Thursday, December 13, 2007

Funde Razor

Last night I went to the awesomest thing ever. It was called Funde Razor, but not just Funde Razor, you have to set it in a heavy metal font and add a heavy metal umlaut over the U in Funde and... Oh, just look at it on their website.

The event was a fund raiser (get it? Funde Razor) for Child's Play, a charity that raises money for sick kids in children's hospitals all across the world. It was held in Denver in a place called The Walnut Room. It has a bar up front and a space with a stage for concerts in the back. Set up on stage was Rock Band, the latest incarnation of music video games featuring vocals, guitar, bass, and drums. So, just to be clear here, you're playing Rock Band, on a stage, with stage lighting and monitor speakers and a sound system and everything, at a bar/music venue, with a cheering audience. I had never played Rock Band before, but I had played its kin, Guitar Hero a couple of times at my friend Isaac's house. That's Isaac in the picture rocking out on the guitar on the right. Even though I had never played before, I took to the stage for three songs as drummer. I figured my actual drumming skills might come in handy. Alas, they did not, as it's not like sitting at a real drum set and laying down a groove. The game tells you to hit very specific drum pads in very specific rhythms, so if you can't sight-read its system on the spot then it's difficult to do exactly what it's telling you to do. But I somewhat successfully hacked my way through the three songs. Not bad for my first time ever playing, in addition to the pressure of playing in front of a live audience in a crowded bar. All the people there were amazing, too. Everyone would get on stage and attempt songs and would support each other, with rounds of cheering whenever someone pulled off a particularly challenging part or made it through a difficult song.

And all the money we raised (mostly the $10 cover to get in) went to help sick kids in hospitals, so double-plus awesome.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Nice Melon!

Crazy Unidentified melon
Originally uploaded by thewbert.
My old college buddy Colin happened to be passing through town the other day and so I let him and his now-fiance Petra crash at my place. After spending a good week and a half in the Utah wilderness they came through Colorado again on their way back to Chicago. The gave me this melon, acquired in Green River, Utah, as thanks for my hospitality. Green River apparently has a huge melon festival about this time year celebrating the annual melon harvest. This melon, a Casaba Melon, looks awesome. It looks like something that should only exist in Dr. Suess land. I think tonight I shall cut it open and see how it tastes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Talk like a Pirate

It's Talk Like a Pirate Day again! This video will give you the essentials you need for this fine day.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Hard Corps

Hard Corps
Originally uploaded by thewbert.
Last week Andrew and I made an attempt on Longs peak. Longs Peak is the only 14'er in Rocky Mountain National Park, and is the peak featured on the Colorado quarter. It is both challenging and accessible. The standard route is about 15 miles round trip and and about 4000 feet of elevation gain. In order to make a serious attempt, one has to get started on the trailhead by about 3 or 4 in the morning. We started just minutes after 4:00 after a good breakfast of bacon, eggs, and cinnamon rolls. We almost made it to the top before some weather moved in and forced us down so we wouldn't die on the class 3 part (slightly dangerous, especially when wet). We did, however, get this photo of us with the NOAA Corps flag at the keyhole. should be ashamed of itself.

I'm a liberal through and through. I wear the label with pride. I refuse to treat it as the pejorative term that certain talking heads try to make it out to be. Which is why it makes me so sad when a liberal organization like stoops to such new lows in an attempt to make a lousy argument. To coincide with General Petraeus' testimony today, took out a full page ad in the New York Times with a picture of said general over the text "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?". This personal mudslinging is the worst element of what has become of political dialog in this country. Please, let's discuss ideas and bring back accountability. Let's passionately argue about the direction this country is going. But please let us not make personal attacks against a man doing a difficult job in a poisonous political climate. A man who swore an oath to country and constitution. A man whose uniform should put him squarely outside of any idealogical debate or diatribe., you should be ashamed of yourselves. If this is the kind of activity you sponsor then I refuse to be any part of it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Signs the world is coming to an end.

