28 October 2004

¡Triunfo de Red Sox en la Serie Mundial!

So, I guess the Red Sox are no longer the most disappointing team in professional US sports. And it only took 86 years to get there. :)

If you want to talk about surreal, we watched the Red Sox win the final game of this World Series in Spanish (Fox Sports Espanol) in a Mexican restaurant in Hood River, OR. (During breaks in the action, we watched a Spanish soap opera on the other TV in the room.) And of course, there was the lunar eclipse happening right outside the window. It sounds straight out of an X-Files episode; too bad the World Series wasn't as entertaining. I guess the real excitement was in the ALCS.

But as Becky said: I'm just so excited to be a regular baseball team now.

- Mike (& Corinne)

27 October 2004

Go Red Sox!

Once a Red Sox fan, always a Red Sox fan. We lived in Boston for an average of 13 years a piece, and during that time it was easy to love the Red Sox. So even though we are now 3,000 miles away, we're still Sox fans. We had a World Series Game 1 party last weekend, and had a dozen or so people from work share the game with us. And of course, the game ended well, which made it even more fun. :)

There's been so much said about the 0-3 ALCS comeback that it's almost not worth mentioning. But now that they are on the opposite side of that score in the World Series - close to winning their first since 1918, in case you hadn't heard that before - I thought I'd share a clever email I received this morning. I am not the originator of the poem and graphic below.

Our Papi Prayer

Our Papi, Who art in Fenway
Hallowed by thy team.
Thou kicketh ass,
On Yankee grass,
And at home, as you did in the Bronx.

Give us this year our shiny rings,
And forgive us our talk of curses,
As we forgive those who talk of curses against us.

And lead us not into extra innings,
But deliver us from choking.

For thou art the Schilling,
And the Pedro,
And the D-Lowe,
For ever and ever.


18 October 2004

Max caught a mouse!

Sunday night, Corinne and I were watching ALCS game 4 (Go Sox!). During a break, I was bringing in a few boxes to unpack, and during one of the trips Max managed to slip past me into the garage. He's always been very interested in the garage; whenever we open the door, he always seems to be right there, ready to run out. Once in a while, he'll get out, but since the outside door to the garage is closed, we're not concerned. In this instance, he was outside for a few minutes before he came back inside, and as he walked down the hallway towards the entertainment room, I noticed something strange. "What's that in his mouth?"

A mouse!1

We were so shocked at the sight that neither of us reacted at first. When it finally sunk in that Max had caught a mouse1 in the garage, we still didn't know if the mouse1 was dead or alive. As far as we knew, he could drop it on the floor at any time and it could scurry around the room/house, bleeding and trailing internal organs behind him. When he did drop it, we quickly discovered that we had nothing to worry about - Max had apparently already "terminated" him. Cleanly, too - not even much bleeding.

"Quick, get the camera!" says Corinne. While I run off to grab out camera, Max continued to play with his catch as if it were a toy mouse (or perhaps that should really be the other way around?), batting it and tossing it into the air. I got a few quick shots, and brought in some paper towels both to help dispose of the creature and help give some contrast to the photos. :) In the process of getting the shot below, I almost ended up getting hit in the face with a dead mouse1 carcass.

Max, with mouse1 in mouth. He's about to toss it into the air (and almost hit me in the face)

We were such the proud parents! We felt bad taking it away from him, since he was having such a good time, but we really didn't want him to eat it and deal with the potential disease/worms issue. I wrapped the poor little dead thing in the towel and tossed it into the field. Maybe the neighbors cats will eat him.

Mouse1, dead.

Max got some extra wet food and attention for that one. I guess we should let him go into the garage more often.

1 Edit: Upon further review, it has been determined that the creature was not a mouse, but was in fact a vole. We apologize for any confusion we may have caused.

- Mike (& Corinne)

17 October 2004

Hike up Mount Adams

This past Saturday, a group organized from work decided to "ventilate our brains on the slopes of Mount Adams". Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate. Cold rainy, windy, all of which got worse the higher we climbed. We made it to just below treeline, shortly before 7000'. It all made the dinner we shared afterwards taste that much better.

