Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Two Hands on Facebook

I've been having fun getting a Facebook page going for Two Hands Wines. Now we just need to get the word out that it's a great source for interesting and entertaining content. Post a link!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Yankees

My feelings about all the cash the Yanks are throwing around? "Whatever." I hardly pay attention to baseball anymore. Honestly, it fairly bores me. I haven't sat down and watched a whole game in ... I don't know how many years. Is it the money that has turned me off? I guess that's a factor, in the sense that it confirms that baseball has mostly become just another entertainment. And I don't sit for three-hour shows of any variety. I am amazed that so many people are willing to see their tax dollars go to support the billionaire owners who pay millionaire salaries. All those stadiums (stadia, yeah, sure, whatever). And I'm amazed that so many people are willing and able to pay the ticket prices that help finance the salaries. As for the players, I certainly don't expect them to turn down big money. But I can't help but marvel at how consistently they will choose, say, $14.4 million a year over $13.7 million a year. The biggest number seems to win 99 percent of the time, even when the runner-up number is beyond even many a Wall Street banker's dreams. In many ways, these days, that's baseball.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Did You Hear About that New Triathlon Blog?

Off to a roarin' start.

PDX Snow Data

Courtesy the KPTV Weather Blog, posted there by Steve Pierce, who got the info from Clinton Rockey at the NWS:

1" on the 14th
1" on the 18th
1/2" on the 19th
7" on the 20th
2" today (as of 6pm)
PDX December 2008 snowfall total as of 6pm Sunday Dec 21st = 11.5"

Historical notes ---

* The largest December snowfall total since December 1968.
* The 4th largest seasonal snowfall total in 30 years, falling behind the winters of 2003/2004, 1992/1993 and 1979/1980.

Historical Seasonal Snowfall Totals at PDX -

1978-79 8.4
1979-80 12.4
1980-81 0
1981-82 4.1
1982-83 0
1983-84 2.4
1984-85 7.6
1985-86 10.8
1986-87 0.1
1987-88 3.5
1988-89 3.2
1989-90 8.3
Decade Average (in.) 4.0

1990-91 1.9
1991-92 0
1992-93 14.1
1993-94 2.6
1994-95 5.4
1995-96 6.2
1996-97 0
1997-98 8.2
1998-99 2
1999-00 1
Decade Average (in.) 4.1

2000-01 0.1
2001-02 0.6
2002-03 0
2003-04 12.3
2004-05 0
2005-06 1.9
2006-07 3.5
2007-08 0
2008-09 11.5
Decade Average (in.) 3.3

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thursday Morning's Mini-Adventure

All the frozen stuff pretty much melted overnight and it was 34 and school was on for the day. So Niko and I head out, notice a few flurries in the air, get in the car, start driving, and the precip gets heavier and heavier. By the time we're to school (6 miles and 15 minutes away), it's damn near white-out conditions. By the time I got back home, there was a fresh inch on the ground. Freeways were in good shape but I was slippin' and slidin' the couple of blocks from the freeway to Danko Manor. Funny thing is, Portland schools closed yesterday and got all kinds of grief for it because the temps warmed up and all it pretty much did in town was drip in that typical Portland fashion. Today, schools are open and we're getting dumped on.... Glad I have the option of taking MAX to pick up the lad this afternoon.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Triathlon: Keeping the Economy Afloat

Interesting story out of San Diego about the surge in triathlon participation and spending on the sport. No doubt the last couple of years have seen amazing growth, but will it hold through 2009? I've got to figure there will be some flattening of the spending curve. Just this week I set out to sign up for Wildflower Long Course. This is a great race on a great course and the timing is perfect for me as a lead-in to IMCDA. But after filling out all the forms, when it came time to press the button to make it happen, I instead closed the browser. It wasn't so much the $220 entry fee that gave me cold feet, but all the other costs that turn a six-hour race into a thousand-buck extended weekend. Planes, car, gas, bike transport, food.... With Coeur d'Alene already costing twice as much, I just couldn't justify the expense. So instead I'll stay home and build my own half-iron race that weekend. I'll head up to Klineline in Vancouver so it's a real open-water swim. I'll have my gear with me and have bike and run courses from there all mapped out. It won't be as intense as Wildflower, probably, but it'll get the job done. And that thousand dollars saved? Oh, I spent it already on a Computrainer.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

May He Long Dribble

Five years. Man, was there even an Internet five years ago?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

In the Kitchen

There was grass-fed beef, pastured chicken, pasture-raised pork and free-ranging goat from Deck Family Farm at the Hollywood Farmer's Market on Saturday. I went for the goat. Never had goat. When I got home I put the frozen package in the fridge. Today I made stew.

I started by cooking a whole mess of garlic in some olive oil.

Took the garlic out and browned up the meat, which I'd tossed around in some flour mixed with salt, pepper, cumin and crushed coriander.

Took the meat out, then put the heat to some chopped onion, followed by chopped carrot and parsnip. Oh, and a little grated fresh ginger, too.

From there, it was just a matter of throwing the meat and garlic back in the pot, adding some white wine, water and the small amount of vegetable broth that was nearing its end date in the fridge. I slipped the pot into a 250-degree over while I skittered off for a long, vitamin D-producing walk around town. Upon my return two hours later, I tossed in some Kalamata olives and a can of garbanzos. Let that cook for another hour.

Served over brown rice. Wow, the meat was great, falling-apart (but-still-together) tender and with a deep, meaty flavor. Yeah, kind of like lamb, I guess. And I liked the general stew flavor, with the big sweet roasted garlic and the salty olives playing off that. Only thing missing was a little heat. Maybe some red chilies of some sort...

Race Report: XC

We went all twisty-turny and up-and-down on wide paths through the woods next to Sandy High School yesterday morning. The sun shone and a breeze came from the east, warming as it came off looming Mount Hood and down through the canyon to the southeast edge of the metro area, where we raced.

Question: Is it a race if nobody passes you and you pass nobody? I was way back from the start as a hundred or so really skinny guys in singlets took off after it. This wasn’t a fund-raising fun run peopled by a cross-section of the running public. No dabblers or weekend warriors here (me excepted). This was strictly hardcore, and over 8000 meters of mostly mildly muddy terrain, there were, for me, no moves made nor challenges rebuffed. There was a lone guy about 20 yards in front of me the whole way, which was nice because I didn’t want to lose my way. When we doubled back I noticed four or five guys behind me. Thank goodness for those active octogenarians.

Yeah, I was trying to avoid running the entire month of November -- maybe next November? -- to give my irksome Achilles a chance to heal. And I came so close to not running today! I woke up at 6:30 and told myself I’d walk over to the farmers’ market instead. At 7:30, after oatmeal and coffee, I noted that there was still plenty of time to get out to the race. At 7:40 I got my running stuff together just in case I decided to go. At 8, I was on my way on the 40-minute drive to Sandy. What can I say? The day was too nice not to run.

Anyway, it was tons of fun, even being rusty as hell after not having run for two weeks, even being five (OK, 10) pounds overweight. Running cross-country races is kind of like doing an ultra, in that you’re get some variability of terrain, you get some woods, ruts, tree roots, rocks and puddles. But you only have to go five miles, not 50! Can’t beat that.