Sunday, June 25, 2006

What I Learned About Driving

  1. You know those Jeep commercials? The ones where people drive off-road into some crazy scenic wilderness to find Real Manly Adventure? Well it's all true, Jeeps can do that just fine. Just not on the stock tires.
  2. I had the stock tires. For some reason I was smart enough to put off-road tires on my previous Jeep, but not on this one. "It'll be fine," I thought. "How bad can it be? I'm sure these will work."
  3. When you're in the outdoors and you find yourself saying "it'll be fine, how bad can it be?" this is basically the same thing as when a character in a horror movie says, "hold on, I'll just go outside and see what that noise was."
  4. When a light on your instrument panel comes on, and the icon has a big exclamation point on it, this is not a good sign (!). It would be bad enough if this happened on a main highway, but it is even worse when it occurs deep within sasquatch-occupied territory in the middle of nowhere.
  5. In fact, I came to realize that even the exclamation point is a bit too subtle. I would personally redesign that indicator to be a flashing light in the shape of a hand extending the middle finger. And it should play a loud sound effect that begins with demonic laughter "muahahahaha!" followed by that quote from the Aliens movie where the guy says "That's it man, game over man, game over!"
  6. What that light means is that one of the razor-sharp rocks you just drove over punctured your tire and gave you a flat. Or in my case, two flat tires. You see, the stock tires give you a nice comfy ride on the freeway, but off-road they transform into 4 tire-shaped pinatas, and mountain rocks become thousands of hyperactive kids with sticks, gleefully giving them a savage beating.
  7. You know those fix-a-flat cans, that promise to reinflate your tire and seal the hole with special goop too? They might work in other situations, but when the tire hole is the size of a chipmunk, they are mainly useful as comic relief.
  8. After you finally make it back to the main road, when someone asks you what happened, a funny thing to say is, "I hit a sasquatch."

Lost Lake

Lost Lake, near Mt. Hood, is not a very lost lake. Many people seem to have found it -- the place was pretty crowded when I went up there today. But the crowds are only on land, and the lake itself has plenty of room, so I took my inflatable raft out and rowed it around.

On my way back, I found that it was 98 degrees in the town of Welches. Just a few days ago it was 65 degrees and raining in Portland, so it seems like the weather has made a giant leap into summer.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Ghana 2, U.S. 1

When I was a little kid playing soccer, my mom would tell us, "don't mess around with the ball in front of your own goal. Clear it out of there." The U.S. team could have used my mom's advice in their last game. Claudio Reyna, standing just outside his own penalty area, chose not to pass or clear the ball, but stood there frozen while a Ghanian player stole the ball, dribbled in one-on-one against Keller and easily scored. Reyna was injured on the play, but instant replay showed that the two players had collided knee to knee as they passed each other. I don't think there is any way that could have been intentional on the part of the Ghanian player, and the referee was correct to not call a foul.

The penalty kick awarded to Ghana later in the game was a bad call. But U.S. coach Bruce Arena seemed to think it made the game unwinnable. "It left us chasing the game when we had worked so hard to get level" he said. But there was plenty of time left in the game. That's soccer -- sometimes you're down a goal, sometimes you have to come from behind. Can you imagine some of the other teams in the tournament expressing this attitude? Brazil was down 1-0 to Japan, but came back to win 4-1. Picture Brazil saying, "yeah, once Japan took the lead we were screwed. We were just chasing the game at that point." Ridiculous, right? Australia was also down 1-0 to Japan but scored 3 goals at the very end of the game to win 3-1. The real problem was that the U.S. team wasn't able to score goals in this tournament.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

New Computer Vulnerability Discovered

On several occasions recently, I came back to my computer to find it running programs I knew I hadn't left open. I asked my girlfriend if she had been using my computer and she said no. I wondered what was going on, and I suspected a virus or other malware. I ran various antispyware and anivirus programs, but found nothing. The other day I came into my room and found that the computer was turned off, even though I knew I left it on. What kind of virus turns the system off? What kind of virus only strikes when I leave the door to my room open?

Then I finally put together all the clues. I don't have a virus. I have a cat who likes to walk on the keyboard when I'm not in the room.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Falls Creek Falls

On Saturday, we went on a hike to Falls Creek Falls, in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington. I love the name, though I'd like to call it "the Falls at Falls Creek Falls, now with 10% more Falls!" The name Falls Creek probably comes from the fact that it makes a fairly steep descent through the forest and has a mini-waterfall every 10 meters or so. About 1/2 mile down the trail there is a small suspension bridge, with the cables underneath the bridge instead of above it -- an unusual design. It bounced when I walked across it.

But the big waterfall is the real treat. I have seen higher waterfalls, but I think this is one of the most beautiful waterfalls I've ever seen. It sits in the middle of the forest like a magical apparition. I thought it was like something out of The Lord of the Rings, and I almost expected to see Gollum fishing in the pool at the base of the waterfall.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Day Lilies Are Delicious

Day lily flowers are edible. I've heard about this before, but I never tried eating one until today. They don't especially look edible to me. Maybe it is the color. I wondered if it was all a hoax, and I'd soon be in the emergency room getting questioned. "What? You ate day lilies!? Based on something you read on the internet? Couldn't you tell just by looking at them how horribly poisonous they are?" That sort of thing.

But the truth is, not only are day lily flowers edible, they are delicious. They taste sort of like sweet lettuce, but better. All these years that I've been growing them and not eating them, I really missed out.