Back on the water

Today was (mostly) sunny and in the 50’s, and I felt like it was time to break out the jet skis. Anticipating this, I spent about an hour yesterday de-winterizing them and making sure everything was in shipshape order (that’s a nautical term). We hitched up the trailer and headed down to Yellow Bay, which is the closest put-in point on Flathead Lake.

We let Kyra take the “fast” one, and she said she hit 46mph at one point.

We headed over to Wild Horse Island, which we’d last visited in October. And we saw… some wild horses!

I’m not sure how “wild” they are– I imagine there are plenty of people who hike around the 2,100-acre island, so they’re probably quite used to seeing humans– but we didn’t want to get too close.

Here’s a picture of the ladies in their sleek wetsuits:

We also explored a few other nearby islands. Shelter Island is privately owned and has an enormous house… I think their boathouse is bigger than my entire home.

Nearby Cedar Island appears to be uninhabited. We would’ve gone exploring but there wasn’t really a good place to beach our jet skis. The water level is still around nine feet lower than full pool (that’ll change in about a month).

Overall, a great time. We’re hoping to go out again tomorrow!

Saltine challenge

I was chatting with Zaque today, and somehow we got on the topic of the Saltine Challenge. Back in college, my friend Zvonko and I challenged each other to see who could eat the most saltines without any other food or drink. (Hey, we were at Denny’s at 2am. Also, that’s the kind of stuff you do in college.) I remember losing– I think he polished off 14 and I only got through 12.

Zaque told me his Saltine Challenge is to see if you can eat six saltines in sixty seconds. It doesn’t sound too hard, right? Well. Kyra and I sat down this evening to give it a go. Pepper is above this sort of thing, so she just watched and laughed at us.

After sixty seconds of half-chewed salty mush in my mouth, I had to admit defeat. I finished four of the six; Kyra only ate three.

She insists that, with practice, she could do it. Apparently she’s going to work on it tomorrow.

Yo ho ho

Last July, Zaque gave Kyra a little metal replica of the Black Pearl, Jack Sparrow’s ship from Pirates of the Caribbean. This weekend, after almost nine months, she sat down to put it together. It’s made of a very thin metal, laser-etched into teeny pieces that have to be assembled with a tweezer.

The finished product is pretty cool. Now she just needs to add a tiny undead monkey.


We’ve lived in this house for just over six months now, and it’s time to start making some serious changes. The former owners really liked the color green– specifically, mint green— and had matching carpet, walls, and furniture. We replaced the carpet before we even moved in, and we’re about to re-paint the walls.

The challenge, of course, is that we have a 40-foot cathedral ceiling in the great room, and it’s pretty much impossible for me to visualize what it might look like if we paint such a huge surface. That’s compounded by the difficulty of looking at tiny paint swatches to see if the color is good.

But we selected some colors, and yesterday we went to the paint store to pick up some sample jars and sample squares. I painted the squares and we were able to at least have a larger swatch:

It’s still hard to tell, but we moved around the house and put the swatches in various places (testing lighting conditions). We feel pretty good about them. The painter is scheduled to start in a week, complete with a scissor truck to reach the 40-foot ceiling. This will certainly be an adventure.

Winter’s not over yet

After unseasonably warm temperatures for the past couple of months, I kind of figured we were finished with winter. Nope. Today we woke up to about six inches of snow.

I was hoping to pull out the jet skis this week, but apparently I’ll be waiting another week or two…

April Fools

Tonight I decided to work on some of my recent photographs. I opened Darktable, the software I use to process raw image data. To my surprise, instead of the usual library of photos, I was prompted to start a new game. A game of… what? I hit the space bar and started playing Space Invaders!

What the…? Apparently the Darktable team had snuck an Easter egg into the software, and it was triggered by today’s date. Well played, developers. Well played.

An ode to Final Fancy D

Back in fall 2018, I was captain of an amazing ultimate league team. Although our official team name was Final Fancy D (based on the league theme), one of the guys on the team saw some t-shirts at Walmart that had sloths on them. Don’t ask. So about half of us bought these cheap shirts, and our unofficial team name was The Sloths. Not impressive for an ultimate team, I know, but it was hilarious.

Somehow, during the season we developed a tradition of writing poetry in our team-wide emails. After games I’d send out some “feel good” vibes (we weren’t a very strong team) and it became a running joke. Even after the season was over, the poetry exchange continued. We’d even meet up at a Boulder dive bar now and then, even though we were no longer on a team together.

Here we are, a year and a half later, and one of the guys just sent a team-wide email:

Ok everyone, throw in your best poem that you can come up with. The theme of the poem is………..(random spinner)………… how you got into ultimate. Go!

I couldn’t resist, so I just spent about half an hour composing an epic poem on par with Homer’s Odyssey. Here it is, including a bunch of inside jokes:

‘Twas the fall of ‘ninety, so long ago,
(Some of you weren’t even born, I know).
I had a friend who said one day
“Let’s go out– I’ve got a game to play!”

We went to a park near the college dorm
We stretched and worked on our throwing form.
He told us the rules, but we had no clue
About stacks or forces or what to do.

One endzone was a pair of oak trees
Whose branches snagged discs caught by the breeze.
The other end was an old swingset
Was it ghetto? That’s a sure bet.

At the edge of the field was a big lake
And many a throw the water did take.
On the other side was a city street.
(As you can tell, our setup was sweet!)

It didn’t matter, ’cause we still had fun
Chasing plastic under a Missouri sun.
I’m sure you can guess, but I’ll confirm the news:
That’s when I started wearing no shoes.

Five years in college, though we had no team;
Just a bunch of guys living the dream.
We learned some moves and tricks of the trade,
And definitely loved every moment we played.

Then off to Colorado, Aurora in fact,
With a pickup gang that’s still intact.
Moving to Boulder introduced me to GRU,
Where of course I eventually met all of you.

Brenda was with me on team Puppy Chow,
A shocking twenty years before now.
So many leagues, so many friends,
I was sad that it all had to come to an end.

Hanging on my wall is a special gift
And when I see it, my spirit lifts.
Kyle and Jordan gave it to me
On my last day in GRU: the summer tourney.

But never fear, I haven’t hung up my cleats!
One day I’ll be back, bringing some treats.
Maybe we’ll hit the Dark Horse Saloon,
Hoisting a Pepsi while Lev sings a tune.

Thanks to Matt for reminding me
How bad I am at writing poetry.
Always remember: of all the teams I’ve seen,
Y’all are still in my top eighteen.

Ahh, fond memories. Thanks, Matt, for making me write one more poem.

Toni’s juice

A few weeks ago, when the power was out for over two days, our house got a bit chilly.

Yeah, that’s 43 degrees in our kitchen. We spent one chilly night with Kyra and Hannah, but without any heat or running water, we felt like maybe it was time to go elsewhere. We talked our friends Doug and Toni into inviting us for a sleepover. Their house had power, heat, and a warm shower!

For breakfast, Toni whipped up some eggs and pancakes, and pulled out a big juicing machine to make some crazy concoction with oranges, apples, and carrots. Yes, carrots. When she offered me some, I was hesitant but wanted to be a good guest, so I took a glass. It turned out to be amazing.

Today Pepper made some with her juicer, and it was just as good.

Hard to believe I’m drinking carrot juice and enjoying it. I guess this quarantine stuff brings out strange things in all of us.

It’s come to this

Self-quarantine has brought out some terrible things in our house. Pepper wears sweatpants all the time, and her lunch was a hot dog sandwich.

It’s anarchy around here, I tell you.

Oh, the humanity

Kyra opened her new box of Breyer’s chocolate mint ice cream and was aghast.

Look at how far down it is from the top of the box! Normally it’s touching the lid. And it’s even pulled back from the sides. She couldn’t believe the deceit and trickery.