Sunday, February 24, 2013

Movie Review

I hate TV and I can't stand theaters.  But I keep banging my head against the wall, for you.  And every once in a while, something amazing pops, and this blog becomes the go-to place for what to watch.  Well, okay, maybe this is the first time it has ever happened. But without the first, would there ever be a second?  I think you've already answered the question.  Correct me if I'm wrong.

The title is "Your Sister's Sister".

The 26InchSlicks rating is RAD+++

And it's available in those red boxes, for the time being.

The location of the filming (boy, does that ever make me sound stupid) is Washington's left coast, so there's that. But this is not really important, just a hook for us semi-locals.

The dialogue and theme and storyline are just freaking amazing. But especially the dialogue. Trust this idiot, and just watch it.

Here are some rare bike scenes.  Which are not relevant, at all.  Just watch it.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dead Baby

To be clear:  I did not put the baby in the dog bowl.  The baby put the baby in the dog bowl.  Therefore, I am not a baby killer, and that's the main thing I need you to know.  By the time I got there, the baby was dead.  If the baby had been struggling, I don't know what I would have done, but my fear is that I might have been compelled to save the baby.  Holy hell, I'm so glad the baby was already dead.  As it is, I gleefully tossed the baby out with the bathwater, and predict that I will sleep just fine tonight.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I haven't talked directly to Pat S for a few days and so this is conjecture, but the strong vibe I get is that he's majorly bunched up over his new job to the extent that he literally can't tell his butt from up. So there are truly weird things emanating from him, but it's solid, directed weirdness, and I think this Quilomene stuff has a pretty intense grip on him to the extent that it's displaced his other soft goals for 2013 like the 24 hr race and a possible MTB road trip and I get the sense that this might be THE big bike thing for him this year.  Funny how priorities emerge, but it's super good when they do. Unavoidable, undeniable, inescapable bike passion rules. Hard. And when it's not present, he feels kind of adrift. He wishes he had it all the time, but he knows it can't be constant and he doesn't know how to force it to happen when it's not there.  Nor does he want to.  It should happen on its own schedule, thinks he. And when it does, he's satiated. Very much so.

But this is all just conjecture, as I have pointed out.

The following is the type of image that might have him all messed up and staring wide-eyed at the ceiling at night, though.  Thanks, Ward, for the images . . 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Brandy's New BFF

Doggyland has been a major personal growth experience for her.  I thought she was totally dog-anti-social.  Apparently that is not the case.  One could question her choice of friends.  Or one could just be happy that she finally has one.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


. . . is in the air, as far as this blog is concerned, I'm afraid. Except that I'm not. It won't go away, I don't think, but it will certainly become something different.  Which is to say that we'll hang out in a different way, assuming you still want to hang out. Hope you do. Because I think it will be good. The change, that is.

In brief way of explanation, my work life has taken a turn, that being a tremendous opportunity of which I want to take full advantage, and which consumes humongous amounts of energy and time, and which therefore leaves scant time for blogging.

Scant is little, but it is not nothing, though.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Carpooling Is The Bomb

Brandy's kennel closed, or went out of business, or something. We've since heard that there have been quite a few complaints about the place, in recent months.

We first found it by recommendation of her vet, who we like and trust.  But that was a few years ago, and there have been warning signs more lately, which we have ignored, as dumb people are wont to do.  Ask any dog.

So we went in search of a new "kennel".  Oh, how mightily dumb we have apparently turned out to be.

Apparently, the good places are not called that any more and they don't operate like that any more, either.  Seems that between the dark ages in which I was raised and the present time, things have changed a bit, in terms of what is the proper kind of outfit to care for your dog, when you're on vacation or can't otherwise do it yourself.

We ended up at a friend-recommended place called Doggyland.  Since it's in the valley, and I work in the valley, it became immediately apparent that it was my job to drop off / pick up Brandy from "trial day".  And every other day we will ever drop her off / pick her up, for that matter.  If we pass the test, of course.  Holy living hell.  Trial day.  Am I even saying this?

Apparently, I am, then.

You're supposed to bring a pet bed.  And a ball.  And dog food.
Which we did, as you can see.  And which barely left room for me to drive, might I mention.

When we got there, Brandy and I walked in together, and there was very little anxiety on her part, as is normally the case with the "kennel" routine, and everything was rad and chill, and Mary and Sarah were just unbelievably cool and professional while they dealt with my clueless dork self.  They asked me if it was okay if they put her in with the small dogs.  I hadn't the first idea what that meant, so I said, "Sure!"

Obviously, I hadn't even begun to "get it".  Ignorant people can only adapt to enlightenment so fast.

However, on my behalf:  I came back at the end of the work day to pick up my carpool buddy and they let me look through the window at her, in this new environment and she appeared super happy and comfortable and there is no smell in this place and there is no incessant barking and there is containment, but no cages, and they have this scale model of the layout of the facility in the lobby that, along with their concept, their philosophy, is just blowing my mind.  After processing throughout the day what I had seen in the morning, I was on the verge of being able to accept.  Here's kind of the explanation of how it works, as quoted from their website:

At Doggyland, there are 3 exercise areas where the dogs are seperated by size and play style.  Each one is an open play space where your pet will enjoy a fun filled day frolicking with other dogs of their own play style.  In summer, your dog can cool off in our air conditioned indoors or the small wading pool out doors whilst drying off in the summer sun. In winter, your pet will be safe from the cold in our the heated indoors. Each play area has a seperate door flap that your dog can freely go in and out of. In fact, they will have so much fun exercising in our doggie daycare, you'll be sure to notice a happier, content and calmer member of your family.

