Sunday, September 23, 2007

schmatt is back

with a few weeks to kill before he enters the mtc, little matto returned to our humble abode (see last year's post) for two weeks of wild and crazy fun. what he got instead was a tour of duty at the wheeler slave labor camp: assembling baby furniture, taking out garbage, preparing dinner, cleaning, and completing other various and sundry tasks as we saw fit.

here he is being forced to blow up his own air mattress, which would deflate by morning and need to be reinflated every evening (eventually, as we noticed his respiratory abilities faltering, we purchased an automatic inflator, and we did find the leak--albeit two days before he left).

but matt's a good sport, and we did manage to squeeze in some fun (not too much, though, or he would come to expect such things). now he has moved on to alabama, and there is a hole left in our little family. who will eat all the cookies? who will put together the jigsaw puzzle? who will enter all my recipes into an access database? who will play scrabble with me? who will paint the nursery? the answer to none of those questions is bryan (except maybe the one about the cookies), so we are presently looking for a new "tenant." if interested, please submit qualifications.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

vulcanology thwarted

st. helens 013 - Copy
If Emily looks a little forlorn, it's because she is. After driving 200 miles and risking death (more on that later), her reward is profound fog. Ordinarily, visitors would have to pay $8 to approach this guard rail and view the infamous Mount St. Helens. Given the circumstances, we thought it reasonable to have Emily reconnoiter before we ponied up the cash.
On a clear day, the view would of looked more like this (credit to this random guy on Flickr).
On a road trip, I know that getting there is half the fun. And trust me, it was. I was able to convince Emily to snap a photo when the fog on the drive was thin. Moments before, when visibility was about 10 feet, a minivan full of tourists decided it would be safer to perform a u-turn with zero visibility on a treacherous mountain road rather than keep forging ahead towards a legitimate pull off. After coming to a stop a couple of feet from the driver side door of the minivan, I played a few notes on the international instrument of driving good will. I think he got the point.
st. helens 008

Sunday, September 09, 2007

well spent

Since I've had a long blogging hiatus, and since Emily isn't around to stop me, I'll indulge myself and pontificate a bit:

Observation #1 -- There's never a good time to ride
One of the things that excited me most about finishing grad school was the prospect of a better work/life balance. Several months and zero bike rides after starting Microsoft, I decided to blame myself. Regardless of the true source of the problem, it freed me to do something about it. I've ridden more times in the last 6 months than in the previous 5 years.

Observation #2 -- My brain is weaker than my legs
Quite a confession for someone who has been praised for his intellectual abilities and mocked for his athletic gimpyness. On Labor Day, some work buddies and I went on an monster bike ride on the outskirts on Rainier National Park. Eighteen miles and 5000 vertical feet later, I was spent. The only problem was that the car was still 3 miles away.

Ordinarily, I'd crawl to the end, blaming my unatheletic body for my dismal finish. Instead, I shifted into a harder gear and kept on grinding. Surprisingly, it worked (I wasn't riding wheelies when we reached the truck, but I wasn't an hour behind, either). Ever the closet scientist, I performed the same experiment yesterday and had even better results. Conclusion? My brain is actually weaker than my legs.