Just below tree-line on the Mt Adams south face trail. Lovely weather.

15 October 2004

Yurts and the Oregon Coast

Becky and Gordon were here for a week, and we had great fun with them. I love to cook, but there's nothing quite as enjoyable as coming home to a home-cooked, gourmet meal prepared entirely by someone else! Thanks, Gordon!

B&G spent the week hiking around the Gorge, hitting a few of the countless "hikes with waterfalls" in the area. When Thursday came, it was time for all four of us to take off for the coast! We made lodging reservations along the trip, so we had definite goals for each day.

We left Friday morning... well, okay, maybe it was afternoon. But you can't start a trip on an empty stomach after all. By mid-afternoon we made it to Cannon Beach, where we stopped at Clark's Restaurant & Bar for a snack, some free billiards, and a TV on which to watch our coveted Red Sox in the playoffs (which they won). A nice stroll on the beach followed, with some really interesting dynamics when a river (don't remember which one) feeding into the ocean collides with the surf. Water rushes up the river for several minutes, then out, like mini-tides. Cool. But our B&B reservations were in Depoe Bay, another 100 miles down the coast, so we continued on our journey. We stopped at Tillamook Cheese, but unfortunately we missed their business hours by about 20 minutes. No cheese or fudge for us. Corinne was very disappointed. We did manage to stop at another cheese maker, Blue Heron Cheese, where we picked up some supplies for a French-style picnic sometime later that weekend.

Lighthouse Deli - best dang seafood on the OR coast.

We reached our bed & breakfast in Depoe Bay by about 8:30pm; since we had made 9pm dinner reservations at a local seafood restaurant, Tidal Raves, we dropped off our bags and head out to the restaurant. It had been quite a while since we had eaten last, and it was getting late, and we were getting hungry. While waiting for our table at the restaurant, suddenly the restaurant went entirely dark. Looking outside, everyplace was dark. The entire town of Depoe Bay had lost power! We waited for about 15 minutes, hoping power would come back and devising an alternate dinner plan if it didn't. The restaurant decided fairly quickly that it was closing ("what if we only wanted dessert?" we pleaded), so after a few phone calls we determined that the next town south, Newport, still had power. So off we went, with the sole goal of finding food in Newport. We wandered for a while, but eventually ended up at Rogue Brewhouse. It's on these occasions that I wish I enjoyed beer; they had a very large selection of their own brews, including such interesting concoctions as Mocha Porter and Chipotle Ale. We mostly stuck with the food. (Power was out in Depoe Bay for about 2 hours, so it's a good thing we didn't try to wait it out.)

Becky & Corinne at Heceta Lighthouse (not pictured)

Our Saturday schedule included the Oregon Coast Aquarium, many viewpoint stops along the coast, stops at one or more of Oregon's eight historic lighthouses (we ended up stopping at Heceta and Umpqua), a fabulous lunch at the Lighthouse Deli (I'll be ordering some more of their beef jerky - best we've ever had!), reaching our resting point for the night in a yurt in Tugman State Park near Reedsport, 90 miles further south.

A yurt?

Our Yurt

Yurts are cool. Based on a structure built by the Mongolians, they're kinda like a cross between a large tent and a cabin. The best part is that they have beds! Many of the state parks in the PacNW have them as an alternative to traditional campsites; since they are enclosed, they can be used later into the fall/winter seasons when the weather isn't always the best. Very cool.

Sunday we had another 100 miles or so to go to reach Harris Beach State Park and our second yurt, stopping at the Oregon dunes and any place else that struck our fancy: walks on the beach (and in the water, at least for Gordon); a picnic lunch of apples, brie and grapes; and many more viewpoints. We attempted to rent dune buggies, but since we didn't have reservations and had a schedule to keep, they couldn't fit us in. Bummer.

Oregon Dunes. It was a 2 mile hike over the dunes to the ocean. We never did make it.