I drove home with a completely different dog.  Confident, content.  I can't believe I am even writing this. But I totally shit you not.

We, as people, need to keep stretching, evolving.  It's something we all gladly give lip service to, I think.  But sometimes we don't really understand what that means and then certain turns of events show us what it means, in no uncertain terms, and then we are somewhat grateful while at the same time mostly bewildered and it is just best to go to bed and let our subconscious mind deal with it all during REM and whatever other kind of sleep we are in for, and hopefully we will wake up tomorrow and we will have adjusted, even a little, if not completely, and things will make better sense. Hopefully.

This would be one of those times.  Goodnight.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pain, Pleasure, Podiums

Today marked the inaugural edition of the snow bike (aka fatbike) race that was ammended to an annual event up at Schweitzer Mountain called the Snowshoe Stampede.  Pat S participated, per prior plans.

Pat's buddy Dan has a condo on the mountain and hosted the visit.  Dan's hospitality is always top-notch, and this was no exception.  Upon arriving, Dan had lunch ready and Pat partook.

Schweitzer has gone in on the idea of allowing fatbikes on their nordic trails this year, but only partway.  Please.  So how it works is that they make a day-by-day decision on whether fat tires will or won't be too damaging to the trail surface, based on conditions.  If conditions are favorable, bikes are allowed on the trails.  After 1:00 pm.  Which, Pat guesses, is just slightly better than the original plan, which was to allow only rental bikes on the trail, and prohibit any user-owned bikes at all.

Look, Pat does get it.  These are established trails, with established user bases, and now there's this new type of user, whose behavior is not exactly predictable, and getting everyone to play well together is not just a slam dunk.  But the system now in place only works for users who stay on the mountain (and probably not even all that well for them).  How can Schweitzer attract day users from Spokane or Cd'A when the potential user has no way to find out if they will be allowed to ride on any given day until 9:00 am on said given day, and then if they do make the drive, won't be able to hit the trails until after 1:00?  They can't, thinks Pat.

This is the rental fleet, and for someone already on the mountain who wants to give fatbiking a try, they are incredibly affordable and convenient.  Assuming that trail conditions allow riding on the particular day that said someone wants to give fatbiking a try, of course.

But enough with all the debbie downer dialogue. Pat's primarily positive.

He would say that the ride through the village, to the start-finish line, was novel and fun as hell.  He would say that mixing it up with the alpine ski crowd was quite the unique experience and that hearing the comments made him, at times, imagine himself a celebrity.

Following Dan and his skinny butt through the crowd.

Per the order of events, the snowshoe racers went off first, at 2:00. The size of the field was not exactly, umm, overwhelming. But what the group lacked in quantity, they more than made up for in quality. Enthusiastic and fun folks. Pat is starting to really dig snowshoe'ers, which is good, seeing as how he is one.

Meanwhile, the fatbike crowd awaited its turn. There were liability releases to execute and fees to surrender.  In the end, all the t's and i's got crossed and dotted.

Pat's purchased pass.

After which, there was a certain amount of time available with which to warm up.  Dan doesn't normally even let himself enjoy fatbiking, but on this day, he made an exception.

The sun was out and the the fog was blanketing the valley below and Picnic Point was picture perfect.

Once back at the start-finish line, the clock was ticking down to start time and the competition was starting to get all serious.  All joking and small talk was banned.  Pat kids you not.

Passive Pat had planned on playing.  "Participating".  This was not to have been a truly competitive event for him.  But somewhere around Athol he started getting the idea that this may be his best and last and only chance in life to win a bike race.

Poor Pat.

He did start slow, and then as he sized up his competition during those first few hundred yards of the race, he  began to harbor the illusion that he could prevail.  Pain was present.  Puke was poised to project.  Pain persevered and prospered.

Our mighty hero held the wheel of eventual winner Wayne (far left in picture above) for as long as he could, and it was a galant effort.  (As of tonight, Pat is still coughing up parts of his lungs, but he digresses.)  Yes, drafting was a factor, as there were certain, extended, gradual downhill sections that were continual 20+ mph stuff.  His computer showed a max speed for the day of 30 mph.

In the end, Wayne was just too strong and Pat blew up and fell off the back.  Pursuantly, Pat panicked.  The 3rd place participant (Charles, standing right next to buddy Wayne) was hot on Pat's wheel.  Pat pedalled.  Productively.  It was a close finish, and Pat persevered.  Pow!  (Pat was very glad that the race was not 10 yards longer.)

The race had taken a tremendous toll on him, but Pat understood that post-race hydration was key to a rapid recovery, and acted accordingly.  Thereby averting serious negative consequences.

The aforementioned grousing notwithstanding, Pat does totally appreciate the staff at Schweitzer for putting this event together, as it was clear that it was no small effort.  And to Dan, for all his fatbike advocacy up there.  And who also finished seconds behind, in 4th.  I think he would have kicked Pat's ass, if he hadn't been tempted by and then eaten a Krispy Kreme on race morning. This was Pat's first-ever time racing fatbikes on a dedicated course in the snow, and honestly, he thinks it was rad.  Props, people.

Friday, February 1, 2013

River City Red

We've talked about it. And now it's real. And it be good. And it be REAL good.

Thanks, Liza, for the perfectly paired salad.