As I was heading up into the mountains on my road bike today I saw one of those billboard trucks, the kind whose sole purpose is to drive around and be seen so that the advertisement it is literally trucking around can get some eyeballs on it. This particular billboard truck was carting around an ad for a wallmart that opened up way east of town. Am I the only one who sees the problem here? A truck was driving around Boulder for no other purpose than to advertise a wallmart that opened up that's not even in Boulder. I give up. Seriously.

p.s. Getting pelted with rain while descending a mountain on your bicycle at approximately 40 mph really hurts. Not my favorite thing in the whole world.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Alaska Part III

I just received official notification of my next assignment:

LTJG Ringel,
I am pleased to inform you that the Director, NOAA Corps, has approved your assignment to the following billet:

Billet #0919, Operations Officer, OMAO, Marine Operations Center - Pacific, NOAA Ship FAIRWEATHER, MOP-FA, Seattle, WA.

You are expected to report to this assignment on January 1, 2008. You may expect to complete this assignment on January 1, 2010, if the needs of the service permit.

Permanent change of station orders will be prepared by CPC. Please complete a travel questionnaire (NOAA Form 56-26) and forward it to CPC through your supervisor no later than 120 days from your planned detachment date. A maximum of 30 days leave en route may be approved provided your current duty station is not adversely affected.

If you choose to decline this assignment and the Officer Assignment
Board is unable to identify a suitable replacement, your name shall be forwarded to the Officer Personnel Board for consideration for retirement or separation in accordance with 33 USC 3041.

LCDR John T. Caskey, NOAA
Chief, Assignment Branch

Monday, August 13, 2007


I found out today that I was officially selected for promotion. This means that as soon as a slot becomes available I'll be promoted and be able to pin on my Lieutenant bars. And we all know what that means! It means another wetting down party. I'm pretty sure I'm the number 2 guy on the lineal list of LTJG's, so my promotion should happen relatively quickly. Details on the party will be forthcoming when I actually do get promoted.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Wait wait...

Don't tell me.

I just got back from seeing a live taping of Wait Wait. They came to Boulder and taped it at Chatauqua auditorium, and I scored tickets to it the day before the show on Craigslist. If you listen to it this weekend you can hear me cheering in the background. I wasn't doing much clapping because my wrist is sore from falling on my mountain bike yesterday. The panelists were the ever funny and sarcastic Paula Poundstone, he of the comforting voice Tom Bodett, and the lovely Kyrie O'Connor. Peter Sagal looks a lot like David Cross from a distance. And he's every bit as funny in person as he is over the radio. I was impressed by how much the show flows and feels more or less in person like it does when you listen to it on the radio. Going to a live taping of E-town was very different. There it was obvious that they were recording it in pieces and it would be totally repackaged and edited for the air. Here you could almost just record it in one take and air it as such. Almost. There were a few spots where they mispoke and had to start again, or wait until the show as a whole was over to get a clean take, but mostly it went smoothly from beginning to end. You can tell they've all been doing it for a while.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Alaska Ho!

Well, my upcoming assignment in Alaska has crept one step closer to officialdom. The assignment board is meeting on Friday and is expected to approve my transfer to NOAA Ship FAIRWEATHER. I knew it was coming for a while, but now it all seems so sudden. The plan is still up in the air, but it will likely go something like this:

Late September or Early October: "Familiarization" cruise on Fairweather. This'll be fun as my sole job will be to learn the ship and the people and the systems aboard.

15 October - 9 November: Refresher Training (REFTRA) at King's Point, NY. This is required before a sea tour to renew licenses in things like RADAR and shipboard firefighting.

November - December: ? Might be in Alaska, might still be in Boulder. Vacation time with family and friends.

January - Febraury: Training at Pacific Hydrographic Branch in Seattle, WA. Also, Field Procedures Workshop.

Next two years: Sail around Alaskan waters as a salty sea dog.

It's good to see my 20-year plan is still working out.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Transformers! More than meets the eye!

So, back on opening day of the new Transformers movie I was looking forward to seeing it with a couple friends after work. I bought tickets online and changed my Googlechat status message to "More than meets the eye!" in anticipation. My friend S.B. saw my status message and came back with

More than eats these pies!

So I replied

More than beats that guy!

And he countered with

Porn defeats the spies!

It went downhill from there.

me: Format 'lites despise!
S.B.: Foreign cheats must die!
me: Mormons greet their wives! (sorry)
S.B.: More phlegm in the fries!
me: Foreman feet belie!