Gordon in the ocean at sunset

Sunday night was our campfire night - sausages, roasted peppers, s'mores, and roasted chocolate-bananas. I'm still trying to get that smokey odor out of my fleece. :)

Monday was the long travel day - we spent the morning getting to Crescent Bay in Northern California, but then it was time for us to say goodbye to B&G. They would continue for another few days until they reached San Francisco, while we had to return to work on Tuesday morning. After we departed at about 12:30pm, we started our long trek back, heading north through Eugene (where we stopped for lunch), then east through the mountains and all the way up to The Dalles. By the time we got home, it was after 9pm! All in all, a fun trip with good friends! Looking forward to the next time we see them!

- Mike (& Corinne)

13 October 2004

Fly me to the moon

You probably all know that both Corinne and I work for The Insitu Group, developers of UAVs. While I won't say too much about the company or what we're currently doing (you can read our website to get the publicly available info), I did want to share a very cool photo take on a recent flight.

07 October 2004

Becky arrives!

Last Friday night, while Reidar and Loren were still in a holding pattern outside the compound, Becky arrived in Portland! She has just finished her PhD thesis, so she and her fiance Gordon are taking a two week, West coast vacation, starting with a week with us in the Gorge. Hurrah! (Gordon had already made other plans in Miami for the weekend, so he wouldn't arrive until late Sunday night.)

Night on the town
After picking Becky up from the airport, we decided to head into Hood River to listen to Django's Cadillac, a local band. We first heard Kerry Williams, one of the members of Django, performing with The Cascade Trio at the Huckleberry Festival a few weeks ago. We liked the Trio so much that we actually came back the following day specifically to hear one of the Trio members perform a set as part of a different duo. We then saw Kerry at another performance - this time a kid's concert with Victor Johnson, another Django member. (We were literally the only people at the concert who didn't have kids with them.) Through this circuitous route, we discovered Django. Anyway, the sound at Dog River Coffee Company wasn't that great, but we still enjoyed the music - and the company. Thankfully, Max returned soon enough in the evening so that we could all relax together after the day's stress.

We all crashed at our place that night - no problem sleeping 6 in our house (as long as somebody sleeps on the floor, or several people are "cozy"); the following morning, we shared my famous scrambled egg breakfast before Reidar, Loren and Leif had to head back to Seattle.

Breakfast at home

Walk on Condit Dam
The rest of Saturday was spent doing nothing in particular. On Sunday, we decided to chose a hike from the "Curious Gorge - 50 Ways to Leave Hood River" local guidebook. Condit Dam is a controversial old dam on the White Salmon River. Built in 1913 as one of the first power generators in the area, the dam now supplies only about 0.1% of the power for the area - most comes from Bonneville Dam on the Columbia. The controversy comes from the proposed removal of the dam, which would allow salmon to migrate upstream again, but would eliminate Northwestern Lake which is currently created by the dam.

Anyway, the dam provides a very interesting hike/walk along the top of the large, wooden pipe which transports water from the dam to the generating station about 1 mile away.

Walk along Condit Dam. You can see the pipe behind and below us. Beautiful weather. It was really just a walk, not a hike, but unlike any we've done before.

- Mike (& Corinne)

06 October 2004

Donna and Pam and Carol and Reidar and Loren...

We've been here now for over 2 months, and in that time we've had quite a few visitors. Time to play a bit of "catch-up" here...

Way back in mid-July, Donna and her good friend Pam were gracious enough to offer us a ride from Seattle (where we flew) to our new home in Husum. Since our big-rig full of stuff wouldn't arrive for at least another week, it was a bit difficult for us to properly play host. But they do have the honor of being our first official, out-of-town guests. And they brought some basic cooking/sleeping equipment borrowed from Carol, to help us not go crazy sleeping on the floor and eating take-out. Thanks! :)

Donna & Pam, enjoying the drive from the back seat. (The best way from Seattle to The Gorge is via the "east" route - I-90 East to Rt97 South. Avoids I-5 traffic.) We even saw a bear about 100feet or so from the road!

