Friday, October 29, 2010

Costume Preview

In Nimue's mind, the the creature that most epitomizes evil pestilence while still being cute is the squirrel -- so that's what she wanted to be for Halloween. It took a couple dollars worth of fabric remnants, part of an old pool noodle, some fishing line, a few safety pins, and some face paint.

Halloween Spy

We have a most excellent spider peering into our living room this week.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bike musings for the week

At 42 degrees Fahrenheit, it is cold enough to necessitate gloves for the ride into school. Nim and I discovered this the hard way this morning.

Moment of utter surprise: A Grim Cyclist in full fancy bike kit bedizened with the requisite logos riding along at a fast clip actually came out of his zone and said hi to me as he passed. I usually greet these Grim Cyclists excessively cheerfully in an effort to break through the training gloom (biking should be fun!); it usually doesn't work. This instance was especially unexpected, as I was riding slowly in mom clothes on the commute bike with fully-loaded bags on the back -- a sure indication of inanimate object status in the eyes of the typical too-too-focused Grim Cyclist. Thought I was hallucinating when he happily greeted me...

A prime candidate for Darwin in action: the Stanford student who rode out erratically in front of the truck in the dark the other night -- no lights, no helmet, flip-flops for shoes, all the while yakking on her cell phone. The truly scary thing is that this is not an uncommon occurrence around campus. You'd think they'd have more common sense. Argh.

I helped a rider who had toppled over and gotten tangled with her bike at an intersection near work the other day. Ow. Pay attention!

An entertaining read: Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling. Go find it in your library.

Most charming of all, Chad and Nimue spent quite some time together in the garage cleaning out several years of accumulated gunk from her wheels while I made dinner the other night. It seemed quite educational, and the look of joy on her face as she realized how easily everything now spins as she pedaled out the next morning was delightful. "I'm in gear five and it feels like gear two!!!"


Nimue is a triceratops. She informs me that this type of dinosaur only eats salad "kitty-style". Yet another example of our continuing Calvin-and-Hobbes-esque existence.

Who runs the universe?

The new cat has taken semi-permanent residence behind the computer, as if is her right to run the nerve center of the house. Now if only she was secure enough to make the dash to the litterbox in the garage on her own... (I have to take her there, as she's afraid the Bobber will come molest her while she's doing her business.)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fat Kitty

This one's from Nimue about a year ago, but I still like it!





















Nim's quirky vision


I'm finally getting around to scanning the huge pile of Nim creations from the last year and a half; this poem from last summer is pretty representative of her work.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Inaugurating the truck

Last weekend we headed up to Downieville for some mountain biking. As you can see above, we also used the trip as an excuse to try out the new motor vehicle's capabilities up in the general direction of the Lakes Basin.

You may recall that the last time I rode my bike in the vicinity of what I affectionately think of as Mt. El@#$$@well, I complained about the rocks. They're not really any easier to drive over than to ride on, and I have to say, it's most peculiar to drive one's vehicle through a spot that one really thinks of as only biking and hiking territory.

The road -- or in this case, the obscure Snake Lake OHV trail -- never looks as bad in the photos as it does in real life. This description from the Sierra Outdoor Recreation website says it all: (which incidentally, I ran across after getting home)

......Snake Lake/Little Deer Lake:

4WD, most difficult.

Pack your winches, tow straps, high lift jacks, and travel with another vehicle; you may need them. Going down is easier than up, so driving a loop is very challenging: rocky, narrow, ledgy, constant bouldering, tight turns, and steep. Dropping down from Snake Lake to Gold Valley is the easier route out. Camp at the pretty lakes and try the fishing.

Oops. Not really what we set out to do. At one point, we hit a tricky spot within view of the lake, and used a lot of mind over matter power and all of Chad's careful skills to work through it, only to find that we should have scoped out the next section beforehand. A narrow toothy granitic yaw full of drops, roots, and boulders was just around the corner. Argh.

We later found out that this stretch has a name: The Snake Lake Sluice; Chad found this representative picture of the spot at this site.

Fortunately, there was also an easy place to pull over off the road, which we did, and after fortifying ourselves with lunch, we hiked down to the lake. If you look closely in the picture below, you can see the cute little FJ parked on the side of the road. (about 1/3 of the way down, just left of center).

While Chad and Nim fished and I looked for bugs, we were treated to the entertainment of watching two other vehicles approach the spot, one from each side, and proceed to spend about half an hour discussing and maneuvering through it all. These were tricked-out, jacked-up, heavily-used, real adventure vehicles, and even they had some trouble -- so we didn't feel too bad about our decision to stop while we were ahead with the shiny new truck.

At the end of the day, Chad got to push all the fancy 4WD control buttons and did a fantastic job of driving through the gnarly bits. I directed through the hard sections and drove some of the mellower stuff. Nimue said "Stongman Daddy!" when he lifted a partially fallen tree the necessary extra couple of inches we needed to pass under it. We didn't get stuck. Fun was had.

The truck is now properly dirty and has scrapes on the bottom. As it should be.

The tan color hides the dirt well.

Lest you think we didn't do all our normal Downieville activities too, here's proof that we did:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Too tired to do anything besides take a short ride along the new section of the Bay Trail in Sunnyvale/Mountain View today, but it was scenic, with views of birds and the bay in one direction and Moffett field in the other.