Thursday, December 28, 2006

My Linguistic Profile

Tony has so many fun ideas for posts.... This one determines my linguistic profile - the derivation of my own particular English. Now given that I grew up in the midwest but I've also lived in Massachusetts and California before Washington state, the results are not that unexpected.

Your Linguistic Profile:
60% General American English
15% Upper Midwestern
15% Yankee
5% Dixie
0% Midwestern

I am Mal

Tony did this web survey to see which character from Serenity (or Firefly) he was the most like and, being a sucker for such things, I took the same survey. I came back as Captain Mal Reynolds though I was very close to being Kaylee - just like Tony was.

You scored as Capt. Mal Reynolds. The Captain. You are the captain of the ship, so the crew are your responsibility. You just want to do the job, get paid and keep flying. Why is that always so hard?

Capt. Mal Reynolds


Kaylee (Kaywinnet Lee) Frye


The Operative


Simon Tam


Shepherd Derrial Book


Zoe Alleyne Washburne


Inara Serra


Jayne Cobb


Hoban 'Wash' Washburne


River Tam


Which Serenity character are you?
created with

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Back from Boarding in Whistler

We spent Christmas in Whistler this year. The snow was absolutely amazing - lots of new powder and when you're learning to snowboard, like I am, that is just perfect. We drove up on Thursday and took a day to just relax on Friday but on Saturday I went for a snowboard lesson.

I signed up for the Super Group lesson where you will have at most 3 people in your group and lucked into a effectively private lesson as there was no one else at the same level I was (I could turn in each direction but have little real practice doing much more than that). The lesson was one of the kookiest lessons I've had. We started with the standard "take a few runs and show me what you've got" bit. The instructor noticed that my board might not be set up right for me so we took a break and he repositioned the bindings and it was much better after that. A few more runs in, we went from Blackcomb to Whistler but rather than boarding into the village (which we did later), we took the bus over. While spent the bus ride practicing the turns by standing in the back and "riding" the bus. As it made hard turns, we were up on our toes or heels trying to get the same feel. Not the same feel, of course, but a good little drill along the way. After lunch, we headed to the top of a hill and did a bit of tai chi to shake off the post-lunch food coma. By the end of the day, I was turning and making it down the Olympic run pretty smoothly.

The snowboarders I know always tell me how crappy green runs are for snowboarders because they tend to the be the snowcat tracks. I thought it was just because they liked going faster but it turns out it is because it is really hard to both keep an edge and keep going straight on those narrow tracks. Particularly with all of the little grooves made by skiers. It is way too easy to catch the bad edge and go down as I learned by doing just that several times. I guess I'd better just get better soon and head for the blue runs instead.

The next day I did more of that in about 8 inches of new powder while Kate and Zach zipped down on skis and Leslie took her snowboard lesson. Man that was fun! As the soreness fades, I'm already itching to get back up there.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

That Was a Hell of a Thing

Last Thursday night we had one heck of a windstorm. Apparently, the winds hit nearly 100 MPH out on the coast though gusts here topped out around 60 MPH. That was more than enough to wreak havoc on the whole Puget Sound area. After a few brownouts early in the evening, we finally lost power around 8PM. Leslie and I went to the living room to look at some of the trees and they were swaying wildly. It wasn't long before we realized how stupid it was to be next to a window with all of this going on so we headed to bed. Around midnight the storm was really going full force and the big window in our bedroom was groaning during the big gusts.

In the morning, our power was still out and we headed out to see the damage. We were insanely lucky in that nothing was damaged at our house. No trees in our yard, no broken windows, just a very dark house. Others were not so lucky. The road towards town was closed when a tree fell across the road, bringing down power lines and a utility pole along with it. In fact, there were huge trees down all over the place making it very hard to get around.

This picture was taken about a mile from our house on one of the main roads with the giant tree being held up only by the power lines. Driving under that was a bit nerve wracking.

The Sahalee neighborhood near our house was particularly hard hit. Sahalee is a gated community but with the power out, they had to open the gates which let riff raff like us drive through. Truth be told, it was the only way we could get home with so many other roads closed due to fallen trees. As we drove through, we saw a house with a tree in its living room - not unusual at this time of season but given that it came in through the window and was over 100 feet tall this was no standard Christmas tree.

As you can imagine, there was debris all over the golf course, though in this shot, you can't see any of the trees down. Just some stumps where they used to be.

We finally got our power back late Sunday morning. Leslie and I were just arriving at the local bagel shop when Zach called to say the power was back on. We did a little "we got power!" dance and others in the store clapped for us. Some people are still without power nearly a week after the storm and may still be in the dark for some time to come. While most things are back to normal, we still don't have cable TV. Apparently the storm knocked out the cable company's receiving gear because our internet connection still works fine but we don't get any TV channels. Oh well - I'll take electricity over cable TV any day of the week.

One interesting side effect of the storm was that a lot of people were using their fireplaces for heat and so the air became very smoky and hard to breathe. It did make for some nice sunrises though.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Blackout Lightsabers at the Ready

There's a big storm coming in tonight. We're expecting wind gusts of up to 65 MPH. When that happens, we always lose power so I checked to make sure our blackout lightsabers are ready.

You'd be amazed at how well these things light up a room when the power is out - and they have a cool sound!