Friday, June 30, 2006

Put On The Joe

Study says people who drink coffee are more persuadable...

Friday, June 23, 2006

Giving Up

I've tried over the years to be hopeful about soccer in America. But when you lose to Ghana, well, is there really any hope?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Curse and Karma

Fishing last Saturday was fun, but not epic. Plus, we are pretty sure that float is cursed. As you'll recall from below, we had some issues with our keys and the shuttle of the cars. Well, something happened AGAIN this time as well.

First, quick fishing report: slow. We boated about a dozen fish in about 6-7 hours of fishing. Weather was OK, sunny and partly cloudy, but the winds kicked up a little and were annoying.

So, here is why it is cursed: We were joined on the trip by a couple friends, a husband and wife fly fishing team. They paid $100 (highway robbery...) to have their car shuttled from the put in to the take out and arrived Saturday morning in time to go. (We went Friday night and shuttled our cars ourselves). When we got to the take out at about 7p, their car wasn't there. So we checked further down the road and nothing.

We squeezed the wife into our rig and left the husband at the take out with his boat. When we finally got to cell range she called the shuttle service. They insisted the car was moved. Long story short, they shuttled the car to the WRONG TAKE OUT. Not only was it on the WRONG side of the river, it was only 10 miles downstream instead of 18!

Fortunately, my friend Jason offered to take her to find her car. I spoke with the shuttle service to try and determine exactly where it was. The guy was clear: just head down Base Line Road to the river.

Jason dropped the rest of us off at the put in where our cars were at 9:45p and he left with the wife. We headed home. At midnight, while we were driving home, I called him to see where they were. They still hadn't gotten back to the take out because the instructions the guy gave me to the car were WRONG. The road he said to take was closed before you got to the river. Luckily, they were able to get to cell range again and call the shuttle service. They connected with someone else who gave them the correct road to take.

Finally, about 1:30A they'd loaded the boat and were heading home. I set my alarm for 2A and got up to call and see where Jason was. He got home at 4AM. The husband and wife decided to try to find a place to stay in a local town, but everything was booked up. So they slept in the back of their truck in a parking lot.

Now the karma has been repayed. Jason was able to help someone and return the favor of the nice old fisherman who loaned us their truck two years ago.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Two Songs for $19

Only a music fanatic will appreciate this: I spent $18.99 for two songs on Tuesday. My wife will probably cringe when she reads this. Here's the deal:

One of my favorite all time bands is the Replacements. We're talking top two favorite bands, with the other one of the two alternating depending on the mood. So, basically my favorite band. Well, the boys broke up 15 years ago, but this week released a 20 song "Best of" CD spanning their entire career, entitled "Don't You Know Who I Think I Was?"

Of course, being a FAN I have 18 of the 20 songs already, but par for the course they put two new songs on the CD. And they are legitimately new songs, recorded earlier this year with three of the four original members (they couldn't figure out how to include Bob Stinson on guitar since he's been dead for 11 years...)

So I had to have it. Checked iTunes, but of course it isn't up there and why would they let die hards like me off the hook as it is? I bought it. And if was worth it. Both songs, particularly the first song "Message to the Boys", rock like 1989.

The rest of the CD is great as well. They picked a pretty good selection to represent their career. If you aren't a Replacements fan (the 'Mats to hardcore fans), well why not? Pick up this CD and see why so many young Alt/Punk/Grunge whatever name you choose bands mention the Replacements as influences, from Green Day, to Nirvana, to Wilco, to the Goo Goo Dolls.

And listen for Message to the Boys. Hopefully, stations will pick it up and play it, because it seriously fits in today yet still sounds like vintage 'Mats.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Central Oregon Smallies

Heading to the John Day to fly fish for smallmouth bass on Saturday. Annual Father's Day weekend ritual. Here's the top effort from two years ago, a great day on the river. Sank over at Old and In The Way (link to right) wrote about taking a guy fishing who was amazed at bass smashing lures at the surface. The big, green, foam, froggy looking popper I caught this guy on made a big splashy presence before he SLAMMED it.

And check out my big, straw, $5.00 sun hat.

Now, here is the REAL story about that trip. I originally posted this two years ago on a fly fishing board and pasted it below for your enjoyment. It has become one of our favorite stories. Blue Stimmy is the chat board name for my fishing buddy Jason, who I am going with this weekend. The fish above was the last fish caught.


Blue Stimmy and I had a great, and quite eventful, weekend floating the John Day on Saturday from Cottonwood Bridge to Rock Creek. This was our second annual Father's Day Float and if we can eliminate our goof-ups, next year will be even better...Let me explain:

We were set to meet at 5pm at Cottonwood Bridge to drop off the drift boat and two pontoon boats (a couple buddies were joining us) and then shuttle the rig to the take out. Due to the wonders of Portland-area traffic, I didn't arrive until 6:30, putting us 90 minutes behind from the get go. Our hope was to float 2-3 miles Friday night and camp.