All of which turned out to be way more entertaining than the movie.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Yay! 100%

Fascinating Rhythm

Score: 100% (16 out of 16)

Powered by ScribeFire.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Patriotism follow-up

As an aside to my last post I wanted to briefly touch on a related topic. I am a staunch believer in the rights granted to us by the Constitution. Nothing gets me going like a good free speech case such as the one the Supreme Court recently decided. This supreme court decision was a travesty, but I wanted to touch on a different topic; flag-burning.

As I mentioned before, the flag of the United States of America is an important symbol of our country, and even of the Constitution on which it was founded and which grants us rights such as free speech. This is why I feel it would be poetically wrong, a fiasco even, to ever ban flag burning.

See, when a flag is worn and no longer suitable for display, one proper way to dispose of it is to burn it. This is in the federal code dealing with proper display and care of the flag. So any law that forbids flag burning would have to differentiate between the proper, reverent type of flag burning used to dispose of worn flags, and any other type of flag burning, such as that done in protest of U.S. policy or actions.

The differentiating factor here is intent. Therefore, any law that bans flag-burning is outlawing intent, and is therefore a form of thought control.


This news story made my blood boil. The article is rather short, so you can read it yourself, but the headline punned "U.S. Patriotism is Flagging" while the article leads thusly:

Fewer Americans are showing their colors these days.

A new survey finds 62 percent of Americans display the flag at home, in the office, or on their car. That's down from 75 percent in August 2002, a year after the 9/11 attacks.

It continues with statistics about percentages of republicans and democrats who respond to a survey as saying they are "very patriotic" and concludes with statistics of the percentage of different demographic groups who say they display the flag.

My question; since when has displaying the flag had anything to do with patriotism? Allow me to be disingenuous for a minute. My good friends Merriam and Webster define patriotism as "love for or devotion to one's country." Their definition says nothing of flags.

The flag of the United States of America is, by definition, an important symbol of our nation, and should be treated with respect. The mindless, jingoistic displaying of the flag, such as on an automobile or a lapel pin, only serves to demean the symbol. Likewise the many establishments that fly the flag from their business premises but then fail to properly illuminate it at night.

As I write this I have a copy of The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America in my breast pocket. I get it out every once in a while because it is, especially The Declaration, truly inspiring prose. I swore an oath to protect and defend this country and the constitution when I became a commissioned officer. I have a certificate on my wall from the President of the United States that reads "that reposing special trust and confidence in the patriotism, fidelity and abilities of Matthew R. Ringel I do appoint him, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, an Ensign...(emphasis added)". I considered it an honor when I was chosen to raise the flag on NOAA Ship THOMAS JEFFERSON during it's commissioning ceremony as an Ensign serving aboard. But I have never, personally, displayed the flag from my house or car, or any other property personally belonging to me.

So, according to this news article, I am unpatriotic.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Little Tuesday Math Humor.

I love math humor.
Rhymes with Orange - Swearing in Math

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Camping at Peaceful Valley

Last weekend I, along with a few others, went car camping at Peaceful Valley Campground, between Ward and Allenspark. We drove up Friday night and set up camp before dusk. Most of Saturday was spent in a marathon hike up the middle St. Vrain Creek, which was rushing and overflowing with snowmelt. We probably hiked close to 18 miles in a there-and-back. The original plan was to take a truck up a 4WD road to a trailhead to cut some of the miles off, but the road wasn't open, so we hiked the full distance.

It certainly is gorgeous up there. Click here to see the full set of pictures from the trip. Here's my favorite shot. Or maybe this one.

