25 December 2007
13 December 2007
05 December 2007
I have read all three of the books in the series and I plan on seeing the movie. No, I won't let Lander see it because it's rated PG-13 and he is 6. Yes, the author is a proclaimed atheist (so are most scientists, but I don't see anyone boycotting science). I guess he must certainly have some hidden agenda in trying to brainwash the children of the world with anti-Christian ideals. I think not. I think the big problem here is people trying to twist and read way too much into the plot of this story. The book is fiction, it was written for kids. Not to mention the fact that you can pretty much extract any religious meaning you want from any fantasy book you read (The Lord of the Rings, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Dark is Rising). I read the email that is being circulated about why you and your family should not see this movie and it is riddled with misinformation about what actually occurs in the book. I am certain the person who wrote that email didn't even read the books and has absolutely no clue what they are talking about.
As far all the conjecture about what was the author's intent was with these books, it's exactly that, speculation. I don't know and I don't care. After reading the books I personally feel that the author was really trying to express his opinion that any religion or organization that promotes blind faith, oppression (think Crusades), unlawful power and fearful submission (again, The Crusades) is bad. Hmmm, I would have to agree with him on that one. Of course this is just MY interpretation.
I guess what it comes down to is this, people will always view things from the perspective of their value system. The author was recently interviewed by Al Roker on NBC. Al asked him directly what he thought about his books being viewed as anti-Christian. His reply was that he would "mistrust people that tell us how we should understand something" and that he supports "democracy of reading" where we are free to interpret things for ourselves. Sad as it is, I think there are some people and organizations that are worried about free-thinking and people forming their own opinions.
So, I am not saying that you have to read the books or see the movie. Please, just don't jump on the bandwagon of mindless misinformation, use the mind you have and form your own opinions.
Okay, off my soapbox now. Here are the first 5 minutes of the movie if you dare.
15 November 2007
14 November 2007
Pretty impressive huh? Yeah, she won! I would have cried if I were her competition.
She also designed and made this cake for a Utah bridal magazine:
And then helped with this one:
She is truly amazing. I wish I had an ounce of her talent.
30 September 2007
|Point Forecast: 2 Miles SE Mount Hood OR|
45.34N -121.69W (Elev. 6084 ft)
29 September 2007
Our first night in the house we put Lander to bed. He comes running downstairs a few minutes later to tell us that there was a mouse in his room and that it ran out and went into our bedroom. Wonderful. I thought Lander was seeing things and we told him it was no big deal (because we didn't believe him) and sent him back to bed. About 30 minutes later I am downstairs in the living room and I look over in the kitchen and see a mouse cruising across the floor. Okay, Lander is telling the truth and it's the middle of the night and I have no mouse extermination devices. I am not squeamish, I can deal with this. My next thought is, is this the same mouse as upstairs or are there actually two mice in our house? Second thought, if I have seen two mice tonight already, how many more are there? So, I try to corner the thing in the dining room and it manages to find a hole up behind my kitchen cabinets. Great. My solution, and this sounded good at the time, pretend to be a stealth mouse killer armed with a broom and wait quietly for the mouse to come out again. I really didn't want to squash the mouse all over my new hardwood, I just thought that I could block the hole it went into under my cupboard and then I really didn't know what I would do after that, yell for Bryan while I block the hole? I quickly learned that the mouse is faster than me. I noticed that the mouse was trying to go around the edge of the dining room by a sliding window. This is where the story gets good and in my defense I was really tired, so my thinking wasn't all that great. Being the genius I am I think I can probably chase the mouse out if I open the slider and wait for him to come out again. Better yet, I have this ingenious Hansel and Gretel-esque idea that I can make a trail of bread crumbs from the cupboard to the sliding door and that the mouse will follow it and eat the bread crumbs and go outside. I wait patiently, it comes back out, takes a bread crumb and GOES BACK UNDER THE CUPBOARD!! At this point I am pissed and the idea of squashing it with the broom is becoming more appealing. I decide to get rid of the bread crumbs so I don't reward the mouse for obviously being smarter than me, open the sliding door to the patio and wait patiently, again. Sure enough it comes out again, follows the wall to the slider and goes outside on the patio. I wait a bit to make sure I don't scare it so that it runs back inside and shut the door. I then wish I had gone after it with the broom outside to squash it just to make myself feel better, but it's gone and I am fine with that.
