weather Report and Wish List

I realized around 9am (when the sun came up) that everything was covered in silver frost. The weather doesn't look great for the rest of the week either, with ice warnings on Thursday.

I believe we have finally turned the corner from "winter preparation/fall" to all out winter weather. Today, the high was 36. However, it's not the 36 that I anticipated during my run -- maybe I'm getting used to it ;).

I have been asked also to publish my wishlist for my upcoming birthday. It's always awkward to do this, but here are a few places to look:
This is my dream camera...hey, one can dream, can't they?? Cannon Digital Rebel

Also in anticipation of the colder season, here is my REI wish list:
Wish List. The nice thing about REI is that they will ship anything to the REI store in town for free.

Congratulations to Anne!

Last weekend was race weekend for my good friend Anne. Anne Achico successfully completed the Toronto Marathon in 5 hours! Here's the Results.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Seawolves win Nye Classic Title!

Against the odds, UAA won against Minnessota in the championship game yesterday. In an expansion of the traditional fish throwing at the first UAA goal, many yahoos decided also to throw frisbees and other trinkets onto the ice. The second time this happened (the second UAA goal), the referees applied a two minute penalty on the Seawolves and the people who threw stuff got ejected. This allowed Minnessota to tie up the game during the subsequent power play. I don't understand why people act the way they do sometimes.

Anyways, it was a very exciting game. Our goalie was really great compared to the guy last night. UAA managed to hold on to a single goal lead to win the title! A much more descriptive recap is

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Friday Night Hockey Roundup

Part 1 of our great hockey experiment concluded yesterday. Game 1 was between the two "U of M's" -- Minnessota and UMass. You could call this game a defensive struggle although I would better describe it as boring. The passing was really bad, and there were no goals until 1:30 left in the entire game! Minnessota finally got one goal, and I think everyone in the stands was cheering.

During the 1 hour intermission between games, Frank and I enjoyed our fine coffee beverages (cappuccino and breve respectively), while watching the Zamboni machines. Other people had brought papers, books, etc. to entertain themselves during this long time between games.

The second game was played by UAA and Canisius (Buffalo, NY school).

Aside: Right before the game, I was blessed by a pair of tweener girls with megaphones who decided to sit next to me, and a 7 year old boy sitting behind me to kick my chair. Of course, the parents sat as far away from the girls as possible, knowing what was coming next. For some reason, the likelihood of tweener girls sitting next to me at any event seems to be high -- I believe this is a karmic punishment for being a tweener girl myself long ago. So, the entire game involved listening to the girls hoot silly things/sing bad songs through megaphones in my ear, while I get kicked in the back by a young boy. Lovely.

Back to the game. As the home school, UAA has many rituals for game preparation. Some of these are pretty normal, like the cheezy bulls music with the dimming of the lights thing. Some are not, like the limo that was driven onto the ice surrounded by "secret service agents" (I suspected that the president was not going to hop out of a car at center ice, even in AK). The mascot, Spirit the Seawolf, hopped out of the car to much applause, waving a US flag, and the crowd went nuts. The other odd ritual is the fish thrown on the rink for the first Seawolf goal. Only in AK :).

UAA has already had a particularly eventful season. One of the star forwards was hit in a biking accident in the Czech Republic and waking up from a coma only days before training started, but he is "OK" now apparently. We also lost one star defensemen, whose jaw was broken by the captain of the team, who was put in jail during training. Apparently, the defensemen's absence during a 5am run was "causing too much trouble" on the team, warranting a fist in the teeth? But that as well is OK now, and the captain has been reinstated, although he was punished "severely" by having to give up his captainship. The defensemen, of course, is not back yet because his jaw has been wired shut.

So, back to the game :). The game was between the UAA Seawolves and the Canisius Universitiy's Golden Griffins (this is a flying lion, not a flying monkey as I thought from looking at the picture on the uniforms). UAA's particularly violent team showed it's enthusiasm early by getting a penalty for checking in the back in the first minute of the game. This set the stage for most of the game, which was riddled with fights, hard checking, and other penalties. Both teams passed much better, but UAA's goalie was the weak link, letting easy shots through while blocking much harder shots. The game wound up tied 3-3 (NCAA Rules), but a shootout was required for Tournament play. We were all really worried, because our goalie had been particularly flakey throughout the game, but he hung on and we won by one shot!

So tonight, we have Canisius vs. UMass for the consolation game, and Minnessota vs. UAA for the title. If the 'wolves play like they did yesterday (and perhaps switch the goalie), I think we might win!

Friday, October 15, 2004

Nye Classic: A hockey experiement

Frank and I are going to see the ENTIRE
Nye Classic Hockey Tournament this weekend. That's four hockey games in two days. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Singletrack, Sand Dunes, Trees, and Water: Tuesday Night Race Report

This week, the Tuesday Night Race was at Kincaid Park off of West Dimond (pronounced diamond). We started out in a clearing with birches all around us, but soon I noticed that the ground not it's usual mud, but sand. That's about when I tripped on a branch and gracefully launched myself into a set of long grasses.

