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Television

Journal Journal: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition - Sneak Peak

I ditched out of work on Wednesday around 11am so I could drive 1/2hr out to Middleton Id for the final "Reveal" of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. It was roughly 102-105 outside, with no wind, shade, or clouds. Nearly Perfect filming conditions (except for the temperature) and nearly fatal conditions for the elderly, infants, and anyone who didn't drink plenty of water (which was available). I personally drank all 2 bottles I brought (about 1.5 liter total) and then 3x1 pint bottles they provided.

I'll provide many many pictures, & video (as soon as I find a good motion tracking software so I can smooth out the jitter in some of my footage).
 
Until I get my stuff up, you can watch KVTB's great coverage (IE required - at least it doesn't work with my FF) and read about it as well.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Heights Of Idaho 2

I have published my photo album from this weekend's climb up Mount McCaleb, Idaho. Lots of photos, and several extremely large stitched panoramas (complete with trial software text printed in the middle of each picture). I might end up buying that software because it sure is slick. I had to manually stitch most of them together and the results are still pretty impressive.
 
If you notice the captions changing it is because I am in the middle of adding them right now. I might finish some time tonight. Enjoy some of the Heights Of Idaho.

Toys

Journal Journal: (Mirror) Bicycle Commuting: Day 4 & 5 - More Gear, More $ 2

My de-wimp-ifying is progressing slowly but surely. I biked in to work two days in a row! A first for me. Also impressive is that I got in to work before 10am both times which means I biked some time around 9am and it was in the 50s. Not exactly biking weather either with morning temperatures in the mid 50s with mild winds.

I have determined that I need actual riding clothing because my running outfit is just not meant for cold weather and wind. That outfit just feels like cheese cloth when faced with blustery weather and temperatures in the mid 50s (even in the sun). I smell some clothing upgrades in the future.

Speaking of clothing upgrades, I returned the helmet and the ill-fitting biking shorts for $69, but then purchased a wind proof jacket for $25 (chah-ching), summer riding shirt for $35 (chah-ching-ing), and padded bike shorts for $40 (chah-ching-ching-ing). Net expenditure of $31 which equals my planned accessory purchase for 2007-Q1. Next on the list is an odometer / calculator which could run around $30 with tax. That item is on sale through the web site so I'll probably buy it today (chah-ching-ka-ching-a-ling-a-ring-ding) Assuming I limit myself to one $30 purchase each quarter, I will break even in the Third Quarter of 2008 which is only 1.5 years from now.

Eventually I'll have all the gizmos and doo-dads possible so after 3 years of buying a new toy / item each quarter I'll assume that droops to $10 or so and replacement costs will increase from $30 / year to $60 / year.

I will be saving anywhere from $115 to $170 each quarter or $38 to $56 each month. That is as much as having the home phone line (on the low end) or a cell phone plan (on the high end). And now that I look at the numbers it does make me want to cancel the home phone which costs $35 / month and reduce my cell plan.

So what are you spending money on that could be eliminated?

User Journal

Journal Journal: (Multiply Mirror) Bicycle Commuting: Day 3

So I skipped a day..... meh. I didn't get enough sleep and it was cold in the morning. No way am I riding when it is that cold. See Day 2 for details of road, weather, etc etc.

Eventually it would be nice to be a bit more consistent with this.

User Journal

Journal Journal: (Multiply Mirror) Bicycle Commuting: Day 2 (from 4/3/2007)

Yes the second day of bicycle commuting did not immediately follow the first. What can I say..... it is 40 degrees in the morning and I need warmer biking clothing (I only have running clothing and that stuff just wasn't made for wind). We had a meeting with our investment banker downtown so I didn't get to the house until 10:30am and didn't leave for work till 11am. Still took about 40 minutes to ride, shower up, change into work clothes, and get to my desk.

Weather:
60s and sunny. Ahhhhhh Not much wind (~10mph)

Road Conditions:
Construction. Yay. That road gets narrow and it freaks me out when a big truck goes past me with only a foot or two to spare.

Traffic:
Light

Physical Conditioning:
Sucking. Sucking it long. Sucking it hard. (bonus points if you catch the reference). Why is it that physical activity

Bike Mechanics:
Shifters are in desperate need of adjustment. Harder than hell to get tires pumped up to 120SPI.... I settle for 60. I might need to move up to the bigger pump which should be easier to use. Might run that shopping trip Saturday in addition to returning the helmet & non fitting shorts (and / or pump). Need to swipe parts from my old bike at the folk's house. Probably also going to need to get a basin & can(s) of oil to clean my chain.

Over All Impression:
Still a wimp but realizing that if I do this more, I'm going to have some killer thighs.

Now if only I could get PAID to do this or get paid while doing this..... (more on this later)

1) Buy Bike
2) Sell Car
3) ???
4) PROFIT!

User Journal

Journal Journal: (Multiply Mirror) Why this scientist believes in God

Check out this article from a tip here. The article is about Dr. Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D, the director of the Human Genome Project. In the article, Collins discusses how he came to believe in a God while an atheist med student. The article is short but interesting and if you have the 10 minutes for the article and video then check them out.

