Memorial Day Weekend

I had an awesome 3 day weekend! I spent most of it in the White Mountain. Lots of hiking to be had by all. I was somewhat surprised that there weren't more people there. I was afraid it would be overcrowded, but it turned out to be fine.

This is a picture of what Eric looks like after hiking 4 miles up a mountain :)


Give Blood

It's that time again. I gave blood today so now it's your turn. Save a life and sign up on the Red Cross web site today!


A Quabbin Weekend

The weather this weekend was much better than last weekend. On Saturday morning three other geocachers and I teamed up for some serious geocaching action. Geocaching mobs make caching much easier (not to mention more fun) since the more eyes you have looking for the cache the faster you tend to find it.

Then on Saturday afternoon Eric and I went out to Quabbin Reservoir. This is the largest man made body of water used solely for drinking in the world. It provides drinking water for over half the residence of Massachusetts. To protect the water they've ringed this huge reservoir in parks and forests. There are so many trails and geocaches here I don't know if I'll ever do them all, but I'm certainly trying. I also spent most of Sunday at Quabbin.

Late Sunday afternoon a strong thunderstorm came through with 60 mph gusts and small hail. After it had passed I went out looking for downed trees to photograph. I ended up finding a downed tree that crushed a car, broke a house, and took out power to a few square miles of Worcester. When I got there were 5 police cars and a fire truck were on the scene. I just stood on the sidewalk and took some pictures.

Below are a few more pictures from the weekend.


Testing Flickr Blog Feature

Originally uploaded by imapix.

I'm just checking to see how the blog feature in Flickr works. Great picture isn't it!


Wet Trails

I got out to do a little geocaching when the rain turned to merely a drizzle. All I can say is that I wish the trails had been more trail and less river...

Good Quote

Last week Jack Cafferty on CNN asked the viewers to answer this question. "How will lawmakers' pet projects affect your vote in November?" Not only do I like my dad's answer to this question, but so did Jack because he read his response on national TV. It might be a little extreme, but many good quotes seem to error on the side of an extra superlative.

"My vote is simple and pork barrel spending has something to do with it. The longer our politicians stay in office the worse everything gets. Never Re-elect anyone!!"
-Maurice D. Ribble

The Rain is Driving Me Insane

I can't remember when I've been trapped inside so much on a weekend. It was probably around this time last year. I went outside for an hour yesterday and came back looking like a cold drowned rat. The good thing about all this rain for you guys is that I'm updating my blog more often.

I was trying to up with things to do inside today and what I came up with turned out to be tons of fun. I took my camera into my basement and turned off all the lights. I set my camera to take a really long exposure. I then drew on the wall with a laser pointer, and turned on my flashlight for a few seconds. While the pictures aren't super impressive, it sure was fun. Reminds me of when I drew on the wall with canyons when I was a little kid, except without the angry mom part.


Moving Portraits

As I mentioned in a previous post I've been spending some time on flickr which is that photo sharing website. My photos are linked on the right hand sidebar of this page.

The purpose of this post is to bring attention to Stoneth's pictures on flickr. This guy takes some moving photographs. All his photos are black and white portraits of homeless people he meets on the street in San Francisco. He includes a brief story about the person that he learns while talking with them. I've found he has many of my favorite photographs on flickr. If you want to check it out click here.

Here is an example of his work...

(homeless man with face markings, sf, 5/8/06)

homeless eric in soma. eric used to freight hop and had a circuit he would follow seasonally. about eight years ago, on his sf stop, he got hooked bad on heroin and thus got stuck.

he figures it's too much trouble trying to move on; he'd just get sick, and he wouldn't be able to put aside enough to hold him until the next fix. everything now is shooting up and hustling his next fix. so he stays.

he was in prison in new mexico some time before and has prison tattoos up and down his arms. he managed to get away with them except for an inch by inch section on his left arm; his last. that got him nine extra months.

he grew up in the foster system. his parents killed themselves when he was five (carbon monoxide asphyxiation). his mom was a hooker and his dad was a junky.

he agrees that was fucked up for a five year old but says everything's been fucked up like that.

Rain Rain Go Away

It has been raining here every day for the past week, and it's supposed to keep raining through the entire 10 day weather forecast. I don't mind getting a little wet, but it's also a little chilly so that makes it less fun. I'm hoping for a few small breaks in the rain this weekend that I can exploit. I'm not thinking there will be many breaks today though since they are predicting over 2 inches during the day :(

In other news I had my first softball scrimmage of the year this past week. Believe it or not it was raining so the field was a big mud pit. We decided to play anyways. I was the first batter of the game, and on the first pitch I hit a solid triple. I then did what must have been a 20 foot slide into third base and the mud went flying which distracted the third base woman enough that she missed the ball. I then scrambled home for my second homerun ever. After that it was just singles and outs for me. It was a blast.


