Monday, October 22, 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

Denny's in Tempe, AZ

I was in Tempe, AZ this past week for the ASSETS2007 conference. Across from our hotel was Denny's Restaurant, which offers fine dining experiences across the USA. This was the first Denny's that I'd ever been to, however, that sold hard liquor. I, of course, ordered a $3 whiskey, which the waitress told me was, ahem, Crown Royal. Although now I am somewhat disappointed that I did not order Denny's Champagne.

Radiohead, Exceeding Genius

Radiohead released their latest album In Rainbows last week to much internet fanfare. The album can be purchased online for any amount that the purchaser feels suitable (including $0.00). More info at Wikipedia, which includes some statements from the band on the atypical release:

Explaining the reasons behind the album's unusual delivery, the band's lead guitarist Jonny Greenwood said "partly just to get it out quickly, so everyone would hear it at the same time, and partly because it was an experiment that felt worth trying, really." As for letting people name the price they pay for the album, he said "it's fun to make people stop for a few seconds and think about what music is worth, and that's just an interesting question to ask people."

I tried to pay roughly $20 for my copy but my credit card wouldn't go through (in fact my credit card company put my card on hold after visiting the In Rainbows web purchase site). I noticed on Last.FM this week that Radiohead is the top played band and all 10 of the top played songs are Radiohead. My favorite tracks off the album include Reckoner, All I Need, House of Cards, and Videotape. Like most Radiohead records, this album must be played multiple times before you can fully judge its musical quality.

On Last.FM, Radiohead is the most played artist and has the top 10 most played tracks.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Dave Climbs Mountain, Summits

One of my best friends from high school came to visit me in Seattle. I had long planned to take him on a hike of Mount Pilchuck, a favorite of mine since moving here in 2004. Our other option was Mount Rainier, however a quick check of their website noted snow conditions on the roads and trails so we went with the safer bet. Plus, Pilchuck, in my opinion, offers some of the best views of the North Cascades and the Puget Sound of any hike--and it's fairly low effort. I'd never hiked Pilchuck in the fall, only the summer, so we ran into a few (slightly) unexpected weather-related issues.

The Mount Pilchuck trail is 6 miles round trip with a 2166 ft elevation gain.

The trail starts out below the alpine line with small stream crossings and lush vegetation.

After much debate, we decided to ford the river
(ferries were not within site).

We were probably 0.5 miles into the trail when we began hiking through
low clouds (fog). It created great ambience but I knew at a cost of
seeing the great views Pilchuck had to offer.

The first signs of snow... little did we know...

Dave is holding up pretty well at the 1.0 mile mark.

Snow accumulation continues to increase as we climb.

Some breaks in the clouds allow us to see a partial view of the valley.

The Pilchuck trail can be somewhat strenuous because
of its constant elevation gain.


Another break in the clouds allows us to see what we're up against.

Starting to tire, probably about 3/4ths of the way there (though
admittedly I had been telling Dave that for the past 40 minutes of
the hike to motivate him).


Dave's a trooper hiking through 1.5 feet of slightly packed snow
with only tennis shoes. At this elevation, it was snowing.

After about 2.5 hours of hiking, we made it to the top.

As you can see, the clouds were dense obscuring the 360 degree
panoramic view that typically includes Mount Rainier,
the Puget Sound, and the North Cascades.

I had Dave take this picture because those rocks behind me are the
same ones I am standing on in the picture below
(which I hiked with Danyel in August of 2006).


This picture was taken during my first Mount Pilchuck hike in
August of 2006. More pictures from that hike
here.

We summited Mount Pilchuck.

A manly handshake at the trailhead sign after the hike.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Whose Parrot Had Learned

Classic David Sedaris:

Once, at a dinner party, I met a woman whose parrot had learned to imitate the automatic icemaker on her new refrigerator. "That's what happens when they're left alone," she'd said. It was the most depressing bit of information I'd heard in quite a while, and it stuck with me for weeks. Here was this creature, born to mock its jungle neighbors, and it wound up doing impressions of man-made kitchen appliances.

-From "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim" by David Sedaris in his essay Repeat After Me