Things go good for a couple of days and I naively think that the mouse in the house was just an isolated incident until I come home one day, go upstairs into our room, drop something on the bed and see a mouse dart out from underneath the bed and go into the vent on our fireplace. Okay, it's in my bedroom, this is war. I realize we live in the country and there are mice. I also come to the sad realization that in the weeks before our house was finished every time we came up here every window, door, sliding door was open, all the time. So, most likely, we have a whole bunch of mice in our house somewhere. I vow to kill every last one of them. At first I set out some traditional mouse traps with peanut butter, like this:
And I have some early success (I am sure I will get and angry email from PETA for this. I guess I shouldn't tell them that for work I genetically engineer mutant mice for research):
Then, they get smart and figure out how to eat the PB without setting the trap off, thieves:
So, $70 later and a trip to Home Depot I have every mouse extermination device possible(with the exception of poison, like I want it to die under my cabinet or fireplace where I can't get to it, ewwww!):
The full spectrum includes a trap that electocutes them (my personal favorite), glue traps (very efficient but you actually have to kill them after they are caught, yuck!), a transmitter that you plug in your outlet that is supposed to repel them all together (totally awesome), and a new version of the traditional trap that is kid-friendly (this one sucks).
In the last 3 weeks I can happily say that we have seen no mice or no evidence of mice in our house. We ended up buying two transmitters for the house because let's face, we live in the sticks and mice are going to be here no matter what. We even caught some that were living in the garage and we think we found the hole where they were getting into the crawl-space and into the house and immediately patched that up. So far, so good.
Bryan hasn't faired so well with the mice. In the process of taking some of our moving boxes to a friend Bryan managed to get one in his 4-Runner. He got in it one morning and it had shredded a bunch of tissues to make a nest on the floorboard under the gas pedal, so most likely it was pregnant. When he told me this, I was roaring with laughter. It's really unfortunate, but funny considering all the problems we have had with mice. He put the electronic trap in his truck and failed to catch it. He found a hole in the firewall that he thinks it has been using to move between the frame and the inside and so he covered it with duct tape. I think he may have gotten rid of it, but who knows, those things are sneaky.
Here are my favorite things about being out in the sticks of Washougal:
1. It's quiet at night (except when the coyotes get riled up)
2. It's dark at night (unless there is a full moon which is even more intense when the darkness is not marred by street lights)
3. I woke up one morning to deer and my neighbors cow (mmmm, dinner) in my yard
4. I can shoot a gun on my property if I want to (yes, I will fit in well)
5. The crack that spans the width of my windshield in my truck makes me look like a local (I am too lazy to fix this, besides, it will just crack again)
6. Lander has an endless supply of sticks and rocks to throw
7. The dirt road up to our house is so bumpy right now it's like a mini off-road trip every time I go home
8. I am closer to the ski resort, Hood River, epic mountain bike trails and awesome road riding
9. At Lander's school open house I saw several families that were completely decked out in hunter camo. Not just the dad, EVERYONE. That is so Washougal, I love it.
10. The huge spiders that have taken up residence on our porch. Lander loves to feed them by throwing bugs into their webs, he is such a boy!
We have had a few kinks to work out in the house, but we are happy with the way it turned out. I finally got some new couches after living with the same furniture my parents gave us when we got married (which I had already lived with since I was 14). I was glad to have something new. That will be the extent of my interior decorating. I don't paint rooms, decorate or spend time trying to color coordinate anything. Ask Bryan, I didn't even hang anything on the walls in our old house. Seriously I could probably find the time to do that I really just don't care that much, I just like being here. I might buy something cool that I can just bring home a plop on the coffee table, but that's about it.
Here's a picture I took from our porch yesterday after one of the thunderstorms came through the Gorge. The hills you see are actually the Oregon side of the Gorge.
26 August 2007
24 August 2007
Because I am cheap and refuse to throw even more money down the drain on a nicer hotel (um, that money would be better spent on new bikes) I decided to find the cheapest extended stay hotel I could. My sacrifice for the sake of finances resulted in the Bihlmaier family slummin' it for a few weeks. The best part about the whole situation is being in this lovely part of Vancouver (I-205 and Mill Plain, sob). It is noisy, smelly and congested. Everyday that I ride out of here on my bike to commute to work I wonder if I will actually make it across Mill Plain without getting creamed, or if I will actually make to Mill Plain without getting hit by some crazy person that is intoxicated from eating at Muchas Gracias all night. What is crazy is that if you go two blocks North or South of Mill Plain, it's a completely different town, as in one that is not noisy, smelly and congested! My second most favorite thing about the area are the people. I got home from the track late one night and decided to grab some dinner at a fast-food place close to here. I was not in there 5 minutes before some drunk guy from the bar across the street wandered in and started harassing customers. Wonderful. I sat in the corner and inhaled my food faster than usual and secretly hoped that he didn't come anywhere near me. A few days later I was leaving the hotel and there were some guys hanging out in the hallway that happened to be guests here. As I walked out one of them said "Hey, what's going on sweetie?". What the? Seriously, I object. That was definitely the low point for me.
