Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!!!!!

Let's review the year.

January - Can't remember.
February - Trip to Astoria, Oregon.
March - Julius Caesar is killed.
April - Hitler's Birthday.
May - Bad stuff happened in Iraq (see also every other month this year)
June - Minibean graduates from middle school.
July - Oregon Country Fair and mosquito attack
August - Trip to Philly and New York, Japanese cities remember getting nuked.
September - Minibean starts high school.
October - Fort Bean is completed. Spirits of dead are appeased at end of month.
November - Too much overtime and Kool-Aid blogging
December - Christmas Revels and more too much overtime

2007 - Snabulus loses tons of weight and is hailed as the awesome programmer of the year for his Project Skookumchuck. Ladybug helps her fellow people and planet and works towards better health. Minibean will kick total ASS in school and have lots of fun. Vulgarius and DaveDave will help the folks in Afghanistan and come home safe and sound with lots of good stories for us. These are my predictions. May they all come true.

I hope your new year brings success and goodness.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Friday Kool-Aid Blogging

This is a pretty good hip-hop song with lots of Kool-Aid footage remixed into the video.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ideally Generous or Just Mixed Up?

Hmm...Snabulus Web Log seems to be languishing...

Recently, inspired by Chris in Manitoba, I tried out what is probably the ultimate online personality test. It's called "PersonalDNA". Not only is it a very in depth test, but it neither insists that you sign up for anything nor bombards you with ads. In fact, it doesn't even ask for your e-mail address.

My result? I'm a Generous Idealist.

When I first read that I thought it extremely ironic, even troubling. The reason is that the last time I had a really heated argument with one of my more chronically vacuous activist-wearing-rose-colored-glasses co-workers he summed up by saying, "I guess I'm an idealist, whereas you are a realist. You want to deal with the world as it is. I want to make it better."

I found that comment ironic, too. I also found it offensive. Actually, I would very much like to help make the world a better place. However, trying to pretend problems don't exist and trying to apply theories that have no firm basis in fact is not going to achieve that goal. A terminal idealist, who lives entirely in a book of philosophies and completely ignores the real world, is worse than useless. On the other hand, a terminal realist, one that is reactionary to the point of being like a frozen moment in time walking on two legs (Kind of a paradox, innit?) isn't of much use, either. There's really a fine line both around and between the two.

So am I really an idealist or a realist? In fact, what is an idealist, exactly? What is a realist? When are they really the same? When are they completely different?

When I came to Japan, was I being an idealist seeking to grow as a person while helping to foster global harmony, or was I a realist doing it for the good salary and points on my resumé? When I married my wife, was I being an idealist bonding with my soulmate or a realist looking for a visa and someone to cook my meals?

When Mozart composed all those tunes, was he being an idealist searching for perfection or a realist out to earn gold? On the other hand, when he kept blowing his (actually quite respectable) salary on parties and his friends, leaving himself almost constantly in debt, was he being an idealist out to enjoy the finer pleasures of life or a realist ensuring his social standing to make his work more marketable?

When the Declaration of Independence was signed, were our founding fathers idealists intent on creating a new country that was a model of freedom and democracy, or were they realists trying to get the British thumb out of the local cash flow? When Abe Lincoln authorized the Emancipation Proclamation, was he an idealist trying to promote equality and justice or a realist trying to boost his reputation to secure votes?

When the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, were the leaders that authorized it idealists interested in saving lives or realists intent on keeping the Soviet Union out of Japan? When the U.S. was employing scorched Earth tactics in Vietnam, were they idealists trying to save the "good" South Vietnamese from "evil" communism or realists intent on keeping capitalist markets open in Southeast Asia?

Was Robin Hood an idealist who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor, or was he actually a realist who robbed from the rich and kept all but a few handouts here and there? For that matter, were any of the "great" radical fighters of history idealists struggling for a just cause or realists simply looking for power? What about Moses? Siddhārtha? Confucius? Chuang Tzu? Lao Tzu? Jesus Christ? Mohammed? Did they all really live for the ideals they represent, or were they just filling a role and reaping the rewards?