The picture at right was taken with my Nalgene Camera Mount. I set the Nalgene on top of a cooler and had the camera attached to the Nalgene to give me a stable platform with which to shoot such long exposures. This one is six seconds, with a rear fill flash. The trick was to get the flash setting just right so everything was lit well enough so everything was visible, but not overpowering so that it still looked like we were illuminated by the glow of the fire.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Goodbye Mr. Wizard

Television's 'Mr. Wizard' dies at 89 -

Don Herbert, who played Mr. Wizard in "Mr. Wizard's World" died today. I fondly remember watching the show with my sister in the 80's. In one episode, he showed viewers how to make a sort of green slime that seemed solid if struck, but would ooze through your fingers if interacted with in a more gentle fashion. It was simple to make, consisting mostly of corn starch if I remember correctly. My sister and I immediately decided that we shall make some, right then and there. We searched the kitchen for the corn starch and just as we fished it out of the cupboard there was a knock on the door. It turned out be our neighbor, about my sister's age, who had come over to borrow some corn starch so that she could make this cool slime stuff she had just seen on "Mr. Wizard's World."

Sesame Street - The National Association of W Lovers

This song was on a mix tape that an old friend made for me many, many years ago. It just popped up in an Onion AV club best of list. Oh, the memories.

And I disagree. This should be the best one, not the runner up.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Did Pirates Really Say "Arrrr"?

Did pirates really say "arrrr"? - By Christopher Bonanos - Slate Magazine

Turns out no. My favorite line of the article: "On the myth-confirming side, pirates were known to dress in loose clothing, guzzle rum and smash the empty bottles, and chase busty wenches through Caribbean ports."

Ahh, the life of a pirate.

Happy National Yo-Yo Day!

Today, June 6th, is National Yo-Yo day, chosen to coincide with Donald Duncan Sr.'s Birthday. So everyone get out yer yo-yo and help me celebrate National Yo-Yo Day!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Roomba Philosophy, or what I learned from someone else's Roomba

This is how my friend S. described his new Roomba:

i know there is a method to the madness, but it really looks like it is thinking: ok, just, like... GO. and then, like, if you hit something, like... go in SOME OTHER DIRECTION.
and then, when you run out of battery power, go home.

It then occurred to me that this is a pretty good philosophy to live one's life by.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I'm a super genius.

Nalgene Camera Mount
Originally uploaded by thewbert.
Recently I made this. It's a camera mount made into a nalgene cap.

Pause for this to sink in.

Yes, I know I'm a super genius.

I got the idea to make this when I wanted to build something that would let me attach a camera to my bicycle handlebars. I searched DIY sites, but mostly turned up ideas for DIY camera mounts that did not involve bicycles. One such design that turned up was making a camera mount out of a bottle-cap, like one would find on a two-liter bottle. I thought this seemed mildly clever, but mostly useless. When would one need to use a two-liter as a tripod? This would only be useful, I thought, when one was traveling or hiking and needed a clever tripod. But two-liter bottles aren't prevalent when hiking, at least not in my hiking circles. So thus the nalgene camera mount idea was born. It's very simple to make. Here's what you do.


1 1/4 inch x 20 stainless steel bolt, about 1 1/2 inch long
2 1/4 inch stainless steel washers
1 1/4 inch stainless steel locking nut

Drill a quarter inch hole through the nalgene cap. This works perfectly in the small-cap bottles that I prefer. I have not tried this with the wide mouth style cap, but there should presumably be no difficulty with this. Put a washer on each side of the cap and put the screw through the washers and cap. I used a slightly bigger washer on the inside for stability. Then screw down the locking nut on the outside.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I'm reasonably confident I would beat Ken Jennings in these Jeopardy! categories.

McSweeney's Internet Tendency: I'm Reasonably Confident I Would Beat Ken Jennings in These Jeopardy! Categories.

Inspired by this McSweeny's list, here's my version.

I'm Reasonably confident I would beat Ken Jennings in these Jeopardy! categories.

Yo-yos and yo-yo tricks

Good Mexican restaurants in Boulder, Colorado

East Coast Hydrography

Rudiments of drumming

Real-time strategy games for the PC

Space Weather

Band names that begin with "Ozo" and end with "matli"

Friday, May 18, 2007

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bikin' Fool

I've been riding a bunch on my new road bike, which I adore. I did super flag (flagstaff, all the way to the top, past flagstaff proper) on Thursday, Sunshine on Saturday, and I just got back from riding Sunshine again. Didn't see any deer, which is strange. I thought they'd all be out around dusk. But they weren't. Oh yeah, I also got run over by an SUV on my way to the canyon. It was turning right but didn't have it's turn signal on so I went to pass it in the bike lane when it turned and ran into me. But I am a skilled and agile biker, and didn't even get knocked over.

