Friday, October 30, 2009


A TIE!!!!

Amish Smoke Break and...

Amish wax job!

Congrats Tracy Martin and J Blodgett. I will be sending the prizes out to you. I think they will be gift certificates to Atticus Coffee. Thanks everybody!! If you want to see all the entries look at the prior post.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Cthulhu aquarium

Amish wax job

Amish space heater

Amish Hellfire

Amish Smoke break

Amish Fire Mantle Delivery

Amish liquor cabinet

Sarah will be the judge. She doesn't know who did what (except mine and they are ineligible). Tonight we should know who won, and what they won. Exciting.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

In yesterday's SR: Yuppie 911 calls frustrate rescuers...

And all of us at the station said, "That's nothing!" Time to revisit CARTNE:

A city pays for a decent fire department for one main reason - to keep the city from burning down a couple of times each month. Most of the time you won't hear anything about it on the news. It takes a lot of people, training and equipment to keep our infrastructure from going away. All the other things a fire department does is done in between the times that it is not fighting the fire that would spread to other buildings, etc.

It's like having a standing army for a country that gets invaded frequently, and in between invasions the army does other civic duties.

We could be brewing and selling beer for the city, making monastic fruitcakes, etc., but instead we do emergency medical services. It's a great fit. We are located in a bunch of neighborhoods. We have sirens. We operate really well under pressure. We are trainable. But it's amazing the things that people will pick up a phone and call 9-1-1 for - every day.

All to say, Please vote yes for the Fire Bond Levy. For some reason the Spokesman-Review called this a new tax. It isn't. It's a continuation of the old. If you want to know more about it, you can go here. I know that it's a shock that the SR got a story wrong, but...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Feeling like a footloose Marlin Perkins...

Had a very fun run yesterday. It was a long, slow one so I took a few pictures. Was down on the north bank of the river between TJ Meenach and Sans Souci when I happened upon these tracks leading down to the river:
Anybody know what the story is here? They don't look very old, but who knows.

Great foggy vistas:

Turkeys. What a life. Hang out near the river during the day and then migrate over to Bong's Grocery for some Keystone Ice and Twinkie remnants at night. Like to see a bald eagle do that. Benjamin Franklin was right when he wanted the scrappy turkey to be our national symbol.

Don't forget the Photoshop contest!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Amish Miracle Invention Photoshop Contest!

This is the highest resolution I could find of my favorite Sunday SR Parade Magazine ad photo - Amish mantle and miracle invention help home heat bills hit rock bottom. It is a great two-page spread, in that it has so much going for it. If you want to place an order, you are directed to one of three zones:

Everywhere in the USA, it's cold! If you want to see more pictures, a Google image search provides these. I suppose you could scan the Parade magazine ad if you were really interested in a bigger file for your contest submission.

I like the main photo of the ad, the picture featured at the top, with the Amish working on glowing electric fireplaces. However, if you want to use any of the pictures featured in this ad or on the interwebs, go for it.

We'll give it a week. If you win, you will get your name mentioned, along with a link to your blog or website if you want. Also, some kind of mediocre crappy prize too.

Send your entry/entries to me here:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Spokesman-Review website disappears and a golf website using their URL is born...

At least that's what's there right now. Here is a screenshot, in case it disappears:

Click on it to enlarge. Anybody know what the story is here?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hay, share the road...

As seen in Greenbluff.

Did a 10 mile run yesterday, wearing the Panka "shoes." On an acorn straightaway, I realized that the thinness of the soles really does feel about the same as actual barefoot. Going to try a 2.5 no-shit barefoot this morning. Hopefully no shit.

Finished reading Born to Run this morning. What a great read. It is extremely inspirational and left me feeling pretty doggone happy. The last book I read before this was Major Taylor. It is a true story. It chronicled the life of Marshal "Major" Taylor. He was the fastest man alive on a bicycle at the beginning of the 1900s.

Never heard of him? Not many today have. But at the time, bicycle racing was the most popular sport in the world - even in the U.S.A. Unfortunately, Major had two strikes against him: 1. He was a black man. 2. He was born in the U.S.A., in the 19th century. All over the world he traveled and was welcomed as a celebrity and an all-around good guy and top athlete, and then he would return home - where he couldn't eat in a restaurant because of the color of his skin. The only hotel that didn't accept him in Europe was one in Paris. Why? Because all the Americans staying there told the management that they would check out, en masse, if Major Taylor was allowed to stay there.

A very good read and I learned a lot, but very much a downer of a book. You realize that this kind of hate takes a long time to go away, and our country was (and to some degree still is) steeped in it. So I needed a book like Born to Run to read.

Not giving anything away, but you kind of know how the Major Taylor book is going to end. Sigh.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Little FeelMax Panka Review

Just came in from an 8 mile run wearing my new FeelMax Pankas. They finally arrived in the mail yesterday.

I thought that the aqua sox had a really thin sole! The soles on these shoes are even thinner. According to the website, they are less than 1 mm thick. I think they are substantially thinner than 1 mm.

They are extremely light and fit very snug. The sole is supposedly made from some kind of indestructible rubber. I've read reviews where the reviewer tried to push nails through them without any luck. I haven't tried that.

It's too soon to tell how these things will hold up. I would say that if you're looking for a barefoot -- type running experience, while protecting your feet from glass and stuff, these might work for you. You can also wear socks with them, which will be quite welcome when the snow's on the ground.

Here's where is I purchased mine. I looked all over Spokane, and like the Vibram Five Fingers, there is no place in town that carries them. I like this website. I think it caters to mercenaries, but also carries slack line supplies and, of course, these shoes. "What a country!" to quote the great Yakov Smirnoff.

In America, you run to stay in shape. In Russia, staying in shape gives you runs.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ladder of Success!

Biked out to the training center to watch my oldest son climb Ladder 51X. He took the written test for the city and did well enough to get to this - the next step. He had no problem doing the entire physical agility test with time to spare.

I stood way back, with my daughter-in-law Sarah, to watch him climb. One kid climbed about 10 minutes before Kirk did, and we thought that was him. Luckily we stuck around for when it was really his turn. Everybody kinda looks the same in turnouts.

It would be very cool if Kirk got the job - if there are even going to be any new hires off this list. He’s got a lot going for him.

I think every dad must fantasize a little about his kid getting into the family business. I think a big part of why I worked so much to earn money for my private pilot’s license when I was 17 was because my dad was an airline pilot. I haven’t flown in a very long time, but I never regretted the money and time spent.

It will be interesting to see how this all turns out. Congratulations to Kirk on getting to the next step!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Celebration and "Barefoot" Running...

A great time at the anniversary party last night. A few beers. A few buddies. And even some beer buddies. A special thanks to Pat who brought me this hat, oozing with star-spangled goodness.

Starting to get a wee bit cold. My last commute, I wore my winter gloves. This morning went for a ride that was positively chilly. I am back in sauna mode. It sure helps to really warm me up after a very cold bike ride.

I always try to work in a run or two on my days off. Late summer, I started doing the "barefoot" running stuff. I’m not an early adopter. But I am a person who tries to encourage others to early adopt, so they can take the plunge instead of me. I’m not saying this is a good thing. But I recognize this character flaw.

Accordingly, this spring I sent Jake the link to the Vibram five finger running feetsie gloves. He bought them. Then he told me that he really liked them. So I prepared myself to take the hundred-dollar-holy-shit commitment. When I found them on the website, the REI website, they were listed with aqua sox and other cheap-ass aquatic footwear. It dawned on me that I had a pair of these aqua sox just sitting in the back of my closet. They had been there about three years, and had the cobwebs and dust to prove it too.

I really liked running with them. Very, very thin sole. No arch. No cushioning. And I saved 100 bucks. Thank you Jake.

Also, I believe Hank was doing some barefoot running this summer too. So, thank you Hank!

I started out with very short distances, usually followed by true barefoot laps around the park. Was amazing to feel how much acorns and tiny pebbles hurt less and less each run. My feet felt bruised at first, but the whole experience has been very enjoyable. Of course, there are new muscles getting used in new ways, and I was sore for a while. One thing I noticed is that my hip/lower back pain is pretty much gone. This lumbago has plagued me, on and off, for about 10 years.

In fact, Sarah and I both have been trying to wear footwear that has little or no arch support or cushioning as much as possible - aqua sox, moccasins, and just plain bare feet. At work, I put on my boots right before I get on the engine, and take them off as soon as I get back from a call. As it gets colder, this soleless lifestyle is going to be harder to do. You can really feel the cold ground when there is no thick sole and padding. Brrrrrrrrr.

I just ordered a pair of Feelmax shoes. The soles on these shoes are extremely thin. They make boots too. So, if I like the shoes, I might be ordering boots later. I wonder what they will feel like on the icy bike pedals this winter.

Have yet to barefoot run in the kilt. Maybe when it gets more foggy. “What the hell was that?” She screamed, as the ghostly nonsensical apparition sped back into the shadows. A dachshund mournfully howled in the distance.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Spokanarama Anniversary Celebration - Oct 7th - 8 pm Benniditos!

Every time that I have made a post, I have put a dollar in a jar (a hypothetical jar at that). That's 220 posts, or $220. I will bring my jar to Benniditos. If it doesn't get all used up, I might take the rest to Rosauers and seed my own cereal sale. What can you bring? Watch this:

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Yesterday's Spokesman-Review sets new standard!

When I came home from work yesterday morning, Sarah asked me if I had read the paper yet. I told her I had only glanced at it. She then proceeded to list all the strangeness contained within. Leading the pack, was a story about a lady whose hearing aid had dropped into her box of milkduds and she almost ate it. Really. Paul Turner wrote an entire story about this. Really. Was he inspired by The Onion, or has he never seen it?

As you can see, the poor hearing aid lady had to supply her own photo too.

The one headline I did catch when I first perused the paper was "Llama rescued from Pikes Peak." Nice.

Then there was the usual idiotic piece by Charles Krauthammer. I would love to go to lunch with Krauthammer and Cal Thomas. Which would be the loonier dyspeptic?

Next, a tiny story on the sports page. Someone has been hitting Ted Williams' frozen decapitated head with a monkey wrench. Why? Because there was an empty tuna can stuck to it. Of course. Want to know more?

But the best was saved for last. For the past 20 years, Don Adair and Teresa McCallion have done his-and-hers columns, test driving a new car and giving their opinion every Saturday edition. Well, as Don puts it, the steering wheel was recently "wrested" from Teresa. Who is the new gal writer wrester? Hint - here is the first paragraph:

"Most women, at one time or another, are seduced by a pair of elegant high heels. We look at them and imagine ourselves in them, suddenly sleek, tall and sophisticated with long, sexy legs. That pair of shoes will transform us, we just know it. Those shoes will change the way we walk into a room.

Suddenly we have to have those heels."

YES! She is back! Cheryl-Anne Millsap!! Just when I was ready to cancel the subscription. C.A.M. saves the day! Admit it. You want to see how she finishes this article, one that is supposed to be about a car. Well, maybe you better buy a newspaper. Because that's all your going to get from me.

On another note, Doug Clark seems to be getting meaner and meaner. I think he's channeling the old Weekly World New's columnist Ed Anger. It's almost as if he takes the most strident loony letter to the editor and amps it up, knowing that this way he can hit the lowest common denominator. Seriously, he has done some good writing in the past, but over the last few years, it has really become formulaic, strident and hysterical (not the funny kind of hysterical). I hope he is OK. Another good reason to keep buying the paper.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Belated Spokanarama Five-Year Anniversary Get Together

Wednesday, October 7th @ Bennidito's Pizza (Southside), 8 pm. A little get together with some bloggy friends - perhaps a beer or two. Beer buddies anyone? As we get a little closer, I will provide more details.