Sunny Days in the Grey NW Winter




During the winter, our sunny days here in the northwest are few and far between. When one rolls around, it is silly not to get out an enjoy it. I took a few pictures while out and about. Granted they are not so postcard worthy, but still.
Wednesday January 20 2010File under: pics

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Sunday Puzzler

One of the highlights of my Sunday is lying in bed and listening to the Sunday Puzzle on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday with Liane Hansen and Will Shortz. Many of you might remember when I got to play on air many years ago. I'm now convinced, after submitting many many answer since then and not getting on again, nor hearing of any repeat players, that they don't let you play on air twice. That's okay, though. There is another way I aspire to be a part: I want to submit a puzzle.

I've submitted a couple of puzzles that I think are pretty good over the years but none have been used yet. Instead of letting them go to waste in somebody's inbox, I thought maybe I should just let them go to waste here instead. If you are the puzzling type, give these a try:
  • Take the name of a popular actress with three names (e.g. Sarah Jessica Parker) Her middle name is a homonym* of a verb and her last name is a homonym of a noun used to do the verb (as in a shovel is used to dig). Who is this actress?
  • Take the familiar name* of a popular east coast beach town in 2 syllables. Reverse the two syllables to get the familiar name of a popular Pacific coast beach town.
  • Take the name of a well known world publication. Add an "A" somewhere in the middle and you will get the name of a summer treat.

Feel free to share your answers in the comments. The names of all those with correct answers will be entered in a drawing to play puzzle on the air with me when/if I ever get my own nationally syndicated radio show.
Sunday January 17 2010File under: games

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FC 92 - Hit Me

Huzzah, huzzah! Friday Comics have returned. Don't worry, I know I'm not speaking for you. I'm speaking for myself. What I realized on this last little jaunt is that I really really enjoy the comic part of my week: coming up with ideas, "drawing" or farming it out to artistic friends, posting, and then occasionally discussing the comics with someone who finds a particular one funny (or not). It is just something I've really grown to appreciate.

So groan if you must, but I'm happy to say that I foresee at least a few more installments of Friday Comics on the way.

(Oh, and a word about this comic if you aren't the gambling type: blackjack tables have little sensors that allow a dealer to find out if he/she has 21. If the dealer is showing an ace, you have an opportunity to buy insurance to cover your loss if the dealer does in fact have blackjack. At least that's how I understand it. I've never bought insurance, much for the same reason as Mr. I <3 NY doesn't.)
Thursday January 14 2010File under: comic

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Call Me!

I'll admit that I'm not the easiest guy in the world to get ahold of via the telephone. Not having a cell phone and always either on the road or at a different housesitting job means that to track me down is no easy matter*. The solution which I have suggested to people in the past is to turn to the internet. Nine times out of 10, e-mail is going to be the fastest and easiest way to track me down anyway. But for those times when it's gotta be a phone call or if e-mailing just isn't convenient, there's now another way!

I've got a phone number. It's mine. Call it, and you will reach where I am, or, if I'm not around, it will go to my voicemail...usually. There are a few caveats. This number forwards to wherever I am, so someone else there might get to the phone before me. Don't be alarmed. And sometimes, it might go to another answering service. If you don't hear my voice on the answering service, it's probably best not to leave a message. But whenever you want to call me, you now have a way.

My number is 360-six one zero-7122. You can also send texts to that number. (Go ahead. Try it!) Or if you forget the number, you can just click the little icon above and you'll be connected.
Wednesday January 13 2010File under: misc

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Avocado Pie

It is becoming a trend that whenever I return from travels, I have a craving for cooking. Perhaps it is from eating too many gas station corndogs or whatever the equivalent is wherever I'm returning from. Or maybe it is a grasp for control over what I'm eating, which is not always so easy on the road. Whatever the case, I usually return home with a list of recipes I'm aching to try out.

This time around, the recipe in my head started out as key lime pie. Somehow, thought, it morphed into avocado pie. I first had avocado pie down in Mexico a couple of years ago and loved it (after a brief skeptical bout with idea of eating essentially guacamole for dessert.) Anyway, when the opportunity to make it came up, I jumped at it.

Using this recipe, I created a spectacular pie which I've added to my permanent recipe collection. Yummo!* Next time we get together for dinner (and avocados are in season), remind me and I'll bring with me this green bit of heaven.
Monday January 11 2010File under: food

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Canyonero

This road trip has been a great one for outdoor places. Sure I've seen some cities (or at least little bits of them): San Antonio, New Orleans, Vegas, El Paso, etc. But the parks have been the real stand outs. In each of the 3 main parks we've visited, the best scenery in my opinion has been the canyons.

* Big Bend National park in southwest Texas: I would love to spend more time there. It's really got some great geography.