Stupid SUV. I wish I had my stupid-stick with me. I have a fantasy of carrying around a stupid-stick when I ride my bike so I can smash cars that do stupid things like turn right and run me over without turning their turn signal on.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Stupid Rain...

Team Picture
Originally uploaded by thewbert.
And lightning, and hail.

Our kickball game got canceled last night due to weather. We were winning 6-1 when it finally got bad enough to call. We were actually winning! By a hefty margin! Stupid rain.

The ump had brought an official "World Kickball Association of the World" regulation-sized adult kickball. It was much larger than the normal kickball we've been using. Isaac suggested that we were winning because the large ball suited our style of play, i.e. Slow and Sloppy. Thus a potential new team name was born.

I think I have such a pained look in this photo because, other than the fact that we were getting hailed on, after I handed my camera to the photographer I wiped out in the mud as I ran to go join the picture. I got completely slimed all up and down my "activity pants" and even my underwear had mud on them.

Stupid rain.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Santa Fe, Day 4

On day 4 we visited the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. Here's a picture of T just outside the museum in front of a banner advertising the exhibit currently displaying in their rotating gallery. Georgia O'Keeffe lived near Santa Fe during the summers starting in 1929 and later moved there permanently after falling in love with the natural beauty of the place.

We would have been out enjoying the natural beauty of the place as well, if it hadn't started off as another rainy day. Oh well, the museum has some pretty fantastic works, and we enjoyed the short film they were showing about her life.

p.s. Regarding the temporary exhibit. One of the pieces was called "Antelope Skulls" and consisted of bronze casts of the skull you can see in the photo at right, duplicated about ten times and mounted on the wall. According to one of the security guards there, the artist was at the gallery for the opening and somebody asks her what the meaning was of calling the piece antelope skulls when they were clearly deer skulls. Her reply? "What do I know? I'm from New York."

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Santa Fe Day 3: Yeah Hot Tub

In the hot tub
Originally uploaded by thewbert.
We were warned ahead of time that despite being a funky artsy community with many nearby places of natural awesomeness, Santa Fe itself is not very bicycle friendly. I was actually surprised to see how true it was. No bike lanes in existence. Dilapidated narrow sidewalks. Huge curb height. When we tooled around Santa Fe on our bikes on Day 3, I was fine on my mountain bike but T was using her 70's vintage peugeot.

We also did some hot tubbin, as evidenced by the picture at right.

Later in the evening we went to a crazy artsy theatrical/dance production called "A Cabaret of Metamorphosis" at this theater space called the Wise Fool. It was super sold-out, but they were letting people pay five bucks for standing room. It had it's moments, but was mostly pretty amateurish. Still, I love traveling to towns and discovering their little underground scene.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Santa Fe, Day 2

Casita Chiquita
Originally uploaded by thewbert.
We unfortunately had some inclement weather on day two. We did manage to meander around "The Plaza", where all the shops and art galleries are. It was but a short walk from our casita.

It was also our first time experience at the much-heralded Trader Joe's. Anyone who's ever lived by a Trader Joe's talks about it in the hushed tones normally reserved for epic, life-altering experiences. We weren't overly impressed. Sure, I might shop at one if it was close to my house, but it's nothing to get all excited about. The basic idea is that it's a grocery discounter akin to a Sam's club, except that everything they carry is all-natural or organic or recycled or locally-sourced. And they're famous for they're "two-buck chuck", a two-dollar bottle of wine that, if rumors are true, is somewhat quaffable.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Goodbye Outdoor Cinema

Summer cinema bidding farewell : County News : Boulder Daily Camera

The Daily Camera is running a news story today that this will be the last year for Boulder's Outdoor Cinema. The gist of the article is that the outdoor cinema is no longer financially self-sustaining, and the guy who's been doing it out of his own goodwill is throwing in the towel. A big thanks for running it as long as he has.

I have a feeling it will be back, but "under new management" so to speak.