This kind of thinking can really make one cynical. If you start believing that no one really lives for anything except material gain you've more or less given up on life. At the same time, however, labeling someone an idealist rather than a realist takes more than a little faith. You have to convince yourself to believe that the person in question really is living for a higher goal than just his stomach, his pocketbook, and/or his bed. Still, when you think about it, a truly capable idealist also has to be a realist at the same time, for only a true understanding of reality can make it possible to put ideals into motion.

Mr. O said I was a realist. This test said I am an idealist. If I'm both, I guess I'm on the right track. After all, sometimes it's ideal to get real.

Hey, Kool-Aid!!!!!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Friday Kool-Aid Blogging

Although it seems that this is a Kool-Aid only blog, I have wanted to put more stuff in here. It is tough when the work days run to 12+ hours though. It isn't as if nothing is happening.

A strong storm ripped through the area last night leaving 375,000 people without power and we might have lost a tree in the back yard. The neighbors definitely lost sizable trees. There was plenty of street flooding as well.

Also, the Portland Revels put on a great Christmas Revels show last weekend. It is a family tradition that we look forward to every year and this year's theme of the holiday season in 12th century France didn't disappoint. Good Yule!

Nonetheless, it is Friday and time for some Kool-Aid blogging.

If you are in Hastings, Nebraska in the summer time, you can join the town in celebrating the birth of the Kool-Aid product at their annual Kool-Aid Days celebration. It is no surprise that they run the world's largest Kool-Aid stand.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday Kool-Aid Blogging

What if Kool cigarettes joined up with Kraft Kool-Aid to market both products? Here is a Kool ad by itself.

The challenge is how to market this...

...and this is the sad result.

...ULead Photoimpact and MS Paint are fun toys.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Friday Kool-Aid Blogging

Apparently, your Kool-Aid questions can be answered at an Internet newsgroup. They developed a FAQ (frequently asked questions) document as shown below:

Welcome to the alt.drinks.kool-aid FAQ, version 7.0!

This FAQ is supposed to be posted roughly every 2 weeks.
It can also be found on the World Wide Web at:

It can be obtained by anonymous FTP at:

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Christmas Ships!

Well, here we are again, and it's time to freeze yer butt off waitin' for the Portland's festive lighted boats wander down the river...(and you can choose the Willamette or the Columbia). Bring your own hot chocolate, hot toddy or "whatever" and all you'll have to pay is for is the gas to get to a dock parking lot! Title bar link takes you to the schedule for both river fleets!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Friday Kool-Aid Blogging


Kool-Aid Photo Archive (caution: this is a Tripod free web site and contains ad-ware popups and annoying dancing baloney)

From the Kraft Foods official Kool-Aid site... Kool-Aid Man's House

Some Random Image Fun

Google Mapping

Taj Mahal

The Great Pyramids

Farking Around

I saw the image below on a forum thread and thought the HP Lovecraft admirers here might enjoy it...good Job Cygnus Darius!!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday Kool-Aid Blogging

How to Tie Dye with Kool-Aid

Also, another short flick...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Mysteries of the Americas, eh.

Between YouTube and Google Maps, you get a barrel full of fun. I received an interesting e-mail from my brother showing a Native American visage in the landscape listening to an iPod.

Zooming out, we find out that this face is in Canada, not the SW of the US or South America. Take off, eh!

My sister then wondered about the Nazca lines in the dry pampas plains of Peru and sent along these links:

Nazca Lines and Culture

UnMuseum: The Lines of Peru

So I went out on Google Maps and looked for some cool stuff on Las Pampas. Clicking on the image will take you to the proper Google map.

Overall View of some Nazca lines

A criss-cross pattern

I almost see something here...

I found this dragonfly all by myself. :D

Cool stuff. If you can find any of the cooler stuff, leave a link in the comments.

UPDATE: Definitely some cool stuff here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

From the Mountains to the Sea

The bosses from work came to town last weekend and we scheduled a day to tour my home region. After giving them some options, we decided on checking out the Mount St. Helens volcano and the Oregon Coast.

The week preceding our day out was rife with heavy rains, mud slides, and road closures. Some of the routes I wanted to take were affected, but I found plan B and alternative routes.

On a showery morning with sun breaks, we drove towards the Coldwater Visitor's Center near Mt St Helens...and we almost made it. However, we ran into this instead...

Our rental SUV, which the salesman assured us was AWD (all-wheel drive) all the time, had front-wheel only drive. When the snow was nearly a foot deep and there was only one set of ruts ahead of us (presumably the park ranger), we decided to head back down. It was sad leaving without seeing the volcano.

However, the views of the Toutle River valley were spectacular.

You can see how the river course was altered by the boiling mud and ash picking up debris and barreling down this valley 26 years ago. It is a good example of how a peaceful place is often made from violent moments in nature. We stopped off and toured the visitor's center at Silver Lake, then it was off to the ocean.

We pulled off the highway in Astoria to get a better view from the town. The streets there are reminiscent of San Francisco with their steep inclines.

We drove through some very heavy showers before reaching Seaside. I pulled off at Avenue U for a first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean.

We shared some space with a large mob of seagulls. Their territorial squabbles made for some interesting bird watching. We then loaded up and continued to Cannon Beach for a late lunch/early dinner. We ate at Mo's...

They are purported to have the "best clam chowder in the world," and it was good, but not the best I've had. The nicest part was watching the heavy surf from the window while we ate and watching the beach shrink as the tide came in. A wedding went on outside while a jet black wall of clouds edged towards us and inland. The couple was apparently from North Carolina and, while I don't know how wise their choice of an outdoor wedding in Oregon in November was, I did admire their pluck and tenacity in gutting out the cold winds and threatening clouds and carrying out the wedding.

After lunch, we drove past Arch Cape, dodged a crumbled lane on Highway 101 (another mud slide effect), through Oswald West State Park, and onto a headland flank of NE-AH-KAH-NIE mountain. From there we viewed a precipitous drop into the ocean...

...and beautiful views of the Nehalem valley beyond.

The watchword was reduced speed and heavy rain traversing the Coast Range of mountains heading back to Portland. There was even a lane closure for mud slide damage there as well. All in all, it was a fun and beautiful trip and Mother Nature cooperated just enough to make it all worthwhile. (That last sentence brought to you by All brand detergents)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday Kool-Aid Blogging

What if the shoe was on the other foot?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday Kool-Aid Blogging

From the Family Guy...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dia de los Muertos

The Day of the Dead, (most often celebrated in the Mexican way) is a holiday I love. It follows the Halloween, and it's a celebratory remembering of relatives and friends who've passed through the veil to the next world. As a child, we only "celebrated" by going to church, but the Latin home-based version is becoming more and more popular, with shops selling the ubitquitous skeleton folk, papel decorations, marigolds, candle and decorated sugar skulls. Here's another take on this holiday from Vancouver, B.C. Of course, a little explanation is in order for non-Catholics. Halloween is an abbreviation of All Hallow's Eve, (with it's present day influences from Ireland-the trick or treat and turnip lantern carving-which evolved into pumpkin carving in the North America), Nov. 1st is All Saint's Day, and Nov. 2nd is All Soul's Day. Think of a Xian Memorial Day in the fall instead of spring, and you've kind of got the idea.

Monday, October 30, 2006

While We're On The Subject of Colors...

What color is your aura?

Gee...why am I not surprised?

Your Aura is Blue

Spiritual and calm, you tend to live a quiet but enriching life.
You are very giving of yourself. And it's hard for you to let go of relationships.

The purpose of your life: showing love to other people

Famous blues include: Angelina Jolie, the Dali Lama, Oprah

Careers for you to try: Psychic, Peace Corps Volunteer, Counselor


This quiz seems just cut out for us!

"What color green are you?"

