August 27, 2004

Shopping for a House

Filed under: General — @ 12:48 pm

Kim and I have been diligently house shopping the last week. We’ve visited three lenders to get preapproved and get an idea how much we qualify for, and now we’re meeting real estate agents to look at houses. It’s both a daunting and exciting task. We’re actually finding some things that we think we’ll like in our price range. We’re not ready to start making offers yet since we haven’t finalized our decision on an agent, but it could happen in the next few weeks.

We’re using a wonderful referral/consulting service that I found out about while taking real estate classes at the UW. The teacher of those classes, Jim Stacey, provides the names of reliable agents and advice through every step of the home buying process. So far it’s a wonderful service. Our biggest problem is that the agents that Jim and his wife Mel recommend are all so good that we have trouble choosing between them. It takes a lot of the stress out of the whole process because you’re a lot more confident that you aren’t making bad decisions.

August 24, 2004

Just So You know, I Have a Guestbook, Please Sign

Filed under: General — @ 9:36 pm

It’s great that people have been posting comments and signing the guestbook. I’ve received a lot of positive response since I sent out an e-mail to my friends and family letting them know about my blog. I just wanted to let people know that the guestbook in the top right corner is a good way to leave a comment if you don’t want to comment on a specific entry. My former Spanish roommate Eli has already posted a hello! I’m jealous that her English is looking so much better than my Spanish. What a great way to keep in touch with old friends.

August 19, 2004

Henry David Thoreau">If You Give Money, Spend Yourself With It – Henry David Thoreau

Filed under: General — @ 9:07 pm

The fact that I’m now making some money and the current embarrassment that is the presidency have made me decide to donate some money to charitable causes. See? Bush isn’t all bad if he can get people to take interest in our society despite the fact that he wants to attack America, can’t beat a box of tic-tacs in a poll, and mangles the English language worse than any president in history. If you start taking his lying, policies favoring the wealthy, disregard for the environment, and utter lack of diplomacy into account it’s a different story, but that’s a different story.

I decided on four worthy organizations to donate money to. Two of these I would recommend that everyone join, the Sierra Club and the American Civil Liberties Union, one that every rock climber should become a member of, the Access Fund, and one that any internet user should support in addition to the ACLU, the Electronic Freedom Foundation.

The greatest benefit of donating to these organization has not been just some warm fuzzy feeling, rather it has been the wealth of information that they provide me. I initially donated money to these organizations with a very elementary understanding of their causes, but through newsletters, e-mail, and meetings I feel that I am very well informed on issues that affect my day to day life and freedom. You might think that the news would educate people about such important issues as our civil rights and the environment, but this is becoming increasingly untrue as the media becomes more homogenized, sensationalized and corporate censored.

The cost of joining most of these organizations is around $20 and is well worth it for the info, plus that warm fuzzy feeling. So inform yourself and donate to a good cause while you’re at it.

I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.
Thomas Jefferson Primary author of the Declcaration of Independence, 3rd President

August 15, 2004

Mariners Win Yankees Lose

Filed under: General — @ 10:23 pm

My parents came to Seattle this weekend to see the Mariner game. They picked a good game to see. The Mariners were up to their usual shinanigans of leaving runners stranded most innings, commiting offensive and defensive errors and completely relying on Ichiro to provide defense and offense. Then in the bottom of the 7th they managed to score 6 runs to seal the game.

My parents showed off their new Subaru Outback. Our whole family owns Subarus now. They’re just such great cars, especially if you like to get out of the city. After dropping off my mail and some gifts from Aunt Sue, the parents left right after the game since they had a long drive home and it was already late afternoon.

August 10, 2004

Summertime and the Livin’s Easy

Filed under: General — @ 11:06 pm

Working 40 hours a week during the summer kills me. I’m seriously considering teaching just to get summers off because it’s just too nice outside to be in an office. Being independently wealthy would be another option for having summers off, another option that I’m seriously considering.

So today I took some time off work to go climbing and swimming with Brian. He’s a little more committed than I am in that he went into work at 6 am so that he could get off early. I’d much rather work late some other day to make up for it. I left work at 3 pm, picked Brian up and we headed for exit 38 on I-90.

If you take exit 38, turn right at the end of the ramp and keep driving until you pass under the freeway again you’ll find a dirt parking lot and a gate that I think the forest service maintains. Walk in a little ways and there’s a bridge over a nice stream that you can jump off of. Underneath is a rope swing. We jumped off the bridge and swam around a little before heading up the trails to go climbing.

I led three climbs on this trip, the most leading I’ve done in an outing. I took my first lead fall today! It wasn’t bad at all. I was only a few feet above a bolt trying to find a way to pull myself over a bulge. Falling did unnerve me a little anyway and I led the rest of the route slowly. I fell on a 5.9 but led a 5.10- right after that. I’m pretty pleased that I’m leading close to the level that I’m comfortable climbing at on top rope. Leading harder routes is a whole different aspect of climbing. It feels quite a bit different from just top roping the same route. There’s a lot more to consider so there’s a lot more thinking involved.

We decided to hike back before it got dark, especially since Brian is going to be going out climbing with people the next two afternoons and doesn’t want to overdo it. We stopped by the rope swing for one more quick dip and then drove home. Days like this with beautiful weather, sun, mountains, trees, streams and climbing seem so wasted in an office. Being out in nature renews something inside me. I feel a cheesy but appropriate quote coming on…

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like falling leaves. John Muir Sierra Club Founder

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

August 8, 2004

Eine Klein Laura

Filed under: General — @ 9:39 pm

Kim and I spent the weekend visiting an old friend of mine from back in Newport. I should still be too young to say old friend but we realized this weekend that we’ve known each other for close to two decades now. The last time I saw Laura was in Spain more than two years ago. It doesn’t feel that long and neither of even realized it had been that long until we saw each other again and got to talking.

Kim and I drove up Saturday morning from Seattle to Laura’s current residence south of Bellingham in an unfinished house with a wonderfully crazy Scottish man named Scotty. Yes, Scotty the Scott.
Scotty is an interesting character who is very friendly, very social, very talkative and will very willingly talk to you for as long as you’re willing to listen if not longer. After some brief introductions we took off for some climbing near Anacortes.

We took a few wrong turns but found Mt Eerie and started wandering around the summit looking for climbing. We mostly setup top ropes on fairly easy routes since Laura claimed that she had only been climbing a few times, but it was soon obvious that she climbed too well for the level at which we were climbing. We hiked down the power lines and found some more challenging routes. I led a route and then set up an anchor that gave us access to two other more difficult routes. Laura climbed what was probably a challenging 5.9 and Kim tackled a difficult 5.10 pincher router that I was never able to do. The first time I tried it I traversed over to do the 5.9. I was going to call it a day and forget the route but I had to go back up and clean the gear. While attempting the route a second time the sole of my shoe tore on a small ornery toe hold. I was pissed! Oh well, I guess they needed to be resoled.

None of us had eaten lunch so we feasted at a Mexican restaurant. Returning home we found Scotty with a bottle of wine watching Alien. After Kim recovered from the dizziness that 2 glasses of Sangria had given her, we passed out.

The next day we ate Mac and Cheese for breakfast since it was was all Laura had for food. Scotty chatted about plants, the economy, the weather, animals and many other subjects before we escaped to meet up with Laura’s friend Steve to go sailing.
We took out what I believe was a twenty foot boat out on the lake for some perfect sailing weather. Kim and I learned about booms, jibs, jibes, tacks, lines and all those other fun sailing terms. Arrrrgh! What has eight arms and eight legs? Eight pirates. Steve and Laura were both great teachers.

We had beer and pizza back in Bellingham and got to know Steve better. Steve and Laura are dating even though Laura seems to have a hard time admitting it. Steve is from Pennsylvania and has been traveling around with Laura on her random adventures the last few years. After some ice cream we said our goodbyes and Kim and I drove back to Seattle.

August 6, 2004

This one goes out to all my homies

Filed under: General — @ 4:17 pm

I figure that I’ll try this out and see how it goes. I’ve written for myself before, but never for myself and for other people. It’s an interesting concept to me that I could ramble about whatever I want and friends and family would take the time to go read it. It seems a little vulnerable to post things and have them out there for everyone to look at. Oh well. I suppose the main reason for doing this is that people always tell me that they want narration to go along with all the pictures that I post, which I can understand. So I’m joining the bloggin world, look out, here I come.