Long live the Boulder Outdoor Cinema!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Santa Fe Vacation, Day 1

iced bikes

Ice build-up on all the leading edges

Recently T and I took a little vacation to Santa Fe. We couldn't decide which bikes to bring so we brought all of them, hoping to get a good road ride in together with our road bikes and the other two bikes for cruising around town and maybe a mountain bike ride when we got sick of each other. I went out and got two more bike carriers for my rooftop rack so we could bring the four bikes.

The drive down featured rain, freezing rain, sleet, and more rain. As we made our way out of Colorado the ice was building up so thick on the bikes that anytime we slowed down it sounded like the sky was falling as big chunks of ice broke off from the bikes and landed on the Jetta's roof. When we stopped for fuel (The Jetta doesn't take gas), I snapped this picture of all the ice that had built up on all the leading edges. Carrying four ice-covered bicycles on the roof absolutely slaughtered the Jetta's fuel economy. I'm used to getting well over 50 mpg highway, but with the fully loaded roof rack I got about 25 mpg on the trip down.

thawed bikes

Upon Arrival in Santa Fe

The skies started to clear as we approached Santa Fe. Instead of the cloudy gray rain we had all day, Santa Fe was sunny, warm, and very inviting. In this picture you can see the bikes are now clear of ice but there's still big chunks of ice melting off the rack. On the windshield wiper is a huge chunk that was attached to my mountain bike tire.

we're here!

Casita Chiquita

We unpacked the car under the waning light of the setting sun. Here you can see the casita we rented for the week; ours was named Casita Chiquita. More pictures of the casita are available in my Flickr account. After unpacking the car we walked downtown to find something to eat. We were hungry, tired, and cranky by the time we found a good eatery called Mucho Gusto. It had one of my favorite food innovations from the entire trip; refried beans made with black beans instead of the more traditional pinto beans! Hallelujah!! Black beans are so infinitely superior to pinto beans, and finally here was a restaurant that saw the light! The salsas were delicious, too! I love me that southwestern food!

Monday, April 16, 2007

How many words do the eskimos have for "hydrography"?

Found out my next assignment is going to be in Alaska. More on this breaking development later.

Update: The title of this post is a nod to the original snowclone. I'm a big fan those wacky linguists over at Language Log and had to throw it in.

I finally talked to CDR Glang last friday after playing phone tag for a couple of weeks. He's the technical liaison officer to the assignment board for NOAA's National Ocean Service. I believe he was gearing up to sell me on the idea of going to Alaska to be FOO on NOAA Ship Fairweather when I politely interrupted him by saying that I want to go to Alaska. He said it could be a done deal but they're going to have me go through a newly formed official process in which I get vetted by a board of "Senior Hydrographers", in other words, the proverbial smoke-filled room.

NOAA Ship Fairweather is based in Ketchikan, Alaska, a city reachable only by sea or air. Or maybe doglsed. The ship conducts hydrographic surveys all throughout Alaskan waters.

I'm looking forward to my new adventure.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

We're in the news!

Space storm disrupted GPS, experts say - Yahoo! News

This news article, about how intense solar flares in December were observed to disrupt GPS service, briefly mentions NOAA with regard to our Space Environment Center. I'm now signing autographs.

Edit: The story is now on CNN here with a little more information.

Edit 2: And now listen to the podcast!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

All the way, baby!

I just got back from riding all the way up flagstaff. I hadn't gone all the way in a really long time. Georgia and I used to go all the way all the time, but this time I had to go all the way solo. It's sunny, but rather chilly outside, so the descent was freezing. My hands, arms, and legs were all numb from the cold. I got passed by five people on the way up, but two of those don't count because they stopped and turned around just after passing me at the turn-off for flagstaff summit road while I kept going all the way to the top. Wusses.

Here's a neat website that shows some of the views from flagstaff.

My kickball team suffered a demoralizing defeat last night. The final score was 18 to 17. The opposition went up by 11 runs in the first inning! We came back to tie it up at 15 each, but then they scored three runs in the top of the last inning and we could only muster two. We fought valiantly and it was an exciting game, but alas the kickball gods were not smiling upon us.