Donna made another trip down in mid-August, this time with cousin Carol and her newly acquired Westie, Chloe. Despite being incredibly antsy and not quite understanding where it's appropriate to "do your business" - the back window of the car is definite no - Chloe made the weekend more interesting, especially for Max. His first close encounter with a dog went fine. Our short drive around the Hood River Fruit Loop was enjoyable and relaxing; the fruit is so incredibly fresh (though the farm-bought Gravenstein apple pie was disappointing.)

Donna & Chloe. If you hold her out far enough in front of you, she can't get any leverage to squirm.

Carol & Chloe, after a walk in the early evening sun.

It would be another month+ before we received our next visitors, Reidar and Loren. While no particular activities were planned for their visit, some "unplanned" excitement did take place (see previous post). During the long waiting periods, they spent some good quality time climbing trees and just relaxing in the sun. The unanticipated events caused them to stay another day, so it wasn't all bad. :)

Leif, Reidar, Corinne & Loren, just after R & L arrived via train. (BTW: I'm not counting Leif as a "visitor" because he lives just a few miles away, not to mention the fact that we see him every day at work. But that doesn't mean we don't love him anyway.)

Loren, hanging in one of the amazing walnut trees next to our house. (He spent very little time on this trip working on his Clevermill projects, which was unusual. Perhaps it was the lack of broadband...)

Reidar & Loren, waiting for Godot. Or maybe it was Max. Or perhaps Guffman, I can't remember.

We love visitors! Come visit us!

- Mike (& Corinne)

03 October 2004


Let me start off by saying that you likely have as much information (or more) about Mount St. Helens as we do. As we all know, Mount St. Helens "erupted" this weekend, throwing steam and some ash into the air; latest indications are that similar eruptions - possibly with magma - will continue for a few days. We're about 50-60 miles southeast of the volcano, so we're well beyond the range that would affect us in any way. As long as there isn't a large-scale eruption on the order of the one in 1980, there's little likelihood that we'll even know about it except by watching TV. If it's a big eruption, it's possible we'll be able to hear it. Oh, and although one news story mentioned that there is a "very small probability" that some downstream communities may be impacted if large amounts of ash are spewn, we are not a downstream community from Mount St. Helens - we're too far east of the mountain, on the other side of the Cascades. So no worries there, either.

But there was an event this weekend that was even more disruptive than Mount St. Helens: Max, our indoor-only cat, was outdoors for ~11 hours!

He escaped Friday morning at ~9am through a window inadvertently left open by a visitor (who shall remain nameless... for now) Since Corinne and I were at work, we didn't even know what had happened until 2.5 hours later. We rushed home to help in the retrieval activities, which were elaborate and totally ineffective. Here's a breakdown of the actions of both parties:

  • Max - 500 ms - Out the entertainment room window
  • Us - 450 ms - Fast grab for fleeing cat (but not fast enough)
  • Max - 2.5 hrs - Under the house (through the open panel in the wall under the kitchen windows)
  • Us - 2.5 hrs - Watch and wait for him to come out from under the house
  • Max - 8.5 hrs - Under the deck
  • Us - 1.5 hr - Watch and wait for him to come out from under the deck
  • Us - 1 hr - Use cardboard boxes to attempt to constrain his movements under the deck
  • Us - 0.5 hr - Spray water bottle to direct him out
  • Us - 0.5 hr - Spray hose to direct him out
  • Us - 5 hrs - Watch and wait for him to come out from under the deck
  • Us - 30 s - Jump up and down on the deck above him
  • Max - 30 s - Run around the exterior of the house before jumping into an open window

Under the house. The panel under the kitchen windows, with ears just poking out the top. The long pole coming from the bottom-left in the photo is protruding out of an open window. Loren... uh, I mean the unnamed individual... fashioned it so that the panel could be closed quickly after Max came out, preventing him from re-entering. It worked. (So he went under the deck instead.)

Under the deck. Our attempts to use the cardboard and water to direct his movements. Of course this didn't work. He spent most of his day here.

As you can see, it was quite a bit more time and effort on our part than it was on his. All in all, a good time was had by none, including Max. But no one was injured in the process, and the emotional scars will heal in time. :)

- Mike (& Corinne)