Thursday, October 26, 2006

Happy Birthday!

It's my lovely wife's birthday. Here's where I get to say "Happy Birthday" to the best person, ever. No contest, everybody else pack up and go home. I could riddle this description with a ton of sayings that sound cliché regarding how I feel, yet that changes not one iota of the truth of the words. She is, quite literally, the best thing to ever happen in my life. So there. (If you want to wish her a happy, go here.)

And no, that's not her birthday cake. Even though it should be.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Voting, Pants Optional

My better half and I received our mail-in ballots a couple days ago, and I spent a large amount of time today doing the whole voting thing. I'm more than a little ashamed to say that this was the most informed I've ever been in casting my vote, mainly because I had the power of the internet at my disposal. Having the ability to research every proposal and candidate on the ballot was fan-friggin-tastic. I could look at who said what or felt in what way regarding a certain issue and vote accordingly, rather than trusting my memory for political rhetoric in a room full of people. When I'm in a room filled with people, my primary thought is how quickly I'm going to be out of that room and/or how to get out of the room even faster even if (or especially if) casualties are involved. Mandating a mail-in vote rather than a drive-up/walk-in vote is actually on the Arizona ballot, and it most assuredly received my vote. I'm foolish enough to believe that more people (not all, but more) would take the time to make an informed voting decision if they could vote at their convenience by mail.

Of course, the bad part of all this information is realizing that many candidates have lousy websites. Or worse, no website. Call me shallow, but if you can't put a decent website together to present your stance on the issues then that just tells me that you don't give a damn about the job. No vote for you, technophobe.

The best use of a website to sway my opinion went to one of the people running for Superintendent of Public Instruction. I don't react well to typos or grammatical errors at the best of times, but if you're trying to convince me that you should be in charge of education you damn well better check the text on your website! Lead by example, maybe?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Ruins, Erosion, and Pants (not necessarily in that order)

We spent the weekend visiting our friends south of us. We went for a hike to the ghost town of Charleston. It's not a ghost town like you'd see in them there talky motion pictures. It's just a few adobe walls that have survived the 127 years of Arizona weather since they were constructed. One of the problematic parts of the hike was having to cross a rather wide stream. If this seems odd to you, keep in mind that we're in Arizona. A puddle is enough to make us stop and stare, so an actual body of flowing water is like unto an alien life form for other people. It's been a damp summer, so there was evidence of flooding. A lot of flooding.

The water was about 20 feet wide for the most part, and anywhere from a few inches deep to a couple of feet. However, there was evidence of floodwaters rising about 20-30 feet on both sides of the existing water level. Oh, and quite a bit higher. About ten feet, probably more, judging by the debris wrapped around trees and well out of my reach. Pretty neat stuff.

Oh yeah. While hiking, I was wearing shorts. It's all I had. That marked one of the very few times in my life I've uttered: "I wish I was wearing pants!" and actually meant it. Those were not the pants to which I alluded in the title of the post. If you've ever had your weight fluctuate, you have at least one pair of pants that you plan on wearing "some day". Since the weather has cooled off here, we got the jeans out of the closet and I actually tried on my "some day" jeans. Jeans that were ridiculously, circulation-inhibitingly, breathtakingly tight (for all the wrong reasons) in New York yet have come across country all the same in the vain hope that "some day" I'd fit in them again. I put them on.

They fit.

I've lost 30lbs since we moved, but I know I still need to lose more. Knowing that, I've never really felt like I've accomplished much in the weight loss department. Until today, when I wore my "some day" pants. All damn day.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Inversion Immersion

My better half was doing her creative thing with one of her photographs. She started by turning it into a black and white image, and it was at that point that I had to try my hand at manipulating the same B&W image. My first "final" attempt came out as this blue thingy, and I liked it. However, no image should ever truly be "done" in my world, so I kept playing and came up with this:

Since I couldn't decide which I liked better, you get to see both of them. You lucky, lucky blog-reading people!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What Happens In Vegas...

... doesn't make one bit of difference out here. Yes, you can see a little bit of Las Vegas in this picture. It's in the center, below the moon and above the small hill. This picture was taken in the Red Rock Canyon area, just outside the city. When you're in Vegas, it's easy to forget that you're in one of the more spectacular parts of the country as far as natural landscapes are concerned. If a trip to Las Vegas is in your future, remember that casinos aren't everything. Also remember that "the strip" is for tourists, and is designed to deprive them of their money as quickly as possible. We did much better at Sam's Town.

In answer to the inevitable questions: Yes, we've been in Vegas for the past few days. No, we didn't win big. (Had we done so, the title of this post would be something like "Woohoo!" followed by a bunch of expletives.) We have learned that Google's directions are great, but their time estimates are off. Probably because they don't take into consideration the 75 MPH speed limit. So, Vegas is really only about a seven hour drive away. Or less, depending on how badly you want to gamble. It's a beautiful drive, though, so there's really no need to rush. We have learned that the Stratosphere charges for internet access. $9.95 a day. Yes, a day. That's why we've been out of contact for a while. We learned that having a car to drive around while in Vegas is pretty darn convenient.

Oh! I had a brush with mediocrity at the airport while waiting for our friends from New York to arrive. As we were waiting, Jenna Elfman walked hurriedly past me towards the exit. I told Deb, she said "Who?", and that pretty much sums it up. I'm actually ashamed I know who she is, as I didn't realize I had absorbed that much irrelevant pop culture.

Now we're back, we're tired, and we're gambled out. If you'd care to contribute to our next gambling excursion, I'll set up a fund or something.