In other news, I might find out soon where I'm going for my next assignment. When I came into the office yesterday I had a message from the liaison officer who deals with hydro assignments. He said he had an assignment that may interest me. So now I'm going nuts wondering what it is. I tried calling him back yesterday but ended up leaving a message for him, and he hasn't called me back yet. I'm pretty sure I'll be going to Alaska on the Fairweather for my next assignment, which I'm honestly pretty excited about. I'm starting to get anxious to go back to sea, even though it means less road biking. When I find out anything I'll post it here.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Black20 Trailer Park: 300 - PG Version

This is the trailer for the PG version of "300".


Andrew I rode a portion of the way up Flagstaff today. As much as we could in our lunch hour, anyway. We prolly got about 3/4 of the way up, just before the insanely steep part, before turning around. It was good to get out on the bike again after working forecaster shift all weekend last weekend and the snow storm we had just before this weekend. I did try to ride up Sunshine on Sunday, but I only had an hour before Scotty was supposed to show up and I wasted half an hour of that hooking up my new bike computer, totally incorrectly, it turns out. And then when I finally did get out on the mountain it looked like some weather was moving in. So I cut the ride way short. But I did see an indeterminate number of deer on the way down. I was going too fast to count. I hit 47 mph on that descent.

So yeah, I'm an idiot. I installed the bike computer sensor in such a way that turning the handle bars put too much stress on the cord and I severed it on the way up. Then, like an idiot, I didn't really fix it properly for the descent, so I was cruising down a mountain with a wire potentially flopping around right next to my front spokes. I'm lucky I didn't catch it and get ejected down the side of the mountain.

In other news, my kickball team has another game at 9:00 tonight. So far we're 0-2, but we're a young, hungry team. Expect to see great things from us any time now. Yup, any second now we'll do something really cool...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

More biking

On thursday after work Andrew and I went up to Betasso Preserve and did a lap on our mountain bikes. We tried to do the same a couple of weeks back but it was less mountain biking and more hiking through snow while carrying said mountain bikes. Two weeks of glorious spring sunshine made all the difference in the world. There were a few small patches that had a vague memory of what moisture must have been like in the far distant past, but other than that the trail was in beautiful condition. Betasso is a great trail. It's mostly gentle up and down and not technical at all, so it's an insanely fast ride. Fast, and fun!

Yesterday I rode my new road bike up Sunshine again. It was in the afternoon and some clouds were rolling in after what had begun as a typical sunny Boulder day. I sure didn't want to be caught in the rain on a mountain with my roadbike, so I was ready to turn around at a moment's notice should I feel the first hint of a raindrop. I made it to the top as the clouds were getting darker and the temperature was noticably dropping. I could tell it was going to hail soon, or at least rain. I'd never seen as much hail come out of the sky as I did when I first moved to Boulder. It must hail at least 5 times a year here.

The one good thing about being in this position is that it can take an hour to ride up the mountain, but mere minutes to ride down. I took a couple seconds to catch my breath at the top so I wouldn't be shaky on the descent. Being fatigued can make you sloppy, and I sure didn't want to be sloppy on a steep, fast descent in potential rain on a new bike with which I'm not totally familiar.

Minutes later I was sitting at my dining room table talking to my roommate when the hail started outside. The power flickered off for a moment and I relaxed by taking a nice hot shower.

p.s. Sunshine Canyon animal tally '07-2: One deer who startled me by being about 2 feet away when I noticed it; two large brown eyes watching me impassivley as I peddled by.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

MadTV - iRack

My sister brought my attention to this brilliant piece of MadTV satire. I didn't even know this show was still on the air, but this skit is pure genius. By the way, I just now had to have my in-browser spell-checker correct my spelling of genius. I'm a super-genius.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Rode 3/4 of the way up flagstaff today on my lunch break. Wow what a difference having an actual road bike makes! Got passed by three people and passed two. Not bad for my first ride up flagstaff for the year. The road bike geometry is getting more comfortable, but it's still nerve-wracking going down mountains with road bike style brakes. I'm used to mountain bike style v-brakes that let you stop on a dime. I'm pretty sure I've gone down flagstaff faster on my old-school cannondale, but maybe that's because my cannondale weighs a metric ton compared to my scott. Current plan is to mountain bike betasso on thursday, but maybe I'll be too addicted to my shiny new road bike.