Since we were running behind and trying to make up a little time, I suggested we check on the take out on the WEST side of the John Day across from Rock Creek. It was much closer in terms of drive time, but actual access was unknown. Chalk up mistake #1. We got there and private land prevents access. We quickly headed back to Cottonwood Bridge and told our buddies we were heading up to the eastside take out. We left at 7:45p.

The drive to the put out is 60-70 minutes each way, depending on whether you take the "Gilliam County Scenic Route" (i.e. gravel roads through farmland) or stick mostly to the highways (longer in terms of miles and time, but you can drive faster & safer). At the put out we met a couple of nice fisherman camping there and bank fishing. They got a kick out of our first goof-up and we promised to see them the next night when we finished.

We rolled back into Cottonwood Bridge at 10:15p and decided floating in the dark wasn't a great idea, so we pitched tents in the parking lot.

Fishing on Saturday was tremendous! Of the seven hours we were on the river I fished about 3.5 hours and caught between 60-70 fish. (We alternate rowing and I took a 90 minute turn in one of the pontoon boats to give someone else a turn in the boat). Finally at about 4p I said I was done for the day and Blue Stimmy and I decided to just leisurely float to the take out, which was about another 2 miles according to the GPS.

Blue Stimmy broke the joy of the leisurely float about five minutes later...


"What?" I replied.

"I think I left my keys in your rig back at Cottonwood," he said. Mistake #2.

Now it is important to know that Blue Stimmy is Type A++, he simply doesn't make mistakes like that. I, on the other hand, am as about as far from Type A as you can get. I WOULD make that mistake, or the mistake of suggesting we try the westside take out Friday night. (Which I'll own up to.)

We rummaged through everything in the boat but to no avail. The keys were in fact 16 miles upriver.

"I put them in my backpack with my clothes, because we were supposed to float down last night and camp," he explained. "Then this morning you pointed out that we didn't have to worry about all the camping gear in the boat, so I just moved it into your car."

We immediately turned the boat and rowed as fast as we could to the Rock Creek take out, praying the whole way that the two camping fisherman were still there AND that they would be willing to either drive us (two hours plus roundtrip) to Cottonwood Bridge or let two strangers borrow their truck.

We rolled into Rock Creek about 5p. and Blue Stimmy broke the bad news to the fishermen we'd met for only 5 minutes the night before. We had no keys. We needed help getting back to Cottonwood.

The answer came without hesitation:

"Well, I don't want to take the time to drive you," one of them said. "But you can borrow my truck."

Oh, my. SWEET RELIEF. Someone was willing to loan their 2003 Dodge truck to two complete strangers. Of course we were leaving a drift boat, Chevy Trailblazer, trailer, fishing gear and two buddies who hadn't yet arrived, behind as collateral.

Yeah, that's right. Our two buddies in the pontoon boats had NO IDEA what was going on. They were far enough behind us that we hadn't told them. They would arrive an hour later to find our boat, but no us.

We offered the fisherman $50 and he said to put it in his tank, he was down to a 1/4 tank. (Clearly not enough to get to Cottonwood and back and leave him with anything to get home). So we blazed out of there, trying to get to Condon before the gas station closed.

Now, there are two gas stations in Condon, a Shell and a Texaco, and they are right across the street from each other. The Texaco looked deserted so we hit the Shell. It was closed. I ran across the street to the grocery store to see if they could help me track down either owner. The nice lady working the counter looked up the name of the Texaco owner and called. Turns out the husband was still at the station, we just had to knock on the back door (if his blue car was still out back.)

We pulled around back just as the blue car was pulling out! We started honking and waved him down. This older gentleman was baffled by our predicament (OK, well, so were we...), but once he saw the size of the truck and most likely computed how much gas we'd be getting, he agreed to open the station back up and fill 'er up. We also asked if he would be willing to either wait or come back in 45 minutes to fill up my rig, which we were getting at Cottonwood. Yeah, I had enough gas to get back to Biggs from Cottonwood, which was the way things were supposed to be, but I wasn't so sure about the extra 60 miles I now had to drive.

No luck. He wouldn't do it. We'd have to roll the dice and hope we made it.

The return trip from Cottonwood to Rock Creek was hot and sweaty for me, since I'd rolled the windows up to reduce drag and left the AC off in an attempt to conserve gas. The gauge on my Jeep Grand Cherokee that estimates the remaining distance you can drive on a tank of gas slowly ticked down.

When we got back to Rock Creek we met our buddies, who had spent the last 90 minutes drinkin' beers, sippin' whiskey and jaw-jacking with the two fisherman who bailed us out. The mistake definitely hadn't put a damper on their trip!

So we finally headed home. Two-plus hours behind schedule, short of gas in one rig, and experts on the backroads and geography of Gilliam County. I coasted into Biggs Junction with my "miles to empty" gauge reading 00 for the last 5 miles.

Lessons learned? Oh, hell yes. Normal fishing trip turned into crazy-ass fishing story? You bet. In fact, half the time I think one of the main reasons I fish is to see places I'd never normally see, meet people (GREAT people) I'd never normally meet, and add one more wonderful chapter to the story of my life.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


This was always used as a drinking game at my fraternity in college, and I have some friends that used to use it to settle who had to change a poopy diaper. Nice to see juris prudence is following suit:

Judge makes 'Rock, paper, scissors' ruling

Fri Jun 9, 7:56 AM ET, Associated Press

A federal judge, miffed at the inability of opposing attorneys to agree on even the slightest details of a lawsuit, ordered them to settle their latest dispute with a game of "rock, paper, scissors."

The argument was over a location to take the sworn statement of a witness in an insurance lawsuit.

In an order signed Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell scolded both sides and ordered them to meet at a neutral location at 4 p.m. June 30 to play a round of the hand-gesture game often used to settle childhood disputes. If they can't agree on the neutral location, he said, they'll play on the steps of the federal courthouse.

The winner gets to choose the location for the witness statement.

"We're going to have to do it," said David Pettinato, lead attorney for the plaintiff, Avista Management. "I guess I'd better bone up on 'rock, paper, scissors' rules."

Last year, officials of the auction houses Christie's and Sotheby's engaged in the game to decide who would get to sell a $17.8 million collection of art offered by a Japanese electronics company. Christie's won.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Field of Dreams

Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, on watching a game at Dodger Stadium:

"After enough beers in this place, you have trouble remembering if it's 2006 or 1979. It's an old-school ballpark, creaky and sprawling, perfectly placed in the hills on the outskirts of the city, one of those Lambeau-like venues that can take your breath away on the right night. I always judge baseball stadiums on that moment after you enter the park, when you're walking by the concession stands toward your section, and then you find it, and then you're outside, and the light hits you, and suddenly there it is -- the whole ballpark, in all its glory -- and either you get a rush or you don't.

Fenway gives me a rush every time. I have seen it from every angle, in every possible situation, and it still does it for me. It's a piece of art, a Picasso painting of a stadium. For different reasons, Yankee Stadium gives me a similar feeling -- a sense that something important is about to happen, a sense of history, a sense of something. Same for Dodger Stadium. Glance into the right-field bleachers and you can almost imagine the Gibson homer landing there. Glance past the center-field scoreboard during sunset and you can see the green hills melting into the darker sky, with nothing surrounding the stadium for miles and miles, almost like the real-life "Field of Dreams." What a place to see a ball game. Everyone should go there once."

He wrote about going to the Mets/Dodgers game last night, which featured Pedro v. Lowe, two former Red Sox, as well as other members of Red Sox West (Dodgers), manager Grady Little and No-Mah.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Pass the Lemonade

The Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) recently defeated an attempt by their Department of Labor and Industries to institute new rules related to hot weather and heat stress for those working outside. The rule would have fined businesses that between June 1 and September 30 of each year did not:

1. Provide one quart of water per hour for every worker;
2. Provide or construct a source of shade or cooling for workers; and
3. Allow workers to take unlimited cooling off periods during work.

"Um, sorry boss, I haven't finished cooling off yet. Pass me the lemonade."

The kicker is that the Labor and Industries own data showed that only three one-thousandths of one percent (.003%) of all industrial insurance claims over the last ten years were heat stress related.

Based on the BIAW's recommendation, the department will provide additional education materials to employers and workers about heat related injuries instead.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Big Screen

Big week, saw two movies. And one was actually NOT animated. There was a time in my life where I saw everything that came out. Of course, getting into movies free as a perk for working at a movie theater through grad school was worth more than the $6.50 per hour. I worked one night a week and maximized the "hours worked to free movies viewed" ratio.

So, two quick reviews:

Da Vinci Code

Wife and I saw this on Sunday. I'd read the book about a year ago, she just this spring, so I kept leaning over and asking questions. An OK movie as far as mystery/thrillers go. But much like the book, nothing any more special than, say, a Grisham or Clancy novel. SPOILER ALERT: One thing we both noted was that they made the main character (Tom Hanks's role) much more of a skeptic in the movie than in the book. He was a true believer in the book, but in the film wasn't, at least until the end. Not sure if this was done to soften some of the "controversy" surrounding the story or to make the screenplay work. Other minor changes, mostly to make it work as a movie. A solid 'B' from me.

Over The Hedge

Wife took off for a weekend with the ladies, so of course that means dad's night out with the daughters! Took them to see Over the Hedge and we had a great time. Star studded voice talent, really good animation, and music from Ben Folds! The best part for me was one of the main human characters, a woman who is just terrorized by these animals. What makes her so well written is that she is the PERFECT head of her home owners association. Man, these writers NAILED everything that makes home owners associations annoying as hell.

And, yeah, right now I am waiting for the so-called "Architecture Review Committee" of my HOA to approve the landscaping plan for my front yard, despite the fact that it was designed and will be installed by one of the top firms in the area. No, see, I need a bunch of my neighbors with time on their hands and ZERO expertise in landscape design deciding what I can do with MY front yard. (Oh, was that my out loud voice?)

Ben Folds has four songs, two new ones, a rewrite of "Rockin' the Suburbs" and a cover of the Clash's "Lost in the Supermarket." Good times, gotta go download from iTunes.

Oh, and stay through the credits.

Film: A-
Music: A+