When I got myself together, a 30m mountain of sand was waiting for me to trudge up it. Have you ever tried to run up a sand dune? It's very difficult, especially if you are not very quick footed. I kept sinking down the dune while I tried to follow the advice of the guy behind me shouting to his son "Quick, light strides!!!". He was still shouting as he passed me, kicking dirt in my face (thanks!). When I made it up to the top, we started a treacherous singletrack along a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

To make it more difficult, there were many trees crossing the path that you had to negotiate. Being short, I was able to successfully maneuver across many of them...but I still managed to run right into a tree with my forehead, just like a cartoon character. During this whole section, people were running around me without letting me know (whatever happened to "on your right"?). When I made it back off of the cliff, I was behind this kid that had to be about waist-high. I "blasted" past him when we got onto the access roads, although I came in right behind a guy pushing a stroller. By the time we finished, it was already quite dark.

All in all, I did pretty well -- 61st out of 107, which is "almost halfway". Results are here.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Frank and Lori do Home Repair

Our confidence bolstered by our recent successful TV equiptment cabling, Frank and I (five college degrees combined) set out today to attack one of the most annoying issues in our house -- the door to the garage. This particular door would bounce open when shut hard, which is annoying when you are carrying things in and out of the garage. We had a repairman come out to fix our doors the other day, and he had suggested we buy a spring-loaded door closer to help resolve the issue.

So today, we bought a spectacular door closer from Lowes', with the intention of assembling it ourselves using a drill and various screwdrivers. We started out confidently this afternoon, carefully reading the poor directions. After a few misses, we did finally install a very nice door closer:

Door Closer

You would think such a spectacular door closer would solve the issue, but suprisingly it did not. We were very upset at that.

Using our great analytical skills, Frank and I went about searching online as well as studying the delicate ins and outs of doorknobs in our house that did work. We started adjusting the strikeplate -- at first moving it forward (didn't work), then we finally moved the strikeplate down about 1/4 inch. It worked!

Strike Plate Adjustment

So, no matter what happens for the rest of the day, I feel like today has been a success. I've never realized how repairing stuff can be so rewarding -- I will probably always close that door with a bit more pride :). Frank and I got to use our rarely-used handyman abilities, and did not completely destroy anything.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Reflector Sticks and Sunlight

I just saw this today and it made me remember that winter is coming. The sunrise on Sunday will be at 8:26 am -- of course, that's not when the sun comes over the mountains. The sunset is at 7:05 pm, which is nice because we get spectacular sunsets, but that's early for the sun to be down.

In related news, my neighbor-watching eyes spied people marking their driveways with reflector sticks. I guess we will need to get ours out pretty soon, and put together that snow thrower ;).

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Tuesday Night Run and "almost finished" great room

Now that I've gotten over my cold, I returned to the infamous Tuesday Night Races, this time at Moesley Sports Center at Alaska Pacific University. The farm race started out through the woods, up a very steep 50m incline called Cardiac Hill, then down through a swamp before skirting Goose Lake (part of the course had to be changed since there was a cow moose and calf hanging out on the trail). It really was a swamp -- there was no way to get through it without getting wet. In one part of the swamp, you had marked choice of "wet" and "really wet". I chose "wet", which involved negotiating a beam across a deep part. After the swamp, we ran through a glen, where I got a spectacular view of alpenglow. The mountains and clouds were a vivid pink, and the sky was a beautiful pacific blue. I wish I'd had my camera, but here's a picture that comes close to what it looked like.

As for my results, they are posted. I came in 85th out of 120, so that's not too bad for a trail racing rookie :).

Last weekend, we finally finished off our great room furniture. Well, we're still waiting for our entertainment center to be shipped, but everything else is there. Out of all the rooms in the house, this is the one we felt was most important to get right, since it is such a dramatic room. Here are some pictures:

Finished Great Room

Coffee Table

We did finally get a new TV! It's a big 50 inch TV, and it came with a free TiVo with rebate. A TiVo is a Digital Video Recorder, which allows you to easily tape your favorite shows as well as pause/rewind live TV. The biggest advantage to the TiVo is that you can watch your favorite shows when it is convenient for you instead of when they are being shown on TV. This is particularly important in AK, where for example, Jeopardy comes on at 4:30pm. You also can fast forward through commercials, and pause live TV while you take a break. The biggest drawbacks I see so far are:
1) You can't record on a different channel than the one you are watching
2) One feels "obligated" to watch recorded shows, especially if they are going to be deleted soon
3) I still can't get my network adapter to work with my wireless network in the house
4) The TiVo cannot turn on the Cable box, and the cable box changer that the TiVo uses actually attaches haphazardly to the cable box.

Disadvantages 1 and 3 can be fixed by more technical jerry-rigging. I still highly suggest TiVo, it really does change the way you watch TV.

Puppy this week learned "Find the Mouse". This game involves having Galileo hide in a room, then hiding his mouse toy (pictured below) in another room. He's pretty good, and wants to play constantly: