September 21, 2006

Hike to Lake Malakwa with Nathan

Filed under: General — mmrobins @ 10:11 pm

Nathan was up for the day with his time off from the busy fire fighting season, so we ignored the rain and went for a hike. I did this a few weeks ago with Jake, but it looked much different in the rain. The stream we hiked up was a lot higher and it wasn’t really possible to keep your feet dry. I still jumped in the lake once we got there, but it was COLD! This is really a beautiful day hike. It may be my favorite in the Cascades so far.

It was good to see Nathan, even if for only a short time. I had no idea he was sporting a mohawk these days. I told him he should keep it for the rehearsal dinner, but probably shave it off before the wedding. He had a long drive ahead of him after the hike, all the way back to Central Oregon.

September 16, 2006


Filed under: General — mmrobins @ 1:27 pm

I’ve begun to treat my hypothroidism again instead of ignoring it. I made a post almost two years ago about hypthyroidism when I was first diagnosed, but after not liking the way the levothyroxine made me feel, I quit taking it and thought I would just exercise more or eat better. I think I’ve done both over the last few years. I eat much better thanks to Kim’s love of food and her new culinary abilities, and I’ve been more physically active than when I first began my job by biking to work, doing Aikido and most recently by training for a half marathon. After seeing next to no results in weight loss I did some more research, something I should have done years ago.

I ordered some books from Mary J Shomon, a patient advocate who has thyroid problems and writes about them. I heard about here from a nutritionist who after talking with me convinced me that some form of hormonal treatment may be necessary to achieve the health goals I have. After reading through Living Well with Hypothyroidism and What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Hypothyroidism by Ken Blanchard, it comfirmed the idea that I needed some medical help with this problem.

I don’t like taking pills, even multivitamins. Probably my main reason being that I don’t like having one more routine to do everyday, although I also believe that most things that people take pills for can be much better dealt with by changing diet, exercise or stress in your life. So I begin taking medication hesitantly and will keep an eye out for a more natural remedy. So far I’ve been taking it again for close to a month and don’t really notice much of anything different.

September 15, 2006

Two Weeks on Nothing but Linux at Home and Loving it

Filed under: Technology — mmrobins @ 10:31 pm

So far there’s nothing I really miss from Windows, thanks in large part to the help frum I haven’t dealt with finding a replacement for Microsoft Money yet and will have to soon. Gnucash sounds like it’ll work, but it really does look uglier than Money, not that it’s toooo important for a simple finance program.

I was really impressed that I was able to find a program called VueScan that supported my dimage scan dual iv so that I could scan all my photos. It seems to work even better than the program for windows that came with the scanner.

My only complaint so far is that FLAC files didn’t play on Amarok. I found an updated version of libxine on somebody’s web page that fixed it. I’m absolutely loving Amarok though. That’s easily the best music player I’ve ever used.

I’ve got a computer running Ubuntu at work now too. I’m slowly tring to move everything over there too, but it’s a lot harder when everything around you is Microsoft, from Active Directory to Exchange to Project.

First Moment of Lucidity!

Filed under: General — mmrobins @ 9:41 pm

I’ve been keeping up my dream log pretty well. There were a few nights that I didn’t get very much sleep and couldn’t remember any dreams. I’ve been state checking a ton in waking life, looking for wording that changes, asking if the people around me are people that really might be around me, and every so often I hop and see if I can start flying.

So far no luck flying in real life, but the other night I actually noticed that as I was walking I kind of floated along every few steps. Then it hit me! I was dreaming! I was so excited that I then immediately woke up. Very lame.

The next night the dream I was having right before I woke up had all sorts of dream signs in it but I just couldn’t recognize them well enough. I was hanging out with high school friends again, there was a guy at the side of the Burke Gilman trail trying to sell me a lucid dreaming kit, and I even started doing the float walk again. Each of these instances seemed a bit odd to me, and I don’t even remember how I rationalized them or if I did, but it didn’t hit me until my alarm clock woke me up that I was getting prime signals for lucid dreaming.

Definite progress. I can’t wait for more.

September 9, 2006

Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming

Filed under: General — mmrobins @ 12:45 pm

I’ve finally decided to get serious about this lucid dreaming thing and bought a book that seems to come highly recommended called “Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming” by Stephen LaBerge and Howard Rheingold. Stephen LaBerge has years of experience researching lucidity at Stanford, and started the Lucidity Institue, whose website seems to be the best resource for lucid dreaming on the internet, A lot of the book’s basic info is available on the website for free, but I only paid $2.50 for the book on since it’s old (1990), so it’s well worth having a something I can read in bed easily.

So far I’ve been keeping my dream journal up to date about a week and doing critical state testing the last couple days. That’s where I stop and ask myself if I am dreaming during the day to form the habit so that I’ll more likely do so while I’m dreaming. I sporadically have been writing my dreams for the last few years, but never this regularly. I’m remembering my dreams more easily and noticing when I wake up during the night, something that apparently happens quite regularly but we usually forget like dreams.

Besides the practical how-to aspect of lucid dreaming in the book, there’s a lot of other interesting information, psychology and philosphy. There’s also discussions of what lucid dreaming can possibly be used for with lots of step by step exercises. If anyone is curious about lucid dreaming or needs a good motivator to start learning, this book is a great inexpensive tool. I would definitely try this before buying any of those $50+ courses or gadgets for lucid dreaming you see on the internet. I’ll definitely update this post when I have my first lucid dream.

September 8, 2006

Why We Fight

Filed under: Culture — mmrobins @ 8:22 pm

The first half of Why We Fight I was kind of bored and wondered why I had heard so many good things. The preview made it look so provacative. It just seemed like a lot of talking heads going over the same things I already knew: the build up to the Iraq war was a lie, the military industrial complex is too powerful, we’re a violent nation, etc.

Then toward the middle of the end it started to really get my emotions. The storyline that started it off was the New York cop who put the name of his son who was killed in 9/11 on a bomb going to Iraq finding out that Iraq wasn’t connected with Al Qaeda. I don’t think even the best actors could have duplicated that feeling of betrayal that he exhibited. The movie just gets more powerful from there, and the facts presented get more interesting: how many targets we actually hit in the first days of the war (none), what our exit strategy for Iraq really was (there was none), where some of the ‘facts’ used to support the war came from (20 years ago).

Even having heard most of this film’s information before, it turned out to be an extremely worthwhile and well made movie. It reminded me how easy it is to forget about a love of and desire for peace when so many powerful forces are urging war. I need to remind myself never to be duped into thinking violence is justified again. The movie even does something that I didn’t think it would really try to do in the beginning, something that I thought it would leave as just a rhetorical question – try to explain why we fight. The answers provided will hopefully remind us all why we shouldn’t.

September 7, 2006

Fish Got Legs

Filed under: Culture — mmrobins @ 8:24 pm

One of my friends Preston has a new album out that I’ve been listening to. Its not the kind of music that I normally listen to, but I’m enjoying it. It’s not what I expected either, but in a good way. I’m intrigued by the idea of such an ambient music being tied to visual cues. I’m also intrigued by the title of one track, October the 16th. A song just for my birthday? Sounds like a good idea to me. Nice job Preston, hope there’s more music to come.

September 5, 2006

Jock and Jill Half Marathon

Filed under: General — mmrobins @ 6:34 pm

This is the blister I got from running a week
after the event. Healing nicely, eh?

I ran my first half marathon this weekend. It was the Super Jock n Jill Half Marathon in Woodinville WA. It feels great to just have done it, and I ran it a bit faster than I thought I would considering that I haven’t been training all that long. I think that’s in large part because most of my training has been running home from work, which is 7.5 miles almost all uphill, which goes a lot slower than this flat course. There’s a hill to run up and come back down between mile 6 and 10, but it’s mostly gradual. I was on pace to finish under 2 hours at mile 10, but I totally ran out of gas. 10 miles was already farther than I had ever run straight through before. The last 3 miles were HARD! I felt really dehydrated and there was only one water stop in those last 4 miles I think. I had no idea how fast I would finish, so I told Kim 2.5 hours and I ended up coming in at 2:10. I have one really big blister on my right foot and am sore, but feel great about the run otherwise and am considering doing more half marathons before I work up to a full marathon sometime next year.

September 3, 2006

Ubuntu 6.06

Filed under: Technology — mmrobins @ 10:51 pm

I’ve finally got linux working with wireless on my laptop with It still didn’t work straight off the install, and I’m wondering why Network Manager isn’t the default by now, but after installing that, and the correct drivers for my wireless card to use with ndiswrapper (type lspci in the terminal and look for you wireless hardware info then find the drivers at, I had a wireless connection that could do WPA authentication in more than one place easily. Phew.

There were a few other small road bumps. Almost everything can be fixed or figured out with the help of Sound for flash didn’t work, which was a problem for, but ubuntu guide had an entry for that. One of the first things you should do is run Automatix (there’s instructions for that on also), which automatically downloads a ton of proprietary software than can’t be included with the open source Ubuntu install like mp3 and other audio and video codecs, Acrobat PDF reader and more. I wanted a utility to tell me where my disk space was like Treesize does for Windows and found baobab in the Synaptic package listing.

I was excited to see Google has some of their apps on linux, because I love Picasa for organizing photos. Google Earth is cool even if I rarely use it. I was even able to get some Windows apps installed with wine. So far I’ve been using this linux distro for about a week and haven’t needed to boot back into Windows for anything except Yahoo Music Player so that I can stream those damned DRM’d music files.

If any of my friends or family read this and want to try installing Ubuntu let me know and I’ll help. In many ways it really is better and easier than Windows, the main downside is you have to learn a whole new system which makes it seem harder at first. I don’t belive Linux will really take off in the Desktop arena in the U.S. until it comes preloaded on more computers, but that IS beginning to happen. Even if people don’t take the time to run linux or other ‘free software‘, it’s well worth understanding the philosophy and ethics behind free software.