As far as our actual room goes, our dilemma has been space. We have two adults, Lander, all of Lander's Legos, two bikes, gear to accompany two bikes, a computer, and a bunch of food crammed into a 30x20 room. The hardest part is trying to get Lander to go to bed at night. We want to stay up and read or watch TV (free Showtime), but Lander won't go to sleep if we do that. This has resulted in Bryan and I fighting over the bathroom. The toilet has become prime real estate at 9:00 at night for reading or working on my laptop. I tried to convince Bryan that sitting in the bathtub would be a good idea so we could both be in there, he didn't go for it. So, we trade off. My life is pathetic and I seriously need a vacation from my family after this. So, this is home sweet home for another week. Here's some memorable pics of our humble abode.
15 August 2007
11 August 2007
I will say that the Madison was a lot of fun. I taught (with my limited knowledge) Ryan Weaver how to Madison race before the racing started and we did the Madison race together. He did awesome for his first time, I was impressed. It's so cool to race with someone that is taller than me (hard for an amazon girl like myself), I had great acceleration when he would throw me in. I look forward to next week.
06 August 2007
Monday night I raced the short track MTB at PIR (good race #1) and had my best short track races this season (no flats) and the course was awesome. Okay, I actually only did 3 of the short track races, and I flatted on one and felt terrible on the other so I was really excited that everything came together for the final race. I did manage to crash on the first lap coming off the gravel pile and had to make up places, it was good motivation.
Wednesday night I raced the CMG crit (bad, bad race #1). My tactic the week before was to go hard from the start to string things out. Well, I did this again and it backfired on me. I actually wore myself out so much that when an attack went off 1/2 way through the race I got dropped from our lead group. I managed to come in off the back of the lead group, by myself, and totally disappointed in the fact that I totally sucked!
Thursday was velodrome night (good race #2) and I was excited to again try my hand at the Madison and then we were going to do a points race. I got paired with a more experienced rider for the Madison and after botching the first two exchanges managed to not completely suck for the rest of the 15 minute race. It was a lot of fun, but I was so tired that I really didn't know how I was going to do a points race. Luckily the points race was only 20 laps. At the first sprint I took some points and kept going and got a good gap on the field. I was really excited when Andrea (my fearless 6 Day diva) bridged up to me and we proceeded to work together and LAPPED THE FIELD. Lapping the field was a goal of mine at some point this season, so it was great to do it with Andrea. She beat me in the sprint, she is sprinting really well. We finished 1st and 2nd, it was great.
My bad, bad race #2 just happened to be the State Championship Time Trial. The thing that really sucked was that physically my body was toast, which meant that mentally I couldn't push myself. I tried. I pretty much realized in the first 10k of 40k that I was not going to have a good race, or even be able to race, and decided to roll it and just finish. The problem is that a) I still had 30k to ride and b) the last 20k is into a nasty headwind. I really wanted to cry and stop, but that was not an option since there was no where to go but back to the start/finish where the car was parked. I felt terrible, my time was 4 minutes slower than last year, and I was DFL.
I think I am going to go back to knitting as a past-time. Of course, I would probably find some way to screw that up as well.
29 July 2007
This weekend our friend Phil from Utah was here to do the annual Pedal the Pinchot ride. This ride is awesome and somehow we forgot to take our camera, so no proof that we actually did it. I will say, that there are some spectacular views of the blast zone on the Southeast side of St. Helens on this ride. If you ever have the chance to do this ride, I highly recommend it. Lots of climbing, but you know what that means, lots of fun descending!
I was digging through iPhoto the other day and found some pictures from Utah that I missed. These are from our favorite ride, the Alpine Loop. Fun ride, 12 mile climb, nasty technical descent on the other side, oh so much fun!
Phil, Bryan and I at the top of the Loop, finally! We are smiling because we
get to go downhill for a very, very long time.
Me on the descent
25 July 2007
21 July 2007
The racing today began at 3:00, with some one day racing taking place between our races. The extra break was nice, but with some rain delays we ended up being at the track until 7:00 p.m.. Our first lap was an unknown distance. The roll the dice to determine laps and you don't know how many laps you are doing until they ring the bell for the final lap. Meg rolled off the front on the first lap and we got the bell on that lap. Everyone tried as hard as they could to catch her, but she came a cross the line first. It was a short race, for me it was over before I even figured out what was going on.
Our second race was a Keirin. The only experience I have with a Keirin is this video I found on YouTube:
Okay, these guys have padding on. I knew our race wouldn't be like that, but I still had no idea what to do. I was in 4th position out of 5 while we were being paced by the motorbike. I knew that with Mike, Brian and Heather in front of me I really didn't have a chance so I just decided that rolling across in 4th was good enough for me. Andrea on the other hand had an awesome race and attacked on the final lap to take the win by several bike lengths. She is my hero.
Our Madison went awesome. We had some really solid exchanges and got our timing down pretty well. We did have a couple of botched exchanges and sometimes our timing got a little messed up when we had a sprint lap, but I was totally happy with how we finished. I think that Madison hurt the worst of all of them. My legs were definitely toast when we were done. Here are some pictures that Bryan took while we were racing: