Thursday, November 1, 2007

2007 Halloween Party Pictures

2007 Halloween Party Pictures

These are some pictures from an adult halloween party we attended.

I was Jango Fett from Star Wars.

Amy was a naughty Head Nurse. Our friend Keith was the Jolly Green Giant (he was even carrying a can of peas with his namesake on it).

The fourth person is our friend Tom who said he was the White Stripes guy.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

2007 Secret Spring Creek Report

For our 11 year wedding anniversary, the missus and I hired our favorite fishing guide, Charlie. He took us out to a spring creek somewhere in Eastern Washington. Here is a pictorial account of the day.

The spring creek was like a moonscape. Rolling hills, covered by bright yellow straw and interrupted by small dark grey crags. The creek was wearing collar of verdant grass. Charlie made US wear shin guards to ward against rattlesnakes (though none were seen). As we walked on a cliff by the creek we looked down to see giant fish zooming around in pool! In almost all the big pools there were big fish. Everywhere else, and I do mean everywhere else, there were millions of little juvenile fingerlings. They were often so thick that the water itself looked like it was a living, swirling carpet.

We marched through the grass, noticing dozens and dozens straw-colored praying mantises. We discussed why there are no preying mantis patterns – probably too hard to cast such a thing. Amy wanted to take home one of the bleached cow skulls but we didn't.

The fishing was Â… intense, demanding and rewarding. We'd hike for 10 to 40 minutes at time in between "pods" of fish. Amy and I took turns hitting the pods first until one of us hooked a fish, which was like 100% of the time.

We'd always start at the back of the pool, crouching in the grass and casting to the fish at the tail end of the pod. It would take only one or two casts, bouncing a big hopper off the green wall of grass on the other side of the creek. The bug would drop in the water and BAM the silence was broken by fish launching out of the water to eat it.

Mistakes were punished – bad casts caused the fish to spook and race up the river or hide in the rocks. Charlie said our casts were almost TOO good since half the time we weren't ready for the fish, not expecting to catch something on the first, tentative cast. I lost two good fish that way myself – Charlie said one of them looked to be 23". D'oh!

The fish of the day came at the very end. Charlie and Amy were working their way up a channel, casting to the opposite side of the creek. Amy cast over to some rocks that looked yummy. Charlie told her to lift and cast to the next spot but Amy let the fly sit for a second longer. Suddenly, a big wild brown trout rose from the rocks and inhaled her hopper. She then worked the big brown for about 10 full minutes until Charlie could get to it and remove the hook. He lifted her fish for the picture, which I took with the zoom in too close. Boy did Amy let me have it later when she saw that it was the only picture I took! It wasn't my fault, the camera was weirding out! I protested.

At the end of the day, Charlie professed that we were pretty lucky to have run into so many fish and that they were so cooperative; we put the hurt on fish in almost every pool we visited and we only used one fly – a hopper.

This is my favorite picture -- I like the way the angles all come together just behind where Amy is standing.

The day was a gift to ourselves for 11-year wedding anniversary (15 years together) and it was money well spent. We don't normally hike 5 miles to catch fish but now we're thinking its worth it. Props to our guide for showing us a time that we never, ever would have experienced without his professional help.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Things Casey Has Said

Aug 2007: Here are some neat little language-isms from this summer. Instead of saying "each other" Casey says "our chothers" or "their chothers". Also, instead of saying "destroy" and "pause" he says "extroy" and "depause." All of those seem to make sense to us. Sometimes we use those words when we talk to our chothers.

May 2007: After he'd been climbing all over me and tugging at my sleeves all day, I told Casey that I'd was going to send him to a private school. He said "Is that where we show our weiners and buns?". It took me a minute to realize that he thought that "Private School" was some kind of school that had to do with ones "privates".

January 2007: Amy was explaining where meat came from and she mentioned that ham and bacon come from pigs. Casey said he wants to be a pig so we can eat his ham and bacon.

January 2007: Casey wouldn't put his clothes on one morning. So Amy and I were raising our voices and telling him loudly to put his dang clothes on! "Mom and Dad! You guys are making me into a moron!" he replied testily.

January 2007: Casey said I want a make a picture with a monkey in it that has boobs and is a mommy and she is juggling brains and balls are its brains.

December 2006: Casey likes to pull his eyelids down and say "Look at my eyeblood!"

December 2006: while playing with cars at the coffee shop, casey said, "Mom! The Human Race is starting!"

December 2006: He also told Patti "When Daddy gets mad at me, he scrapes the poop out of my buns and puts it in a bowl and eats it with salt and pepper."

November 2006: Amy and Casey were at a Mexican restaurant. Casey said "Mom. God and Jesus are sitting right next to me!" and he scooted over to make room. Then he said "They're talking to me! Wait, wait, sssh what's that?" So Amy asked them what they said and he goes "They say they're prisoners here."

June 2006: Our neighbor Samantha (Sam) came home and Casey went over to her and told her "Sam! Sam! You have to come talk to us!!!" Apparently she got worried because he sounded so sincere about it and she said "What do you want to talk about?" And he said "Um... come over and talk to us about.... spiders."

June 2006: Casey was talking with Sam our neighbor and he told her "when I grow up I'm going to be a giant. And my name will be MUNGUS."

June 2006: One day I had set up a possible play date with one of Casey's friends. I wasn't sure if he was coming over or not and I said "Casey, somebody is coming over. Maybe nobody." and he looked at me and said "Dad, maybe yesbody." We covered some, no and yes.

May 2006: We were coloring with sidewalk chaulk. I said that it was funny that all the chaulk was pastel color which mean't we couldn't draw wounds or blood. Casey said, "Yeah, no hopsotch blood."

March 2006: Casey has been asking us to call him Superman-supiderman whenever he wears both his cape and his spiderman outfit. But one morning he asked us to call him American-Dragon-Jake-Long-Superman-Spiderman-Monkey-Team-Hyperforce-Go! So we did. We didn't talk to him much that day.

Mar 2006: We three woke up in bed this morning. Amy held her arms out for a hug and said "Casey, what do I need?" and Casey looked at her and said in a deadpan voice Makeup.

Mar 2006: Casey fell off a stack of books and landed on his backside. Crying, he said Mommy, I have a tummyache on my butt!

Feb 2006: Casey asked Amy for some crackers or something and she said "Casey, what's the magic word?" and he said NOW! ... QUICK!

Feb 2006: Casey said Mom, ask me how I'm doing so Amy said "How're you doing, Casey?" and he replied Wowsy!. We don't know where he got that.

Feb 2006: Casey was watching me shave today and he said "Daddy, are you scraping?" and I told him, No, I was shaving. Later he referred to the razor as the scrapy-thingie.

Feb 2006: Today I'm remembering how casey used to say "Are you Various?" when he got in trouble. We think he meant "Are you furious?"

Jan 2006: Casey just pooped and showed it to Amy...."look mom! it's a big one and a little one! It's you and me!"

Jan 2006: Amy and Casey and his friend Daniel were at some place where the kids could get their faces painted. Daniel wanted to be a lion and Casey wanted to be a Man-shooter. Whatever that is.

Mid 2004: Amy took Casey to the pet store once when he was just two. She pleaded the clerk to take out a puppy to show Casey. It was against store policy or something to have puppies interact with kids that young but she successfully pleaded her case. So the clerk grudgingly brought out a puppy and held it up to casey. And then... And then he mimiced something we'd shown him as a joke: he picked his nose, pulled out a bugger and then held his finger out to the puppy for the eat it. The clerk had a look of utter horror on her face.

October, 2005: Casey? How about a cheese-stick? asked mom. Um, how about a cake-stick? Or suffing?

September, 2005: Casey got his finger caught in his carseat and started crying. Amy pulled it out and Casey said, sincerely and tearfully, Mom, you saved my life.

September, 2005: The evolution of McDonald's. When Casey could first talk, he would say "Chicken-Fries!" to refer to Mickey-Dee's. Eventually he started to say "Spic-Don-Dalds". I ridiculed him for this mercilessly so this stage only lasted a few months until finally, he says "Yellow Arches."

August, 2005: Casey and I were watching the Mariner's game when he said, "Daddy? Where's Randy Winn?" I was amazed. Randy Winn had been traded to the Giants at the trade deadline and here my incredibly bright 3-year-old notices that he's not in the lineup. I was in awe. Then, a minute later, "Daddy? Where's mutant spiderman?"

August, 2005: Amy was pretending to be sad so she could show me how Casey responded so tenderly. He held her head and looked in her eyes and said, "Mommy? What's wrong? .... What's the big deal?"

Casey used to combine interesting words. For example, when we pointed out that the big mountain (Rainier) is called a Volcano, he said "Balcano. Balcano. Soccer Balcano." Anyway, a few weeks later, Casey and I were taking a bath together and he pointed and said "Daddy's balls. Daddy's Balls Lightyear."

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Remote Control Fly Fishing

After months of planning, I finally had assembled all the necessary pieces to implement my grand vision of remote control fly fishing. Let me quickly recap how we got here:

  • The Nikko RC boat was the first component bought from Fry’s for $30. Whoops, forgot the necessary battery.
  • During my next trip to Renton I acquired that battery - $20 more.
  • Next, I traded a beer at the Rogue Brewhouse in Issaquah for some fly line from a member.
  • An initial test in the local retention pond was not encouraging. The motor seemed to stutter and the range was horrible. I assumed that the problem was due to electrical interference from a nearby electric station. I was wrong though.

Fast forward to the afternoon of 4/20 on Lake Alice. I’m sitting in my 12’ jon boat at the far end of the lake. The only other fisherman has just left so now I can try out my vision. I’ve just cut about 25 feet of fly line and tied it to the back of the RC boat. On the other end of the line I’ve put an 8’ leader with an indicator, a split shot and then an olive snow-cone chironomid. I use the controller to drive the boat out about 30 feet and then it stutters and stops responding. Dammit! I don’t understand why the damn boat isn’t moving. I press forward on the controller knobs over and over again but nothing happens.

Out of the corner of my eye I see the indicator submerge like the yellow eye of an alligator. Great! Now I have a fish on the end of the line and I can’t get the boat to move! I motor my Jon boat over to the RC boat, grab the line, net the fish, a sturdy 10” rainbow planter, and let it go.

I stare at the RC boat some more, frustrated that everything finally seems in place – the boat is here, the battery is charged, I got the fly line, there’s no one else around, the weather is perfect, the fish are willing but my RC controller has some kind of erectile dysfunction. Epiphany! I realize that the wire antenna on the RC boat cannot be allowed to dangle in the water! So I tie it to the boat’s whale tail and now it works like a charm! The little remote chugs powerfully in a circle and bumps into the front of our boat. Cheyenne, my faithful canine companion, sits up from her usual nap with interest; “well, this is new!” her expression seems to say. She realizes its not food and not prey and she’s quickly disinterested again. She holds down the front of the boat very well.

I reposition the RC boat and wait. And wait and wait. I’m staring at the indicator like I’ve never been able to do before. When I fish this way using a rod I never have the patience and I start slowly reeling in and tell myself that I need to the keep the line taught. I’m not a very good chironomid fisherman. Until now. Now I have the patience of a saint. I’m staring at the indicator like a cat watching a goldfish.

The indicator suddenly jerks backwards and then underwater. My thumbs are already perched on the controller sticks and I send the boat shooting forward. But the fish is already gone. While I was watching the indicator, the RC boat had drifted toward the indicator leading to a lot of slack line.

I turn the little boat around to reposition it. As the boat is making its U-turn a small fish is suddenly jumping behind it. He’d taken the midge while I was repositioning the boat! In the interests of science, I pit the boat against the fish to see if it can handle it. Well I’m happy to say that the boat seems to handle a 9” fish with no problems at all. The fish seemed to swim laterally anyway. That is, he appeared to want to swim perpendicular to the direction the boat was going. That seemed like really good news! I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I let the fish go and reposition the boat. Over the next two hours I see the indicator go down 10 more times. On two more occasions the fish hook themselves and I have the pleasure of steering the fish over to me with the RC controller. I continue watching the indicator like the world’s most dedicated chironomid fisherman. Honestly, it was TOTALLY FUN - like when I first started fishing with worms and bobbers.

After a few hours, to mix things up, I took off the midge and tied on a burgundy colored woolly bugger that I’d found in the launch/parking lot. The boat moved noticeably slower while trolling this thumb-sized fly. I saw the indicator dip once when the boat was paused but the fish was not hooked. Shortly after this, the boat appeared to run out of juice as it moved slower and slower and then stopped responding for periods of time. I retrieved my little proxy and congratulated it on a fine day.

I fished in the ‘conventional’ style with my fly rod for a few more hours catching another three fish (on the same olive chironomid the RC boat used) and losing several more. As it got dark, I steered the boat to the launch. There was a spin fisherman at the launch with a fishing rod propped up on a stick. I beached the Jon boat and Cheyenne jumped out and promptly urinated on the guy’s rod; “hey, hey, HEY!” he yelped as he stumbled back from this unwelcome greeting. I don’t know what gets into Cheyenne sometimes. After fishing with a remote control child’s toy we have no right to look down on our spin-fishing brothers! Or do we? Maybe this is Cheyenne’s way of saying “watch out, fisherman, there’s a new game in town.”

Thursday, February 15, 2007

2007 Las Vegas Trip

I'm writing this from my room at the Aladdin while waiting for a build to complete. Yes, I'm WFV (or Working From Vegas). Housekeeping is bugging me to get out so they can clean the room. Whatever. Day I

Anyway, yesterday, our plane was delayed a couple of hours so were late getting out of the gate. We passed the time on the plane defacing tabloids. You get a weird sense of satisfaction out of writing "CRAZY" across various celebrities faces. Our rental car turns out to be giant burgundy Montego. Its like a big avon lady car. Whatever, Amy likes it. First stop, even before checkin in, was Hooters Hotel & Casino. We walked all of 10 feet into the place before we're setting down and drinking, gambling and smoking. Aaaaah, decompression after a long day of travel. A drunk guy walked up to me wearing a $300 brand new hooters jacket and asked me if I'd seen his wife, Carrie Underwood. I said I hadn't. We chatted for a while. The dood was a trip. After five drinks between Amy and I we went to the gift shop to get casey a shirt but they were out of the ones that said "My Dad Is Making Me Wear This Shirt -- Hooters Casino, Las Vegas" so all I got was a calendar. Sweet, sweet calendar though. Its for my man space. No, not my taint, I mean my office.

Side Note: This previous weekend was the first ever NBA all-star game here in Vegas. We talked to about five different bartenders about this and most of them said "I don't want to talk about it." The ones that did open up said things like "I've been working here 9 years and never saw anything like it. Completely crazy. I've never been scared working at my job here before but I was scared this weekend. There was a fight right there where you are standing." 15 people were killed and 400 people were arrested. The Las Vegas jails ran out of room so by the second day they were shipping people down to Phoenix. One bartender said, "you don't want to use the word colorful, but..."

After Hooters we came to the Aladdin and checked in and got all squared away. At the bar we hung out with these Canadians who hit a royal flush right was we were talking to them. They bought us a round of drinks so by then we were pretty loopy. We lost some money at a BJ table and then went upstairs for some quality family time. I took a nap and then went back downstairs to find Amy at about 10pm. She wanted to go dancing and she'd been quizzing this Russian floozy about where to go tonight. She, and some bartenders we talked to, said that Pure at Caesar's would be hoppin' tonight. A promoter gave us a VIP card that would, in theory, get us in with no cover.

Fast foward to Caesars. The VIP card isn't working to get us in. But we know how the town works now, so I turned around, wrapped a couple of twenties around it and asked him to look again. Ah, he said, that's right. Just a minute, and then we were in.

It was hip-hop night at PURE. Next to the DJ was a raised area behind glass. The area had nice couches, tables and drapes and was filled with the hottest, richest, sluttiest chicks you ever saw. Fortunately they were nice enough to wear really bored expressions so the rest of us unwashed commoners wouldn't get all jealous because clearly they weren't having any fun. Amy had been waiting to dance at a hip hop club for like a year so she was going wild. We danced until about 2 when it finally became so insanely crowded you could barely move.

My favorite part was at midnight when they actually had a bikini / lingerie fashion show right next to the dance floor. Yum.

Back at the hotel we had chicken strips and fries from Room Service. $40! They were good though. We went to sleep around 3 and Amy was up at 8 to get back down to the Casino.

Day II

I worked in the hotel room until 3:30 or so. I got a ton of stuff done and I think I looked really good to the people back at F5. I was fixing bugs and helping people and weighing in on weighty matters.

I went down and joined amy at the center bar for a couple of drinks and we strategized about what to do. Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne), Kevin Spacy and Kate Bosworth were filming a new movie (21?) in the Casino and we watched Larry do a scene six times. He looked very serious.

Finally we decided on plan, we'd have some drinks and appetizers and then go to the new Playboy Club from 8 to 10 and then go see some mud wrestling at the New Frontier. Sounded like a great plan. We only got about half of it done though.

We were early to the Playboy club -- the first people there. It was by far the most awesome bar I have ever been to. Incredible view. Bunnies with tails were the dealers. They had a special designated "photo bunny" who posed with us for a picture. Bunny Sarah was her name.

I talked to the bartender and he said that the club wasn't about making money, it was just about having a cool place to go; for example, on new years eve, they stopped letting people after they had 300 because they didn't want it to be too crowded.

We talked about Holly and Kendra (just missed her -- she was here a couple of days ago) and Britney and Paris. Paris was apparently dancing on his bar about a month ago. Speaking of Paris, she had invited me to her birthday party at the Hard Rock last weekend but I couldn't make it. Rumor has it this is what I missed:

"Paris Hilton's birthday party on Saturday night featured a goat, a monkey, a naked woman on a bed of glass and the Kiss midget band. I think this exact scenario appears in the scripture passage about Armageddon."

The Kiss Midget Band! I love Paris.

Anyway, about the club. There were maybe 10 tables, one of which I think was a min 25 bet but the rest were 50 or 100 minimum bets, but you know what, no one was there to gamble. Everyone was just chillin out on the couches and talking to people. They were playing my favorite kind of music -- Modern Lounge as I think of it. Amy looked super hot in the outfit that she had chosen and I was wearing some nice dress clothes and we felt like we fit right in there.

We made some friends with a CEO and a VP and an architect and they bought us a couple of rounds of drinks while we talked with them for hours. That was my six and seventh drink I think so I was in the zone. I was probably making an ass of myself but at the time I felt pretty clever.

At 10 we left the club so we could go see (or partake?) in the all-comers mud-wrestling contest at the New Frontier, but on the way home we realized that we were, in fact, in no shape to go anywhere so we came back to the hotel and crashed.

Here's a random showgirl type. She must have been too short for the show so they made her take pictures with drunk tourists.


We needed serious time to recover after the playboy club. Apparently drinking free shots of something called "Bookers" is a good way to enter the Guiness Book of World Records, Hangover Edition. I worked from the room until four-ish again while Amy recuperated. I had a vision of how the evening should go but it had some contradictory elements -- cheap gambling in a downmarket casino but with a nice fancy dinner. Aha! This sounds like a job for Freemont street. We got all dressed up again and our concierge made reservations at the Binion's Steakhouse for us.

We arrived on Freemont street with some time to kill so we wandered around looking at the shops. We saw a shirt hanging outside a store that said, simply, "I LOVE TO FART". We tried to buy it but you had to get it silk screened. I wanted to buy Amy a Tshirt with the playboy bunny on it but we couldn't find a nice one.

Binion's Steakhouse is at the top floor of the famous Binion's casino (where the original world poker tournament was annually held until Texas Hold'em got all popular). The steakhouse was definitely old school -- very dark, lots of oak and leather and big juicy steaks. The steaks were decent enough, but AMY RECOMMENDED WE GET THE ESCARGOT for the appetizer. Ahh, a game of "Appetizer Chicken." I didn't flinch and we ordered them. They came in little cups of garlic butter. I pulled one out and it had an inch-long slime tail on it. I put the whole thing in my mouth and chewed it up, trying not to think of what the gritty stuff was. Amy had two and announced that the rest were mine. I ate the last two by carving the bread out of a roll and stuffing them in there with as much garlic butter as I could. It almost made a neat little snail hamburger.

After dinner we lost some money at a BJ table and then walked around outside.

That's when Amy noticed the _____ _____ and the ______ ____. "Are those what I think they are?" she asked. "Yeah, but I've never ____ in ______." I said. "Let's do it!" she said, so we did. For the next hour we ______ and I had a ______ and she had two. The first _______ was totally ________ but kinda _____ but the second one was _______ and much more ______." I remember Amy saying "You're ______s are insane!" and laughing. All of the _______ing made us totally _____ so we got in the car, sped back to the Aladdin and proceeded I proceeded to _________ her ____ before we ____ed like _____s. It was crazy.

Right after that Amy got sick. I told her that ____ing with me had that effect on women sometimes. She appears to have caught the cold that Casey and I had. So we just chilled out the rest of the night.

The last day we had lots of time to kill so we did the inevitable -- lunch at the Pink Taco at the Hard Rock. Of course, I had the sweet corn tamales. That is at least the fourth year in a row I've had that same experience. Still just as good. We also went back to hooters and bought some more stuff. A few hours later we hopped on board a very smooth MD-80 and we're back home again.

Not the most exciting trip in the world, but of course, the most interesting things that happened I can't really share here in this medium. Get me alone sometime and after a few drinks maybe I'll fill in the blanks.

Happy to be home again.

p.s. I heard some more things about the NBA all star aftermath. According to witnesses, the shooting at the Minx strip club was caused when the rapper Nelly came in and just started throwing thousands of dollars around in the air, literally. This caused people to scramble and fight for the money and that's when guns came out and two security personnel were critically injured.

And according to Sports Illustrated, one of the rapper's parties had a jeweler outside verifying that anyone coming through had REAL diamonds in their jewelry and not cubic zirconium. 100's were turned away. Fake breasts were okay though, just not fake jewelry.