User Journal

Journal Journal: (Multiply Mirror) Journaling On The Road

My last post (a picture post on Multiply only) was from some available WiFi at the Red Lion in Bellevue WA as part of a quick business / personal trip to Seattle for a friends wedding, and to deliver my latest Photo Memory Movie which was displayed before the ceremony.

The drive was nice, especially because I slept the entire way, having stayed up till 4am working on some special features for the DVD (additional angle & audio tracks). We took off at 6:20am and my brother and his wife did the driving while me and the Mrs. were in the back.

Thoughts on the destination..... Seattle is a lovely city, and it could be better if there were only a few million less people. Ok I should correct myself there, I like the climate and the terrain but I could live with out the traffic and crush of people on every piece of ground for miles in any direction.

Friday my brother and I spent 3 hours trying on mountaineering shoes at the flagship REI. We unfortunately didn't have any time to look at anything else in the entire store. Bummer! My first time there and I only visited about 1/10 of the store. I didn't even get a chance to look at the climbing wall. My brother's wife got him a book written by members of this club while we were at the REI store. Very interesting book and it should hold lots of information for us as we get get more into climbing higher and higher.

We then drove to the International District for dinner with Demigeekessand Dave. medicgeek and waussie were both busy so I didn't get a chance to see them. Then we drove back up town to Queen Anne to hit up a great little Irish pup with the Bride & Groom for a while. Then we headed back to Bellevue for the evening.

Day two was the wedding. We drove up to Green Lake for the service which was 10 minutes at most. An additional 13 minutes at the start was my production. The movie went over very well and all involved parties loved it. Go Me. After the wedding we drove back down to downtown Seattle at the Mountaineer's Club (woo!) for the reception. Space Needle visible down hte street from balcony.

After the reception we headed down to Pike's Place Market too take in the sights. We didn't have any specific need to buy things, and for me, most things there were not "Jason Safe (TM)" so I didn't feel too badly tempted. The place I felt the most tempted was this Russian bakery. Man did some of their creations look and smell amazing. There was a small cheese making facility right on the row of shops so my brother got to explain the whole process to us. He is a manager at a massive cheese facility and he helped build and design the new Southwest Cheese plant This is one of the few plants in the industrialized world that is built from the ground up and not from an existing plant.

Then we met up with Demigeekess"> again for dinner and a stroll around that area. See my photo gallery for pictures from the market. I didn't take too many because I was trying not to hit people with my laptop & camera bags because I wasn't about to leave my laptop in the vehicle unattended.

After a lovely dinner we headed back to the hotel to rest up for the trip out. I popped up the lappy and check for an open WiFi and posted the photos and hit the sack.

Sunday was pretty much the drive back. As far as allergies are concerned, I flared up considerably as a result of eating out all the time. Restaurants never know exactly what is in their foods or at least the waiters don't know and they couldn't eliminate all flour, eggs, and milk if they tried. Even rice noodles at the Chinese place probably had eggs, which are my most reactive substance.

Fun trip. Lots of people.... too many people for my taste. Great weather (cloudy and occasionally rainy) and great temperatures (50s) and if it weren't for the number of people and the cost of living there, I would love it. Oh and the politics.....crazy. Just ask Pudge.

User Journal

Journal Journal: (Multiply Mirror) It's Never Too Early ... For A Salad 1

The Voice behind the movie trailers, Don LaFontaine, has given an interview on Good Morning America Weekend Edition. Don is The Movie Trailer Voice but is never recognized for his face until recently. Great video: check it out.

Then there is the piece that started it all. It is a 4 minute short featuring all the big names in announcing. Notably missing are the guy that does boxing matches and the guy that does Mexican soccer matches. Great sound bits like "Hung Like A Horse" and "Rated R".

User Journal

Journal Journal: (Multiply Mirror) When Government Goes Too Far 6

According to an artilce I read here, in Sweden you have to get approval for your children's names from the government. Right. You can't name them something unless the government approves of that name. So what government agency is responsible for approving your child's names? Some Decency Review Board? Or some sort of Family Planning Council? Nope. The Swedish National Tax Board. And if they don't like your choice, you can be stuck in limbo until you yield to their decisions and pick a name that isn't "ugly." Swedish National Tax Board refused to register the name, saying it was associated with both the rock group and the word "metal."Oh no! An ugly name that is associated with a type of material substance! What about names like Stardust or Crystal or Sunshine. Give me a break Sweden. May be this is the libertarian in me, but an idiot should be able to name the little idiots whatever they want (as long as a text version of the name is possible) and yse I would even allow parents to name their kids after curse words. The parents would then get to suffer the humiliation as teachers and students deride the child for his / her name. If the parent hates their children enough to do that to them (Boy Named Sue, anyone?) then they should be able to.

Announcements

Journal Journal: Bicycle Commuting: Day 1

Asside from finding a broken shower pipe that is flooding my walls last night which made me stay up till 4am poking around in the wall and fretting like crazy and making me shift my shedule back by 4 hours.....

I actually made my first bike commute to work. Of course it was at 11:30am and not 7am when it should be.

Weather:
It was windy (34 mph with gusts up to 45MPH ). Dammmm windy. Dangerous actually. But the temp was plesant (60s) and there was no precipitation.

Road Conditions:
Construction. The main road I drive (no bike) to head to work is under construction. That means lots of patched up road and that is not good for road bike tires / rims. I'll either have to take a full lane when riding there, or go somewhere else because there is no shoulder.

Traffic:
Light. Only one major stop light to wait at along with a dozen or so vehicles.

Physical Conditioning:
Sucking. Hard. And. Long. Of course I was fighting a bad wind, biking with ~20lbs of crap on the back, and for the second time in several years. But I still got elevated heart rate and broke a sweat (not like that is hard to do). Forgot to wear my gloves so hands were sore.

Over All Impression:
I'm a wimp. Driving is easier. More money would change this situation (ie not have to scrimp on the funds) but would probably just make me worry about money more. The more you have the more you have to loose.

Now if only I could get PAID to do this or get paid while doing this.....

1) Buy Bike
2) Sell Car
3) ???
4) PROFIT!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Thanks for the Weather Update Stan, Now on to the Top Story 3

So we had some lucky guesses, some close guesses, and a nearly correct guess (except he was greedy and tried two answers in one).

Purchasing a bicycle is nothing ground shaking. What is, is that I will be selling my car (sniff sniff.... I love that car!) and moving my family to a one car household, and my wife keeps her car.

There are many reasons NOT to give up our current a 1:1 ratio of cars to people:

1) two different jobs
2) living in a large geographical area that is not bicycle friendly
3) second job requiring on site visits in my off hours time
4) the "late for work rush"
5) convenience
6) summer heat (Boise gets to 100+/- 5deg and stays there for weeks) that car is old style freon and works stronger than ANY vehicle I have ever been in. We recharged it the month before the ban in the US.
7) safety - bikes by themselves may be safe but any bicycle / motorcycle vs SUV crash is one sided)
8) spur of the moment errands
9) capacity.... few cars (excluding trucks here) have the capacity of an 88 LeSabre for being able to haul lots of stuff or people or both all while hitting 20MPG in city traffic.

But there are also many reasons to get rid of the second vehicle. Here are some:
1) Money - Car insurance - additional $200-300 every year.
2) Logistics - Low mile commute (less than 2 miles)
3) Money - Gas - $320 / year (again for a very low mileage commute) (~$80 / wuarter)
4) Health - Forced exercise (more on this in later journal)
5) Money - Car Repairs - at least $150-200 / year in bits and pieces averaged over time.
6) Logistics - Flat terrain (no hills between work & home)
7) Money - Vehicle Registration & Fees - ~$100 / yr in registration & emissions test
8) Sex appeal - ok..... so bike shorts don't quite count
9) Tradition - My wife's dad has ridden a bike to work for decades (of course he has worked at the same business for decades where as I have had 3 jobs in the last year, and 9 jobs in the last decade)
10) Social - Road Biking with the brother-in-law & pastor. Should be loads of fun.

Yes I mentioned money a lot. That is because money is a big concern. Especially when our mortgage is 40% of after-tax income and my per hour income after health care (bought on the open market through a PPO) is $13 / hr (excluding any actual spending on health care).

So of course I made a spreadsheet. It is costing me about $1.85 every day to fuel, repair, register, license, and insure my vehicle (an `88 LeSabre). This cost does not include the cost for my wife's car. This is just my costs (I even can tell who's credit card receipt for gas it is because she goes to Chevron and I go to Fred Meyer).

A bicycle has far more limited re-occurring costs. If I blow a tire tube every quarter $10 (not that crazy of an expectation) and buy gear every once and a while ($30 / quarter and that is a big expense account for just commuting and occasional road biking) I'll have a pretty realistic expectation lined up. After one year my expenses with a bike would be $1,130. Car would be $465.32. After two years the expense is $1,290 for the bike and $1,115 for the car. After three years the cost is $1,450 for the bike and $1,765 for the car.

So after 3 years, including startup expenses and assuming no major problems with the car then I will be ahead by switching to the bike. And assuming no major problems for the car is quite an assumption.

To that end, I bought a road bicycle yesterday. Visit the pictures section of my Multiply to see the rig. I bought a clearance bike at Bob's Bicycles Boise (Google to find it) that was initially ~$950 and has carbon fiber front fork and seat post. Nice shifters and lots of gears. Then I added on a rear rack to hold my change of clothes, a rack bag with side bags (and the metal frame to hold the side bags), a helmet (might return it cause I found my old one), pants (yes they are padded biking pants), a pump, and padded gloves (a must).

So in 3 weeks I'll be flushing my cars brakes (needed this for a while) checking lots of fluids and then putting it up for sale. Pretty much any income from the sale will push forward my break even deadline.

So there you have it. Not an insignificant change. Hopefully a change for the better financially and health wise. Now if only I could be paid to have made this change (more on this later).

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