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24 random things about me February 10, 2009

Posted by saltcastings in All-purpose, Family, Fishing, Friends, GS.
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Copied from my FB page.

  1. I eat peanut butter almost every day and once bet a co-worker $50 I could eat a pint of Adams in one sitting. I would have done it if I hadn’t looked at the fat content and worried if my heart could take it.
  2. My oldest son, Jack is an amazing athlete and will be twice the soccer player I ever was.
  3. My youngest son, Noah, will invent something that will change history.
  4. My daughter, Lucy, will make me bald.
  5. I would fly fish every day if it would pay the mortgage.
  6. Dawn and I skied at White Pass for our second date. In the afternoon we hiked up a hill and threw snowballs at people going by and laughed until our sides hurt. I knew at that point she was the girl for me.
  7. My favorite TV show of all time is 60 minutes.
  8. There is nothing like the sight and sound of a ringneck pheasant exploding out of tall grass.
  9. I believe good people find each other.
  10. If money wasn’t an option, I’d have five bikes in my garage right now: silver ‘02 BMW GSA, ‘01 Ducati 996R, late-90’s Ducati Monster, ‘66 Ducati Mach 1 and an MV Agusta F4.
  11. My wife is the strongest person I will ever meet.
  12. When I was 12 I jumped off a 20+ foot cliff trying to catch a tree to impress my friends. I missed the trunk and caught my leg on the last branch. My head swung past a rock that probably would have killed me. I worry daily about the cliffs my kids will face.
  13. I wouldn’t be half the person I am today if I had not spent as much time with my grandmother as I did.
  14. I subscribe the theory that one can never have too many fly rods. Or shotguns.
  15. I have zero time/interest in watching sports on TV, so for years I’ve watched Sports Center highlights to keep up with my peers at the water cooler. Figure I’ve saved years of my life and they are none the wiser. The only exception to this is the World Cup.
  16. I can’t wait to get a dog.
  17. The anthems of my youth can be found in the lyrics of Minor Threat, The Cult and Public Enemy.
  18. I only wear shoes when I absolutely have to. Otherwise its flip flops.
  19. I love to cook, especially things that come with a chance to learn about another place, time or culture.
  20. I have been overserved in six of the top ten U.S. cities.
  21. You can find a picture of Tiger Woods and me in a 2-page Accenture ad in the January-February 2009 issue of the Economist.
  22. I once hauled a brand new surfboard all the way to Fiji and never put it in the water. There were no waves that week anywhere in the islands. Not even Cloudbreak.
  23. I love to win, learn from getting beat, and hate to lose.
  24. I’ve managed to catch crabs three times in the past three years. Dungeness, that is.

planned obsolescence January 8, 2009

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Our three-year-old GE washing machine [WSXH208A] went kaput this week.  Well, not totally.  When I cracked the case I quickly saw both stabilizers had snapped.   The stabilizers are built just like a shock on a car to hold the drum in place while it spins.  Fortunately both were easy to get at so I figured an easy repair.  Called two places trying to track down parts and both responded the same way:

“Yep, about three years, that’s when these things typically break.”

If Rancho can make a shock for a truck that lasts for nearly 100k miles, why the heck are companies like GE using parts that are pretty much “scheduled” to break just outside the warranty timeline?  The answer, it turns out, came to me from a GE customer service rep today. 

After installing the replacement shocks last night, I was still having a problem getting the drum to rotate, so I called the company today to talk to someone about troubleshooting.  Turns out I can order parts directly from the company, but if you have any sort of technical or operational question, they will only help arrange a service call to your home via their network of local contractors.  The rep said they had no staff and no knowledge base to respond to technical inquiries of any sort.  So if you have a question about their product, you have to pay them for the answer.  Planned obsolescence.  Lovely business model.  For them.

