Vital Statistics

I rode all the way to work this morning – all 14 miles. It’s the first time in over a year and I felt pretty good. Well, except for my sore butt.

Bike odometer: 108 miles
Current reading: The Last True Story I’ll Ever Tell by John Crawford, The Prince by Machiavelli
Recent listening: DrugMusic, John Prine, Taking The Long Way by Dixie Chicks, Stadium Arcadium by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Running On Empty by Jackson Browne
Recent viewing: FIBA Quarterfinals, The 4400, The Colbert Report
Recent playing: Zuma
Recently accomplished: Finally reached beta on one project at work and GM on the other, paid bills
Imperative To Do: Install network in Graham’s room, sell truck, labels for my sister’s CDs, fix Newton server, kill and pull weeds
Cool Link: Keith Olbermann Responds To Rumsfeld (click on one of the video links to watch)

Vital Statistics

My friend, Don Fitzgerald, helped me construct a bench on Saturday to reinforce the sagging rail on my deck. The bench turned out great and now the rail is rock-solid. Don was proud that we only had 4 scraps of wood left when we were done.

I’ve got some pictures from the sleep clinic that I’m sorting through. I’ll have those up some time this week.

Bike odometer: 82 miles
Current reading: The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, The Prince by Machiavelli
Recent listening: NPR Story of the Day, Science Friday
Recent viewing: Brainiac, 2006 World Series of Poker, Monk, FIBA Championships, Emmy Awards
Recent playing: Zuma
Recently accomplished: Finished Zuma, built a bench on our deck, deck maintenance, cleaned up the work bench in the garage, cleaned and lubed bike, paid bills, helped Thomas design a Lego steering mechanism
Imperative To Do: Install network in Graham’s room, labels for my sister’s CDs, pay bills, fix Newton server, kill and pull weeds, design a better steering mechanism
Cool Link: Why not impeachment? by Bill Maher

Vital Statistics

Our new car arrived at the dealer on Wednesday and Tina picked it up that evening. I celebrated by driving the van to work two days in a row – the first time I’ve driven to work in months. We’re all excited about our new Scion. The racks come in next week and Tina has to drop by the dealer to get them installed.

As I mentioned before, I slept at the sleep clinic again on Tuesday. They hooked me up with all the wires and I wore the CPAP nose mask all night. It went pretty smoothly until I started my R.E.M. period around four am. Evidently my mouth drops open during R.E.M.s which causes all the air to rush out. What’s more, I woke up startled and choking a couple of times until I finally awoke completely around five and couldn’t get back to sleep for about 15 minutes. During that time, the mask pushed the nostril microphones (yes, nostril microphones) into my septum. I awoke at 7:30 with a very sore septum. They’re probably going to give me a chin strap to keep my mouth shut. We’ll have to see if that works. I have an appointment with my doctor next week.

Tina’s mom has been here all week. We’re having some mutual friends and Tina’s cousins over tonight for a little farewell BBQ. After we bid adieu to her tomorrow morning, my friend Don is coming over to help me reinforce the railings on our deck with a nice built-in bench. I’ll take pictures.

Bike odometer: n/a
Current reading: The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, The Prince by Machiavelli
Recent listening: KBOO Bike Show, He’s Drunk/Plus Also Too by Scrawl, Spirit Trail by Bruce Hornsby, This Is The Moody Blues by The Moody Blues, Grace by Jeff Buckley, Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground by Bright Eyes, Has Been by William Shatner
Recent viewing: The Daily Show, 30 Days, Sportscenter, The Colbert Report
Recent playing: Zuma
Recently accomplished: Zuma Level 12-7
Imperative To Do: Build bench to reinforce deck railing, install network in Graham’s room, labels for my sister’s CDs, pay bills, fix Newton server, kill and pull weeds
Cool Link: United Nuclear: Online purveyor of cool and geeky stuff. Looking for a place to buy thermite? This is it!

Vital Statistics

This morning I was nearly a victim of the “right hook” (explanation here). A burgundy pickup passed me as I ented an intersection and then turned directly in front of me, passing within a foot of my front wheel. The violation was so blatant that I got mad enough to turn around and attempt to catch up with the vehicle in question. Unfortunately, he/she had a two block head start on me and disappeared around a corner. I cruised the street for a few blocks but they were long gone.

Tonight I spend the night at Portland Adventist where I will be fitted with a CPAP device. I’m bringing my camera this time and hope to get some good pictures of me all wired up.

Bike odometer: 74 miles
Current reading: The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, The Prince by Machiavelli
Recent listening: DrugMusic
Recent viewing: The Daily Show, 30 Days, Sportscenter
Recent playing: Zuma
Recently accomplished: Zuma Level 12-6
Imperative To Do: Install network in Graham’s room, labels for my sister’s CDs, pay bills, fix Newton server, kill and pull weeds
Cool video: Naked basketball

Vital Statistics

Saturday morning I awoke to extremely sore calf muscles. Evidently, all the hiking/walking we did at Adventure Cove the day before took its toll. I did some yardwork, but mostly rested the whole live-long day. I did more of the same yesterday, but my calves are still sore this morning. And I discovered that I actively use those muscles when I’m biking. Now would be a good time to have a second car!

Bike odometer: 64 miles
Current reading: The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, The Prince by Machiavelli
Recent listening: Taking The Long Way by Dixie Chicks, Science Friday
Recent viewing: The Daily Show, PGA Championship, 30 Days, South Park, The Dead Zone
Recent playing: Zuma
Recently accomplished: Mowed, trimmed and edged the lawn, trimmed some hedges, instructed Thomas on lawn watering, setup my new Airport Express, grocery shopping
Imperative To Do: Install network in Graham’s room, labels for my sister’s CDs, pay bills, fix Newton server, buy pooper scooper, kill and pull weeds
Cool video: Monster dunk

Vital Statistics

We joined Thomas at Adventure Cove on the Oregon coast this afternoon and helped him lug his bags to the van. After that we dined and watched their last “campfire”, which is sort of their nightly show. Thomas had a great time all week. We’re all pretty tired from all the up-and-down hill walking in the camp. Thomas and Graham both fell asleep on the way home after they polished off their Blizzards. Tomorrow their Grandma Jan arrives and they are plenty excited about that, too. Isn’t it great to be a kid?

Since there have been a few comments about our decision to buy the Scion, I thought I might tell you the specific criteria that we developed and how the xB fits them:

  • Gas mileage: We spend $50 to fill up our Caravan now. That hurts. We definitely wanted something that gets better mileage and the xB fits the bill: 30 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway. That’s the rating for the manual transmission, but I’m sure my granny driving will get even better mileage.
  • Cargo capacity: We need room to fit Thomas’ cello and possibly a bass if he decides to switch later. While the xB does not have nearly the cargo capacity that our Caravan has, its 60/40 fold down rear seats make enough room to fit the instrument.
  • Reliability: The last couple of years have been a real drag on us for auto repairs. We wanted something reliable and with a good warranty. The Kia 10-year warranty is pretty incredible, but we think the Scion warranty will probably be good enough: 3 years bumper-to-bumper with 5 years on the drive train. In addition, if we want to purchase an extended warranty, it only costs about $800.
  • Price: Although Tina convinced me that a new car was what we needed, I still was pretty unwilling to go into new car pricing territory. We set our price range at $15-17k and the xB was easily the least expensive of any other car we were considering: $14,570 MSRP with standard options.

In summary, the xB tested nearly perfectly for our criteria. What I hadn’t counted on was how much I would love driving it. Even though it’s got a tiny little motorcyle engine in it, it’s got tremendous get-up-and-go. The interior is totally Spartan but that also appeals to me because I hate having to pay for interior amenities. The amount of interior space is also pretty incredible, especially the amount of leg room in front and back.

If you’re really interested, you can go to the Scion xB showroom to get all the details, but here’s a few of the standard options that we appreciate:

  • Air conditioning
  • Power windows
  • Power locks
  • AM/FM/CD player
  • Auxiliary audio input jack on the console (iPod pluggable – nobody else had this)
  • Bucket seats similar to the ones in our van including the height at which you sit
  • Extra cargo space under the floor in the rear
  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Driver and passenger air bags
  • Shoulder belts for all five passengers

As you can probably tell, we couldn’t be happier. Tina wants one in Salsa Red (I don’t care about color) and we’re told one arrived in the Port of Portland. We’re calling tomorrow morning to reserve it. We’ll see how long it takes to get it.

Finally, lest it sound like I actually did anything aside from nodding my head occasionally, I have to give all the credit to Tina for finding this car. Not only did she find a great car for a great price, she resolved the conflict between us about what exactly we should do for our next car purchase. What a great wife she is.

Bike odometer: 59 miles
Current reading: The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, The Prince by Machiavelli
Recent listening: Rufus Wainright by Rufus Wainright, Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses by Slipnot, Abraxas by Santana, Stadium Arcadium by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Humpy’s Soul Show
Recent viewing: The Daily Show
Recent playing: Zuma
Recently accomplished: Got the boy back
Imperative To Do: Setup Airport Express, install network in Graham’s room, labels for my sister’s CDs
Cool link: zunafish: Trade the stuff you’re done with for the stuff you want

Vital Statistics

I love The West Wing. I love being able to have an hour where I can be inspired by what can be great about our country and get away from what is wrong with it now. I love the intelligence and the incredible competence demonstrated by the characters on the show. I love the thoughtfulness and depth which are given to the issues. I love the complexity and the shades of gray that show even though we all want it to be black and white. I love the humanity. I’m going to be sad to see it end in a few weeks because there’s really no other place I can get that.

Bad news on the vehicle front: it “only” cost $200 to replace the motor mounts, but the engine is still jiggling like crazy. It seems that one of the valves is “burnt” (according to the mechanic who fixed the motor mounts) and causing the engine to vibrate violently, which is what broke the mounts. One of the guys in the shop (not the mechanic) gave me an estimate of $500-600 to fix the valve. I’m pretty sure I now regret getting the head gasket fixed last year. Although I instructed them to specifically to fix the mounts, it miffs me a bit that they fixed them knowing that the root problem was still there. Am I unreasonable to think that they should have warned me about this before expending my $200?

Update: Stopped at the shop on my way to work to discuss the burnt valve repair with a mechanic. The guy last night did the estimate wrong: it will be $738 at a minimum and more if they have to replace any valves. I’ll call our regular mechanic tonight and see what he says, but it looks like we’ll be getting a new truck soon.

Bike odometer: 5886 miles
Current reading: Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now by Barry Miles, 9-11 by Noam Chomsky
McCartney Trivia: While they were at the Maharishi’s, John wrote “Dear Prudence” for Mia Farrow’s sister, Prudence, who had locked herself in her cabin. Evidently, she had meditated for too long and was in a near catatonic state and refused to come out. John sang the song with his guitar outside her door and she eventually came out.
Recent listening: KBOO Bike Show
Recent viewing: The West Wing, Brainiac, Conviction, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, World Poker Tour
Recently Accomplished: Motor mounts fixed, Quicken receipts
Recent playing: Frogger Adventure (on GameBoy Advanced SP)
Imperative To Do: Buy lug nut wrench and jack for van, start taxes, figure out what to do about the truck
Cool link: John Lennon Playboy Interview (1981)

Jon Stewart and the Oscars

Have I mentioned how much I like Jon Stewart of The Daily Show? The shows I missed the most when my Tivo was broke were The Daily Show and Countdown. Here’s a few random thoughts:

  • One of Stewart’s specialties is taking something a politician says recently and then going back through old footage and finding contradictions and straight-out lies. He makes it funny but why can’t the “real” news do this? It seems so obvious.
  • Jon Stewart himself describes his job as “making faces at the camera.” This may be true, but he is the best face-maker in the history of television.
  • It’s hard to decide which I like best: the fake news at the beginning of the show or the correspondent story in the middle. After Steven Colbert left, the new crop of correspondents they got seemed like they weren’t as good, but last night I saw a story about a women’s prison in Minnesota that was incredibly funny. The interviews with the ridiculous questions are enough to make anybody laugh.

Sour PussBTW, despite the ill-humored Hollywood denizens (Joaquin Phoenix, I’m talking to you) there that obviously didn’t appreciate his humor, I thought Jon Stewart was really funny at the Oscars. I think they were expecting a bunch of Republican bashing and when he started tipping their sacred cows, they just didn’t find it funny for some reason. For example, he said Walk The Line was a remake of Ray with white people. Or that you normally have to go to a Democratic fundraiser to see so many movie stars. Comedy gold!

For me, other parts of the program had negative entertainment value:

  • I counted at least three “reminders” about how the theatre-going experience beats watching movies in other venues. DVDs were specifically called out for their poor recreation of the theatre experience. Telling your audience how they are supposed to enjoy your product is condescending, but many would also argue that viewpoint is very flawed. Sometimes you just want to curl up at home in front of your TV and DVD player. Who the hell do they think they are to tell you that’s the “wrong” way to enjoy a movie? Total bullshit.
  • The film editing union must be very strong this year because the number of montage sequences was totally out of control. The worst was a montage about films that “change the world” (or something) which included The Day After Tomorrow. I liked that movie, but I don’t think it changed the world.
  • Aside from Dolly Parton’s performance from Transamerica, none of the other songs grabbed me. I thought they ranged from boring to over-the-top unbearable. BTW, how cool is Dolly? Despite the fact that she looks like total white trash, she’s got to be the coolest member of country’s “old guard.”
  • I’m a George Clooney fan and really dig when he sticks it to blowhards like O’Reilly, but his tirade about being “out of touch” early on was very self-righteous and hypocritical in the historical facts he mentioned. For example, he said Hollywood talked about AIDS when everybody was whispering about it, but Hollywood never made an AIDS film until 1992.