Oh, by the way, my new kickball team, which rules, unfortunately lost yesterday. We didn't completely make fools of ourselves, though. I think the final was something like 10 to 6. Um, go Thermo Fisher Scientific!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sunshine Canyon Animal Tally '07-1

Yay new bike!
Scott Speedster S40

So I just got a new road bike yesterday. I've been all talk and no action about getting a road bike for a couple years now. I finally decided to spend part of my federal tax refund on a shiny new road bike. I decided on a Scott Speedster S40. It has an aluminum frame with a carbon fork and Shimano Tiagra components.

I broke it in today with my first ride up Sunshine canyon for the year. Animals seen: 2 female deer shedding their winter coats. The ride kicked my ass since I got a little out of shape over the winter, but I made it up without stopping. My bike has the triple chain ring, which definitely came in handy, as I was in granny gear most of the way up. My goal, whenever I ride up sunshine, is to make it to the top without getting passed by some ironman type on an $8,000 bike, and sure enough I made it to the top without getting passed by anyone. Hopefully, riding up sunshine will be at least a weekly occurrence from here on out. Plus, I need to get in shape for my upcoming vacation to Santa Fe.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Jim Flora is my new Hero

If anyone is looking for something to buy me I'd take this.

It would look sweet in my condo. I love this guy's art. I've always had a soft spot for visual art that captures music, and this does it gloriously well, being vibrant and alive. Maybe I should pounce on this before they're all gone. Get it? Pounce? I'm so funny.

Pirate Blogging Tools

I'm gonna start blogging using my brand new pirate keyboard.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Many months ago I was talking on the phone with my gf and I meant to say "I gotta go; I gotta go meet my kickball team." But what actually came out was "I gotta go kick my meatball team."

I thought of this because it's the middle of winter and I want it to be summer so I can jump in my pool with my cell phone in my pocket (again) and play kickball with my fabulous kickball team. Go away, winter.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Originally uploaded by thewbert.
This is what the flatirons looked like from my office window after my workout this morning. I love Boulder.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Breaking News...

It was announced this morning that Denver has been chosen to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention! Woot!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Helpful tip from your friendly neighborhood Thew

Try to avoid sneezing when your mouth is full of partially chewed banana.

I'm just sayin'.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


tongue-operated cell phone
Originally uploaded by thewbert.
Yesterday a few of us went snowshoeing up flagstaff mountain. The trailhead is literally right outside my girlfriend's front door, so this photo was snapped mere minutes into the excursion. This shot is looking north from the base of flagstaff, so there's a bit of Boulder there in the background. And of course ScottyB being his usual self in the foreground.

new table

new table
Originally uploaded by thewbert.
I finally got around to getting an end table for my fancy eco-glam sofa. I ended up going to a furniture refurbisher right next to my house. They had one that's a perfect fit and it hadn't even been painted yet so I got to customize what color I wanted. I was actually going for more of a deep blue and less purple, but I'm pleased with the result. When they were done with it I walked to the store and carried it back to my place. It felt very Boulder to have walked to the furniture recycler and carried my recycled furniture back to my house.

nice rack!

nice rack!
Originally uploaded by thewbert.
This is the pot rack my awesome girlfriend got me. Isn't it spiffy? And I only drilled one unnecessary hole in my ceiling!

Notice the delicious home-made banana bread in the bottom of the frame. MMmmmmm.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Old Friends, New Adventures

Ten years after my study abroad experience in Bupapest, there's only one fellow BSM'er with whom I've kept in sporadic contact. Rebecca and I travelled together after our program ended, and spent Christmas Day amidst the new-fallen snow in Dracula's Castle, and New Year's Eve dancing the macarena in Istanbul with French Canadians. The last time I saw her was a few years ago when my ship pulled into Boston Harbor and she lived in Cambridge. I was pleasantly surprised when, yesterday, I found an email in my inbox from her. I had been considering a trip to California and possibly visiting her at her relatively new job at Stanford. But, surprise! She's joined the Peace Corps! And is leaving for Guinea, Africa imminently!

I wish her the best in her adventures, work, and self-discovery. Fair winds and following seas, the sailor in me would say.

You can follow her adventures on the blog she has created to detail her experiences in the Peace Corps: