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  • 09/22/15--13:50: Seeing what's possible
  • I've been waiting to leave a lot of mornings lately because I don't want it to be pitch black when I get out there, but it's probably better to leave when I feel like it and just see what happens. So that's what I did this morning.

    As you can see, it was quite dark when I parked the car. This was taken from the spot where I stretch before I head out.


    It was a bit brighter when I got to the Gulch entrance off 19th. I decided to download a flashlight app for my phone just in case, but I never ended up turning it on. I always keep my eye on the trail so I don't trip on stuff, and today just required a little more effort. I also turned my music off for a while.

    I mentioned the other day that there are runway lights toward the end of the gulch. I've posted them before, when some hired goats were cleaning up in the area. Here they are again with a cool blob of fog.


    Today's route.

    Today"s awesome walk, 4.91 miles in 1:42, 10,549 steps, 489ft gain
    4.91 miles in 1:42, 10,549 steps, 489ft gain

    Yoga for my back yesterday was a good idea. It feels a lot better today and the walk was much more enjoyable.

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  • 09/23/15--11:26: Whittling away at that queue
  • I've been watching a lot of DVDs, trying to finally make my way through my previously-huge Netflix DVD queue. I didn't make a note of how many were in it at its highest, but it's down to 48 now. I'm sure some of the stuff I'll be seeing in this last stretch has been there almost as long as I've had the account.

    Funnily enough, I just learned that my first DVDs from them (Jason X, Freddy vs Jason, Galaxy Quest) arrived back at their facility 11 years ago today.

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  • 09/23/15--14:54: Nice morning
  • I parked the car in the dark, as usual.


    The clouds made me think a sunrise at the beach would be nice.

    I typically head straight from the road that leads down to the ferry over to Edgewater Beach, but decided to pop over and see the lighthouse today.

    (Click for video.)

    It was a really nice morning, and I wasn't in the mood for a big climb or anything, so I spent some time enjoying the beach before heading back to the car.


    The geoducks were very busy! (Click for video.)

    Today"s awesome walk, 2.9 miles in 1:08, 6,191 steps, 186ft gain
    2.9 miles in 1:08, 6,191 steps, 186ft gain

    My instinct to take it easy today was correct; my back was pretty stiff when I got home. I went to the pool to tread water for half an hour this afternoon, and I'll do yoga tomorrow.

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    I decided yesterday that there'd be no walk today. My back hurts and I need some yoga to make it better. Treading water at the pool for cardio's nice, too. Even though the "yoga for your back" routine takes 20 minutes and I treaded water for 30, and usually walk for much longer than that, today's been extra busy.

    As soon as Garrett pulled out of the garage, I got to work on garbage, recycling, and food/yard waste. I could probably do it with both cars in, but it'd be tight, so I do it when he's not around. I always wish on Thursday mornings that I'd gotten it ready on Wednesday, so I'll try to get it ready on Wednesday more often.

    I got everything to the curb, picked some apples from the neighbor's tree, ran in for yoga, scooped the cat box, brushed my teeth, showered, made breakfast, heated up some coffee, and got to my desk with three minutes to spare before my conference call. That was quite short.

    I spent a while over Skype trying to help a coworker get something set up on her computer. It still doesn't work, but I got a lot of the initial stuff in order so the vendor can address just the issue instead of starting with the install. I fed the cats, which doesn't seem like a big job, but they have to be supervised or Sam will eat Steve's food.

    Got dressed, headed to the pool, swam my 30 minutes, showered, and went to an Asian buffet for lunch. Then an Asian grocery store, and Big Lots.

    There were a bunch of dishes waiting to be done at home, so I took care of that, then washed all the apples I picked.

    Watched a local indie movie called My Effortless Brilliance, which stars Sean Nelson, who writes for The Stranger and is the lead singer of Harvey Danger. I'm currently playing 2046, but it has subtitles, and I really only read subtitles when I'm in bed. I wish all DVDs had an English dub option. I don't have a DVD player for the bedroom so I'll just enjoy this as much as I can without fully paying attention. It's a pretty movie.

    Garrett just handed me a glass of fancy cider, and Thursday is the night he's in charge of dinner. So as much as I ran around today, it's time to just enjoy the rest.

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  • 09/25/15--04:13: SchadenFriday

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  • 09/25/15--14:54: TortillaTowne
  • I don't even really like corn tortillas. I'm a New Mexican and flour's the clear winner down there. I'd never buy them, but a lot of the recipes I make call for them because they're vegan and, well, much healthier. So I buy them.

    Today's recipe, quesadillas, called for eight of them. I don't know if they had bigger ones in mind, but there was way too much filling for just four quesadillas, so I made six. That used up 12.

    I have plenty left! I couldn't find a pack this morning smaller than 72, so now I've got five baggies in the freezer with a dozen in each. I can make quesadillas five more times without buying any more tortillas. But I also froze four quesadillas, enough for two more meals.

    I'm really only frustrated with the freezer space being taken up. Money's definitely not the issue. You can get 72 corn tortillas for less than $2.50. Or I'll just give you some.

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  • 09/26/15--06:20: CATURDAY

  • RIP Sombra, 1997-2015

    BONUS Saturdogs

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  • 09/26/15--18:36: I made dinner
  • Pickle-brined chicken sandwiches with fry sauce, cabbage, and swiss. Barbecue oven chips, pickle spear.

    I made dinner

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  • 09/28/15--06:14: Fogchaser
  • One thing I like about exercising by myself is that I don't have to negotiate with anyone or even make any plans. I do what I want, where I want. I'm not particularly spontaneous in my everyday life, but now that I'm living up here and mostly drive to my walking destinations, I find myself changing my mind a lot. I was originally thinking of the gulch yesterday, but decided to head for Spencer Island instead. But then as I was heading North, I noticed it was foggy downtown, so I went to the waterfront.

    It was really neat seeing it flow down the hill to the water.


    It wasn't long before I was completely in it.


    This route takes me by Legion Memorial Park. I've mentioned before that it would be closing for soil remediation, and that time has finally come.

    Legion Memorial Park, closed for soil remediation

    The fog was thick enough that my hair got soaked, along with all the spiderwebs. That made it look like the whole neighborhood was decorated for Halloween.


    I've seen a lot of Little Free Libraries, but I've never seen one decorated like a bus, and I've certainly never seen one decorated like a bus with a perfectly-posed book making it look like someone's riding in it.


    Today's featured house. I love the circular windows. Another house with a circular window a couple doors down had theirs made into a peace sign, which looked pretty dumb.


    I'm collecting photos of the mosaics at Grand Avenue Park, one per walk. Yesterday's pick was the octopus.

    Grand Avenue Park mosaic

    From up there, I was nearly in the top of the fog, so I could nearly see out of it as I looked toward the water.


    This car is always in this spot. I wonder if it even works.


    Yesterday"s awesome walk, 5.52 miles in 1:45, 11,866 steps, 215ft gain
    5.52 miles in 1:45, 11,866 steps, 215ft gain

    That particular route is funny to me, because it's not particularly far or long, and there's not much of a climb, but it feels like it goes on and on. I think walking on pavement and being able to see far off into the distance just makes it drag out in my mind. I can say for sure that walking on pavement is more painful. My shins always get a little sore for a while. Luckily I recover and feel pretty good for most of the walk.

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  • 09/29/15--04:00: Fog, continued
  • When I decided Sunday that I'd go to the waterfront instead of the river, I hoped it'd be foggy again yesterday. So I wouldn't ultimately have chosen one over the other. My wish was granted.

    This is the moon. The sun looks almost the same in the other pictures. Just barely brighter.


    I could never see very far ahead, so while I never saw anyone else, I can't say for sure whether I was alone out there.


    Whenever I could see the sun, it almost looked like the end of the world.


    How Star Wars is this?


    And of course, the fall colors are still happening. Though I mostly couldn't see them.


    Today's route. There's been some maintenance done, so I was able to follow the trail North all the way to the end. That's the first time I ever went all the way.

    Today"s awesome walk, 4.85 miles in 1:33, 10,437 steps
    4.85 miles in 1:33, 10,437 steps

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    Yesterday was so insanely busy. I had time to get a walk in, but not enough to post about it. The busy is a good thing, though. My duties at work are changing almost completely, because the duties I've been in charge of are going away. I'm really grateful to be along for the ride in a new role. It's been a lot to learn and the learning hasn't really been structured until this week, but we're doing some training in person now, and walking through how the tools are actually used instead of hypothetically going through the motions. It's going really well. Of course, this has meant a lot of time in the car.

    A big part of what kept me busy yesterday was making the commute more efficient. New express toll lanes on I-405 opened this week, and I didn't find the informational videos online very helpful. I decided to drive out there a couple of times and really examine how the system works in real life instead of jumping right in. After I did that Monday and Tuesday, I was ready to use them yesterday. In order to save a little money, I got the sticker that goes on the windshield, because if they have to read your plate and bill you, they add two dollars. The tolls have typically been 75 cents as I've been out there, so that would more than triple it. No thanks. The pass is $5, but that pays for itself rather quickly when you save $2 a pop.

    So yesterday after my walk was a mad rush to obtain the sticker, apply it correctly, and get it registered on the site. We were already set up for pay-by-plate, and that's at the account level, so I couldn't just add the sticker to the car in the system. So I set up another account for my car, encountered a site error, chose a new user name because I couldn't complete the registration with the first one, discovered I couldn't add my car to the account until I pulled it off the old account, did that, and finally got everything set up. Neither of yesterday's trips have deducted from my account, so I hope it was set up in the system in time. There was no warning that you need to wait a day or anything.

    The express lanes are AWESOME. I can get on it right away once I get on the 405 and stay on up until right before my exit. I was worried about being able to get across in time to exit, but I managed to do it both ways. There was a lot of traffic coming home, but it only took me 50 minutes. I think it would have easily been another 45 minutes added to that if I wasn't using the express lane. The extra time at home was really handy, because we found out once we started our meeting yesterday that we would have to test some stuff last night so the new features on our tool could be rolled out this morning. I never work in the evening and was pretty bummed about it, but I was able to plow through it pretty quickly.

    But enough about the boring parts of my day. There was a walk!

    It was very foggy again yesterday, pretty much everywhere until right when I arrived at the dog park at the base of the gulch. There was a little wisp up at the top, so I decided I'd climb up to the ballfields.


    I found this sitting at the start of the center trail and wondered why it was there.


    It was immediately obvious that they were widening the trail with it. Nice!


    Partway up to the ballfields is the "garbage fire" plateau I've posted about before. You can see that garbage can in this picture. I was excited to see the fog was getting thicker!


    I've taken these exact photos several times, but never with any fog blocking the view of the other side.


    A lovely old tree posing proudly.


    There's one little rarely-used trail that I've never gone up because it's pretty steep, and I'm always saying I won't go up anything that I'd be afraid to climb back down. It looked like it might lead up to the ballfield, but since I couldn't really tell if it went all the way through, I just stayed off. I decided to finally go up it. The climb wasn't that bad, but it's pretty obvious once you get there that nobody uses it much. It barely looks like a trail.


    I realized when I emerged that I've actually gone down it several times! So all that anxiety about having to come down it was for nothing. That made me acknowledge that there's always value in following looping routes, even in familiar places, in order to gain an even deeper level of familiarity. So that's what the rest of the route was about, exploring those familiar areas to see how they're doing as we change seasons.

    Yesterday"s awesome walk, 5.07 miles in 1:57, 10,903 steps, 491ft gain
    5.07 miles in 1:57, 10,903 steps, 491ft gain

    I walked in and out of the fog several times. It was nice. The fog rolled into more of the gulch by the time I got to the bottom. Here's a comparison shot at the dog park from the end of the walk.


    I've got another half our or so before it's time to head out to campus one last time this week. Tomorrow will be much more normal. There was no time for a walk today, but that's fine because my back wanted some yoga.

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  • 10/02/15--03:55: SchadenFriday

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  • 10/02/15--10:26: No photos
  • It was so dark and foggy when I parked the car this morning that I couldn't get the sky to show up in a photo at all. That was a first. I decided that I'd challenge myself to do a route I've recently done, but faster. I normally don't really care about speed or the amount of time the whole thing takes, but several things contributed to that decision today.

    1) Too dark and foggy to stop and get any good photos, and even if it wasn't, all my pictures lately are of fog anyway.

    2) I don't really like taking the climb on the zig-zag of roads between points A and B on the map below without entering the gulch. It's brutal and I really wasn't in the mood for it, so I decided to get it over as fast as possible.

    3) I got shit to do today and it needs to be done at certain times. That always makes me rush.

    So, I went as fast as I could. Sometimes I zoned out and slowed down a bit, but I picked up the pace again when I realized that was happening. Now I know a lot of people reading this are thinking, why not try running? People ask me why I don't run all the time. The answer is simple. I hate it. I have a bad back, I've had ankle issues, and I'm pretty heavy. If you enjoy running, go for it. I'm not into it. I even tried jogging a little bit today, and here's how it went:

    "I'm going pretty fast. I should try jogging a bit. Wow! Look at me! I'm going really fast! Maybe this can be a new thing! Maybe I cou--nope. Nope, this sucks, gonna just walk fast again."

    I don't think people should do things they hate for exercise. You need to do it all the time if you're going to do it, and how can you motivate yourself to do something you truly hate? I like walking. I like walking fast. I like to go tread water at the pool. I like yoga. I'll do those. I'm not going to tell anyone they should do what I do, they should just do what they want.


    Today"s awesome walk, 4.64 miles in 1:16, 9,983 steps, 466ft gain
    4.64 miles in 1:16, 9,983 steps, 466ft gain

    Last time I did this walk, it was in 90 minutes. It's kind of surprising that I only shaved 14 minutes off of that, but then again, it's not like I was running twice as fast or anything. It was an interesting experiment, but I was a little worse for the wear at the end, and it wasn't nearly as fun as it usually is. So expect more fog pictures soon. Though probably not on Sunday as we're having an overnight guest Saturday night.