In my case:

You Are Teal Green

You are a one of a kind, original person. There's no one even close to being like you.
Expressive and creative, you have a knack for making the impossible possible.
While you are a bit offbeat, you don't scare people away with your quirks.
Your warm personality nicely counteracts and strange habits you may have.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Friday Kool-Aid Blogging

Most of us remember the Kool-Aid commercials from the 70s and 80s where the giant pitcher of Kool-Aid busts through some barrier to refresh everyone's thirst.

Once we grew up, some decided to parody that character...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Colorado on the Fly

A few weeks ago, I flew to Colorado to provide software customer support. It was a short-notice flight. I solved their problems quickly and I was fortunate to be able to take my rental car on a short excursion through Boulder and up into the mountains. Unfortunately, I didn't buy my camera until I reached a town called Estes Park. These pictures were taken during an afternoon drive through the Rockies...enjoy.

This is outside of the hotel where the inside shots of The Shining were filmed. Huh? What I mean is that the indoor scenes from the Jack Nicholson film were shot from the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. Oregon lovers know, of course, that the outdoor shots of the hotel were taken at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood in Oregon.

The weather was mostly dry, but sprinkles were always nearby.

This is a view from Lily Lake. It is amazing how quickly one gains elevation here. Lily Lake sits along the highway at just under 9,000m ft (over 2,700 m). The only road in Oregon that I know travelling that high is the one to the top of Steens Mountain and it is NO highway.

Chances are good that the precipitation on Longs Peak was snow. At over 14,000 feet (4,200+ m), it is no surprise.

Part castle, part church...this building sits over a pond and stands out from the autumn colors.

It turns out that the Colorado Blue Spruce grows wild here. Who would have guessed?

...and just as I am running out of film, the sun finally peaks through to turn a small stand of quaking Aspen into a shimmering golden salute to a wonderful afternoon and evening.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday Kool-Aid Blogging

A new tradition begins at Snabulus...Friday Kool-Aid Blogging.

Stay tuned every Friday for more Kool-Aid fun.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Remember that Hike?

Some of you probably remember our short-lived expedition into the Cascade Mountains last July. I think I mentioned that we left some of our film in the back of the truck we hitchhiked back to civilization in. Well, we got it back due to the kindness of others! Some of our disposable cameras are still waiting to be used up before being revealed to us, but I thought I would share a few highlights from the trip.

Ladybug and my brother, Colt45, pose in front of Odell Lake with Diamond Peak in the background. Colt45 was a great sport for carting us around. What a great guy!

This is the peak rising out of the waters of Middle Rosary Lake.

Ladybug rests at the end of a 700 foot (about 200 m) climb out of the lake basin. The 3 Rosary Lakes are visible in the foreground as is our starting place, Odell Lake. The whitish streak in the background near the background mountains is Crescent Lake. Diamond Peak is obscured by trees just outside the right side of the picture frame.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Fort Bean Looks Complete

If you can remember back about a year ago, I was working on Fort Bean. After deciding to rip out our wooden deck, I had what I thought was a brilliant idea to save money and do something useful with all that wood. I saved a small amount of money, but I thankfully burned up a few hundred hours of labor creating an unique space for our daughter, the Bean, to hang out with friends, stash weapons and armor, and other things kids her age like to do. After weathering the rainy season, I waited out a long series of overtime periods at work. The project finally started up again this September.

This is me nailing up wall planks. I ran out of wood before finishing the walls, so I made the decision to use clear, corrugated PVC sheets to finish off the tops of the walls. Since this is a shady spot, the added light was very welcome.

The Bean helped me hang the door and now she has a kinda cool place to roost. The number of imperfections and oopses were nearly infinite, but, in the end, I think it was all worth it. We splurged for some solar-powered lights for the front and interior that charge by day and illuminate by night. Hopefully, they work well.

Fort Bean is christened!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Another One: How White And Nerdy Are You?

Got this one off the same blog. How White & NerdyTM are you? As for me, to my profound surprise:

You are 32% white and nerdy.
How White and Nerdy Are You?

Funny...I expected to be a bit more than that. I guess I should take that as a compliment. :-D