The dryer that we bought at the same time has also been nothing but a headache.  The possibility of me buying future GE appliances = zero.

christmas treed December 7, 2008

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We picked up a permits from the ranger station in North Bend today and headed up to the area around Denny Creek to harvest trees with Uncle img_3962Beefer, Erin, Kate, Don and Becky.    The open area was along FSR 5510.  We drove up about 3 miles, just above where the snow line would be if there was any this year.   I know this because the rain turned to hail and then to snowflakes the size of golf balls just as we parked.   The wind howled and we all got soaked.  Dawn paraded LuLu around in a puffy pink one-piece getup — complete with idot mittens — in the backpack.  Once the trees were loaded up we piled into Don’s van for hot chocolate and ham sandwiches.  Ho Ham Ho.

the boys, someday December 1, 2008

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I could see the boys doing this sort of thing someday.  Just hope it’s not me who takes the fall… 

Justice v. Simian Mobile Disco: We Are Your Friends

For Sale: 1961 98cc Ducati Bronco November 5, 2008

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Finally coming to terms with the fact that I just don’t have the time or energy to dive into the Bronco project.  I listed her on Craigslist and Adventurerider.com this week and got a surprising number of responses – two local guys are coming to take a look and a guy from San Fran is calculating shipping charges.  Update: SOLD!.


Read: Four Seasons in Rome September 24, 2008

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Just finished reading Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr.  It’s a short story about a writer who moves from Boise to Rome with his wife and infant twin boys on a year-long fellowship.  His style makes for a very fun read and the subject matter was very relevant to me: both on the challenges of managing life with babies and the simple fact that there could never be enough time to fully explore the history and culture of one of my all-time favorite cities.  So compelling, I felt like I was there watching it all happen, hearing the people, feeling the weather and smelling the espresso.  Unrelated to the book, I love the satellite view of the city via Google.

Thanks, Joe September 22, 2008

Posted by saltcastings in All-purpose.

I just got an email from Dawn that said a childhood friend, Joe Pearson, passed away yesterday.  Apparently he was on the treadmill at the gym and collapsed from a heart attack.

Joe is a year older than me.  He and his brother, Jamie, grew up just down the street on 29th.  They had a small house on the corner.  Two trees in the front yard and a chain link fence around the back. 

We played “cup ball” in the front yard, using various landmarks as bases.  Travis usually joined us from the house next door.  We played football in the back yard since there was more room.  In the spirit of fun, we would try to strategically stick one another into one of the larger bushes, or the fence at either end.  Jammed fingers, lots of swearing, sprained ankles, torn shirts, sometimes fists.  Mom would make sure I included Liz on some occasions, which only upped the stress level trying to make sure she was fairly treated.  Poor thing grew up on a block where the only other girls moved in after she was 10 or so.  I can still hear mom calling us to come home for dinner at dusk, the fall air clouding my breath and starting to chill my fingers while the rest of me was dripping with sweat.

Joe’s house was one of the only on the block with functional air conditioning, so it was no surprise I spent a lot of time there during July and August.  They also had HBO and MTV.  The hottest chick in the world was on three times a day during “Stuck With You” by Huey Lewis and the News.  In between we rocked out to Princes’ “Let’s Go Crazy” and ate tuna fish sandwiches on white bread.

Joe was built like a brick shithouse and tough as hell.  I watched him beat the crap out a loudmouthed kid outside the gym after one of Troxel’s summertime football camp workouts.  Years later I watched some guy snap Joe’s leg in a high school football game.  He spent months on crutches, but continued to work out doing what he could to stay in shape.

We talked a lot about hunting deer and pheasants, though I only think we chased birds together a couple of times.

I tried looking both he and Jamie up on Facebook yesterday but didn’t find them, which makes today’s news even more surprising.   I hadn’t spoken with him in maybe 20 years.   Thanks for the memories, the football games, and all the air conditioned good times, Joe.  You are already missed.

I got a B in motorcycles today August 20, 2008

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Completed the ride portion of my motorcycle certification this morning and fortunately, 86 is still passing.   The morning started slow with the instructor arriving 40 minutes late to the main parking lot at Everett Memorial Stadium.  No apologies to the eight of us waiting.  Note: you’re a fool if you think you can try to reach an actual human being by phone at the DMV.  Several of us tried, wondering if we were in the wrong place, the guy choked on a maple bar and hit a pole on the way there, etc., but to no avail.  Save yourself the agony.