* Red Rocks near Las Vegas: a great scenic drive even if you don't get out of the car. If you hike around a little, it gets even better.

* Death Valley National Park: lots of desert, but some of the narrow canyons are pretty freaking spectacular too.
Tuesday January 5 2010File under: travel, USA

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Another Roadside Attraction

Traveling the back roads of America far outweighs interstate travel, if you ask me. Sure it is a little slower, but seeing real towns instead of exit ramp after exit ramp of the same chain stores makes it all worth it. Passing through Eastern Oregon on a small back road recently, I came across this gem that I just had to share.

There was no plaque or explanation. Just a bunch of license plates nailed to a fence and fence posts. Upon closer inspection, I noticed there was a can of nails and a hammer for anyone to add their own contribution. Erica and I both did our part*.

When we stopped in the next town*'s little cafe*, we asked about the art installation up the road. They didn't have much to offer in way of explanation but did point us to another similar attraction in the next town over.

Yep, back roads America: I'm a fan.
Sunday January 3 2010File under: travel, USA

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Dear Las Vegas

I've been told by a few people that this post is a little "weird", "out of character", "too personal", or "emo", so I thought I'd throw this disclaimer on it. If you like your posts normal, in character, impersonal, and whatever-the-opposite-of-emo-is, it's probably best to skip this one.

Dear Las Vegas,

I like you. People who know me are sometimes surprised by this, but I do. I recognize that you have so much more to offer than getting drunk and spending too much money. Every time I visit, I learn new and exciting things that make me appreciate you more. When people try to put you down, I stick up for you. I remind them of all the free entertainment, outdoor opportunities, and visual excitement there is to see. I point out that by having excesses concentrated and sharable, it allows people to avoid excesses at home. I point out what a genuine feat of engineering, art, and marketing it is that you even exist. I'm really one of your biggest fans.

But there is something I have to get off my chest. Despite your many facets of entertainment, history, culture, and interest, there is just one thing that I can think about when I visit you. It's not money (although I do catch myself occasionally thinking about what it would be like if I were to take home that over-sized novelty check). It's not the shows either. Whenever I visit, see a movie or tv show set upon your glamorous streets, or even hear someone mention you, I think of her. I'm convinced I see her two rows over in the grocery store shopping for coffee. Wasn't that her car that just cruised by as I wait to cross the strip? This park totally seems like the type of place she might come to hang out, Yeah, I know there are millions of people roaming around at any given time, so the chances of an encounter are slim, but still. And not that I even want an encounter, I think, maybe. I just can't help but have such thoughts fill my head.

There. Now that I've said it I feel a lot better. What do I expect you to do about it? Not much. I mean, if you see her, maybe tell her I say hello or something. No biggie. I guess I just needed you to know.

Anyway, I gotta run. I'm trying to catch as many free shows over at Circus Circus as I can. If I learn something, I can write off this trip as a tax deduction. Thanks for being so cool.

Always,
Wren
Friday January 1 2010File under: open letter

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Two Tales of Two Cities

NORLINS

What do you do if you have 5 hours to see all that New Orleans has to offer? Well, I did what I could. I saw Bourbon Street, tried to take some artsy photos, watched some street performers, ate some beignets (YUM!), waited in line for a fancy restaurant, ate crawfish etouffe, gumbo, and jambalaya, and drove around looking flood damage.

Yep, if I go back, I will do it in a little more organized fashion, and maybe even have a plan, but until I do make it back, I've at least got a frame of reference for when all those saints go marching in.
SAN ANTONE

I last went to San Antonio 22 years ago or so. Needless to say, I don't remember much (except some vague recollection of the movie Cloak and Dagger). Luckily, I had the chance to refresh my memory with a quick visit. We saw the Alamo* and the riverwalk.

Then someone on the street looking for a fight decided to punch me in the face 2 times. That's a first. It turns out that it doesn't feel so great. Luckily, San Antonio's finest* were right around the corner, so Mr. Firsticuffs shan't be bothering the nice River Walkers any longer.

Tuesday December 29 2009File under: travel, USA

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Bike Trip Recap

Start point:Pensacola, FL
End point:Slidell, LA
# of day:5-ish
# of nights:4*
Total miles travelled:200
Average miles per day:40
Actual mileage breakdown per day:18, 82, 28, 40, 30
# of states visited:4
# of geocaches found:4
# of all you can eat buffets:2
# of all you can eat buffets that were a bad idea:1
Ratio of angry horn honks to supporting honks:3:1
# of abondoned water parks explored by cover of darkness:1
# of days until my knees are regularly functinoal again:5? 15? 50?
# of photos taken:Not nearly enough
But still: x-mas beach fire, giant gorgeous tree in Bay St. Louis, frontage roads make me happy, drying clothes after a storm, on a ferry, biking rocks.

Sunday December 27 2009File under: travel, USA

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