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  • 10/03/15--06:19: CATURDAY

  • RIP Cosmo, 1998-2015

    BONUS Saturdogs

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  • 10/04/15--13:19: Catchemups
  • No walk this morning because our friend Ana spent the night. We went out for a nice dinner at Prohibition and a couple of drinks at Everett's lone gay bar, which we were expecting to be empty at that early hour. Turns out there was an Imperial Court event, and a ten dollar cover. That came with a drink ticket, though, so it wasn't terrible to have to pay it. Unfortunately, we arrived just in time to hear the awards portion of the night, which went on for about 45 minutes and wasn't particularly interesting for people who aren't involved in the organization. It was nice to get out, though, as we don't do it very often. And we followed it all up with a nice breakfast at our neighborhood bar.

    Since there's no walk to share, here are a few recent photos.

    A Zima shotglass and 100 bottle caps I got on eBay.

    Anyone fancy a shot?
    100 Zima bottle caps I got on eBay.

    The stunning array of hot sauce at Barney's Pastrami, plus the pickled egg I got there with my sandwich on Friday. This was my first time trying a pickled egg. Pretty good, but the brine they used is spicier than I care for.

    That"s a lot of hot sauce.
    My first pickled egg. Not bad, but the brine they used was spicier than I care for.

    Garrett's mom and her goofy, adorable cat Bella.

    My mother-in-law and cat-in-law.

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    Back pain comes and back pain goes. I decided at some point yesterday that I'd do yoga today instead of a walk, and I decided during that yoga that I'm probably doing yoga all week. We have some travel coming up, which means lots of standing around and lots of sitting in uncomfortable chairs, so as much yoga as possible up until we take off is probably for the best. I might get some swims in as well.

    As is my tradition, I'll post about the travel as it happens.

    Things were pretty chill compared to last week, so I took the opportunity today to get out for lunch and a movie. House special banh hoi at White Lotus:

    Oh yes.

    I ordered it with no meatballs, since those always make me burp for hours. Not pictured in the photo is the shrimp cakes on sugar cane, because they forgot to plate them, but brought them out less than a minute later on a different plate. Those were made in a way I've never seen done before. Normally the sugar cane is at least the size of, oh, a third of a cigar? Two tater tots laid end to end? A big piece of sugar cane that I always enjoy chewing on, that's too big to actually eat. The shrimp paste is formed around the end, kind of like a giant match head. The whole thing is cooked together and it's delicious. This time, the sugar cane pieces were tiny sliver, and I was actually able to eat them. My guess is that they were running out of cane.

    After lunch, I popped into Old Navy really quickly and found a pair of lounge shorts and a pair of shorts for walking in, then I saw The Walk in 3D. It was really cool. I saw the documentary, Man on Wire, when it was released, and of course enjoyed it, but also thought the reenactments in it were really goofy. The Walk was a very well-done dramatization and I loved the way it looked. And the walk occurred just a few weeks after I was born, so it was neat to see a little snapshot of the world as it was when I arrived.

    I noticed how well the door of my car lined up with the car in the next spot over when I got into the car after Old Navy and it was so very satisfying.

    My door and the front of the car in the next space. So intensely satisfying.

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    At this point, I've made quite a few Forks Over Knives recipes. Not as many as I could have, because I've liked some of them enough to make them two or three times. After today's lunch, I realized I should probably talk about a few of them.

    Caramelized Onion and Pepper Quesadillas
    I made these a couple of weeks ago and didn't really enjoy them at all. They take forever, and fell apart when I tried to eat them. And held the heat very well, so they hurt a lot as they were falling apart. The recipe was enough for six small quesadillas, though, and two makes for a pretty good entree, so I froze four of them. Turns out, they're way better reheated! They stayed together very well even though I cut them in quarters. I'll make them again, but won't eat them the day I make them.

    Easy Thai Noodles
    These are excellent. Really good. I've had to make various substitutions each time I've made it, and it always turns out. I've never used a bag of frozen vegetables like the recipe suggests, which may be why it always turns out so good.

    Oh, it turns out I mentioned this recipe in August when I made it for guests, but I didn't link to it before. Anyway, it's great, and even better the next day cold. Not sure I'd attempt to freeze this one, though.

    Smoky Sweet Potato Burgers
    These are really good. I've made a few kinds of vegan burgers, and these are the best of the ones I've done. They stay together pretty well, and the recipe produces lots of patties. I've started making larger patties and using Dave's Killer Bread slices instead of buns, because their buns come in four-packs, and the patty size if I make four is much too big for those buns. Larger portions with vegan dishes are nice anyway.

    Ratatouille Fusilli
    Pass. The lentils are boring, the eggplant is too much. I got my recipes mixed up and accidentally added some tomato paste, which should have helped, but it didn't.

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  • 10/07/15--16:02: Anal bead chic
  • Anal bead chic

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