Instructor guy crawls out of his car and immediately breaks a sweat setting out the twelve cones that make up the course.  Nice.  He takes roll call, then starts the batting order alphabetically.  The first guy is riding a new Ninja 650 and just got through telling me how he blew the cone section at a test in Lynwood the week before.  Three cones later it’s deja vu all over again as he rides over one, then drops a foot.  -20 points right there.  Second run he all but drops the bike in a slow right turn.  Better luck next time.

This guy draws the number two slot.  Made all but the last two cones [-10] and overshot the controlled stop goal by two feet [-4].  Grabbed the cert, flashed a thumbs up to the rest of the fellas and was audi…

Hiking Mt. Pilchuck August 5, 2008

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Scott Odle rang me about a month ago and said we should plan a hike again this summer.  After all, it had only been seven years since the last time we laced up the boots.  Our last hike ended in a white out about 200 feet from the summit of St. Helens.  He summitted, but I dropped back to find two other guys who were having a rough go of it.  Earlier that year was Mt. Adams, and one of the longest days of my life.  Needless to say, it was time, and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the first day of 37.

Pilchuck was Scott’s choice but it turned out to be a great start.  We left the car at 7am and made good time up the trail, which was in pretty good shape.  Starting elevation is 3100 feet.  We found snow about a third of the way up, and bumped into only one climber on the ascent — a tripper with a full pack and a pocket radio blaring, which we heard long before we saw him.  We learned later that he’d reached the lookout at 6am, which given the load he was carrying, meant he probably left the lot around 4.  Too early for this guy. 

We climbed the ladder into the lookout [elev. 5324] at about 8:50 and met the guy who was coordinating some repairs to the building and had spent the previous night.  He had an assortment of tools, lumber, and more information about what had been done and still needed to get done than one guy could bear to listen to.  The short story is that the lookout had sustained quite a bit of damage from the heavy snowfall this year.  One of the corner supports had blown out and was repaired the day before.  The rest of the damage was to the joists that supported the shutters when they were open.  Many of these 2x4s were split or bowed, and were in the process of being replaced or reinforced.  It also looked like he was about to give the place a fresh coat of paint at some point soon.  Overall, the place was in pretty darn good shape, especially considering the fact it was built in 1918.

About a half hour after we arrived, a couple and their two dogs started up over the last pitch of boulders toward the lookout.  As soon as they were within earshot, we could tell she was crying.  Her boyfriend was oblivious.  He reached the ladder first and tried to guide one of the dogs up in front of him, which would have worked well had he spent the extra $200 during obedience training on the ladder climbing module.  The poor thing slipped on the top rung and would have taken them both down if Scott hadn’t reached down and hauled it up by the collar.  Same thing happened with dog number two.  It wasn’t until the guy was on the walkway that he turned around to see how his girlfriend was doing.  She was a wreck, freaked out by the ladder and the fact that the lookout was pretty much being held onto the mountain by a couple of cables.  She eventually made it in, but never stopped crying.  Poor thing.  Scott and I decided to get the hell out of there before the yelling started.

We offered to take materials back down with us and were handed a single 18-inch 2×4, which served as funny conversation fodder during the descent.  We passed about 30-40 people on our way out, many of whom commented on the fact that we were “carrying wood down from the top.”  Yes, and we had this 2×4, too.  Others remarked on the fact that we were wearing trail runners instead of boots.  Why this was a big deal, I don’t know.  I can’t print some of the things we said about those people, but dang, they were funny.

Of course no hike would be complete without adequate caloric replentishment.  We saddled up to the Timberline Cafe in Granite Falls [you can read my review here] for a couple of burgers and beers.  Really hit the spot.

But the best part of the day was reconnecting with an old friend and an old pasttime, which I’d long ago forgotten how much I enjoyed.  From the lookout Scott and I got a good look at Three Fingers and are already hatching a plan to scale it in late September/early October.  I can almost taste the burger now.

More pictures here.

The ultimate fly fishing machine July 27, 2008

Posted by saltcastings in All-purpose, Fishing, GS.
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BMW: the ultimate fly fishing machine

Caught four flounder and a juvenile blackmouth yesterday morning at Picnic Point.  I also hooked and lost a decent sized [12″-14″] trout that hit, swam straight at me and then jumped and spit the hook before I could get the line tight.  It’s nice to be seeing some fish again.