Ramstions 3 - CTPAT

A few days ago my company told us that we could no longer receive personal packages at work. This is somewhat of an inconvenience to me since it means if I ever order anything that requires a signature I would have to go and pick it up from the nearest shipping center since I'll never be at home when they try to deliver the package. Initially I thought this was some bizarre decision that was made to save money. I went to explain to HR that this was a bad way to save a few bucks. What I found out annoyed me much more than a company trying to save money. The reason we could no longer receive personal packages had nothing with saving money and everything to do with the CTPAT. CTPAT stands for Custom Trade Partners Against Terrorism. Since my company is based in Canada and it is one of the top importers into the US it was forced to join this organization. Being part of this organization requires that you know what is being shipped, by whom, and who it is being delivered to. Basically this means no personal packages and a lot of extra paper work when I need to order something for work.

I'm no genius but I can't figure out for the life of me what this is supposed to accomplish, let along how it will stop terrorism. Why just because my company is based in Canada is it singled out? All I want to do is have a package from one place in the US delivered to my office in the US, but for some reason there now this huge ball of red tape in my way. I’ve tried to figure out what this has to do with terrorism and I can’t reason it out. Sometimes you just wonder what the heck our government is thinking...


Greylock Mountain

I had a great weekend, even though everything didn't go exactly as planned. I went up to Greylock Mountain (tallest mountain in Massachusetts) early Saturday morning and was planning to camp out there Saturday night. When I got there I found the mountain doesn't open until May 15th which meant I couldn't camp there. Not to be discouraged I had a great time hiking up the mountain and got a few good pictures to boot. I also found I enjoy the mountain more when it's closed. You see besides the trails there is also a road up to the top of the mountain so normally the mountain is pretty busy with people driving up. When the mountain is closed the only way up is to hike and the mountain isn't nearly as crowded. I'm not exactly sure how far I hiked, but it was probably something between 15 and 20 miles. When I got back to my car in the early evening my certainly had that good kind of hurt going on.

I decided to see if I could find an open campground the nearby Monroe State forest, but those campgrounds were also closed. I got some great pictures here. I included two different shots of the same waterfall. One has a long exposure time (2 seconds) which gives the water is blurry feel. The other exposure is much shorter (1/500 second) and freezes the water's motion. Personally I like the first one a little more.

After failing at finding a campground I drove home after sunset. I had a great time and will be back once camping season starts. I'll probably also remember to check to make sure the campgrounds are open before I try to going next year (or at least use the internet to find one that is open).


First Mosquito of the Year

I got my first mosquito bite of the year today. I went for a quick hike out in a swap and sure enough the only mosquito I saw bit me. It didn’t really bother me since one mosquito bite is nothing to me (luckily mosquito bites rarely make me itch). I can remember some days I spent out in Glacier National Park hiking in early summer. My lordy there are some viscous mosquitoes out there. The size of elk if my memory serves me correctly. And the herds of these elk sized mosquitoes would get so thick they'd start to block out the sun. That was always a good indication that it was time to hike a little faster.

I got this great picture while I was out hiking. While I was rotating it to get it straight on my computer I got confused for a little while and couldn’t figure out which way was up.


First Aid Training and then an Emergency

A few months ago I volunteered to be my group's safety emergency contact at work. I was told I'd need to go to a safety meeting once a year and I thought that it would be some half hour long meeting. It turns out that safety meeting is a day long class put on by Red Cross, which I attended today. While I didn't expect to need to spend this much time on it, I had volunteered so I couldn't back out now. It turned out to be not that terrible, and by the end of the day I was certified in first aid, cpr, and defib. Defib was the coolest by far since I got to play with one of those defibulaters that you always see doctors shocking people with on TV. I wanted to see how much it hurt (kind of like I always want to see how much that electric fence hurts), but they had it in demonstration mode so it wouldn't shock me. Even if it wasn't in demo mode I still couldn't get a shock because the way they work now days is they only allow you to push the shock button if they detect an irregular heart beat. Where is the fun in that?

Anyways the really crazy thing is on my way home just as I was pull into my condo complex there was a car parked in the middle of the road and there was dude with a bloody face sitting on the sidewalk. It turns out he was hit by the car and the guy who hit him was in the process of calling 911. I got to practice all the questions I had just learned to make sure he wasn't in shock and that everything was ok. Luckily he was doing fine and I expect he will only need a few stitches. I left once the ambulance arrived. While this might not be the biggest coincidence I have ever experience it is certainly near the top of my list.


Bonsai Potato

My sister got me a Bonsai Potato kit for Xmas. After reading the first paragraph I knew this was just the gift for me.

"Are you the type of person who longs for patience and tranquility in your life? Of course you are, but in our modern society who has the time? Now it's possible. With the items contained in this kit you can quickly and efficiently reach an inner peace that can take monks an entire lifetime to achieve."

This is just what I needed. I am one of those people who rarely puts off until tomorrow what I can do today. So why should I be putting off lifetime achievements until the end of my life? The answer is I shouldn't be. So I swiftly set into action this plan to build patience and tranquility. I must say I was quite disappointed. Not in the fact that it didn't bring me patience or tranquility. It certainly taught me those things. I'm disappointed that it took me 4 months to achieve this patience. I never knew patience could take so long.

Anyways I'm sure you're running out of patience yourself while reading this since you haven't grown your own potato bonsai yet. Perhaps you should since as that potato bonsai grows so will your patience.