Saturday, October 29, 2016

Goldmyer Hot Spring

 This month for our scout outing we finally made it up to Goldmyer Hot Spring. We've been trying to get here for the last few years and it's never connected. Finally this year we decided to make the reservation in January for our October outing. It was locked in there was nothing that could stand in our way.

I had heard the hot spring itself was cool, but in reality I was unprepared for how fun and cool it actually was. More on that later.

The first part of the fun was the road to the trailhead. According to the Goldmyer website, the Middle Fork Road is very rough and requires high clearance 4x4. That sounds like my kind of place, but usually those types of reports overstate the situation. Luckily, this one did not. It was all sorts of fun getting there. We passed many large holes in the road as well as two pretty good sized washouts.

On the way up we had a pretty constant stream of little misty droplets so I was getting a little nervous about the state of preparedness of the boys. It turned out to be the rainiest backpacking trip I've ever been on. It started raining in earnest 20 minutes into the hike and didn't stop until the early morning. Fortunately we had plenty of tarps.

We had some fun mushrooms growing on the underside of our dinner table log.

This dish was a mixture of two freeze dried meals, one alfredo and one beef strogoff. I called it strogofredo. I can tell you it doesn't make you want to spit it out the second it touches your tongue. They ate it all.

In the morning the rain had quit but everything was still soaked.  I love this Big Agnes Seedhouse tent I got this year. It is MUCH easier to put up than my last tent, which is perfect for when you have to do it in the rain.

 We had a pretty good little tent city going there. You can see everybody standing under our Kelty Noah's Tarp 16. We bought that a number of years ago and we usually don't use it because we don't stay in camps very long and we've had pretty good luck weather-wise. We were very glad to have it this time.

Here are some shots of the hot spring itself. The pools are all manmade, but you can see the hole in the rock in the upper left area of the picture. That's the cave that was hollowed out and then the opening was partially blocked leaving a 30-foot-long hot tub with a cavern ceiling. It was awesome.

This is the changing cabana at the hot spring itself. It's a little ways from the camp area, so it's nice to be able to change into dry clothes before trekking back to camp.

Here's the proof that I was there, too.

I can't wait to go back.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Pack Those Closets

A few weeks ago we decided that now was not the time to build or buy a new house. I couldn't stomach getting a brand new mortgage. The reality, though, remains that the house is pretty small so we have to address that and soon.

So what do you do? Declutter, reduce, organize. Develop a system, use the system.

Step one of that is to perform surgery on our master closet. I've thought for many years that I'd like to put an organizer into our master closet and we decided it could not wait any longer. Sketchup to the rescue.

Once I got it all squared away I decided on how to buy everything. Ended up using the Rubbermaid HomeFree closet system. Lowe's has some pretty good kits in stock, and they had the biggest kit on sale for a really good price. I bought three kits because I have this closet and one other to do. It worked out great.

We decided to paint the walls while we had the closet emptied out. That made the project a lot longer. I probably could have done it all in a day if it wasn't for two coats of paint.

I emptied the closet on Sunday night, Chelsea prepped the walls Monday morning and I painted the first coat Monday afternoon. Tuesday after mutual I ran up to Silverdale because that Lowe's had what I needed, then ran home and rolled on a second coat. Wednesday I started putting the organizer in and that took some time Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (tonight).

My garage is a mess.

I think it turned out pretty good. I left a perfect place to put the gun case which had been clumsy before and I set the height to fit a specific type of tote on the top shelf. It will work perfectly.

Before Painting
 After Painting

 Many shelves

 See, the gun case fits perfectly.

 There's the tote on the top shelf. I'll be buying a few more of those.

I'm glad to be done. Tomorrow it's off to find some bins and totes to complete the organization. This is going to be great.


We LOVE this closet now. It fits more than we thought it would and it has helped us organize our bedroom so well. The only thing we are left to wonder is why we waited so long.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

It's November Again. Almost.

Man, this election year is a doozie, isn't it? I mean every election year is annoying and teaches us a lot about ourselves and our friends and neighbors, but this one...

Now, I'm about to spout off a bunch of political stuff. Please remember that I don't study politics, nor do I consider it a worthy field of study (Note 1), but as a citizen I guess I'm forced to face these clowns. So take my comments for what you will and please remember that nothing I say here will have any affect on the outcome of the election.

So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to tell you why voting for a third party is not a wasted vote and why the major parties want you to think it is. Then I'm actually going to predict the outcome of the election and tell you why I think it will go down like that. Now's your last chance to back out and stop reading.

The Third Party

It has been a long time since both major parties have produced such poor candidates at the same time. I really liked a piece I read in the Chicago Tribune that said this about the republican party (Link): 

"The mystery and shame of Trump's rise — we have red, white and blue coffee mugs that are more genuinely Republican — is the party's inability or unwillingness to repulse his hostile takeover." 

They said this about Hillary: 

"Clinton's vision of ever-expanding government is in such denial of our national debt crisis as to be fanciful. Rather than run as a practical-minded Democrat as in 2008, this year she lurched left, pandering to match the Free Stuff agenda of then-rival Bernie Sanders."

I also don't think we've seen third party candidates this strong in a long time. I particularly like Gary Johnson. He's not perfect, but who is? So we're here at the intersection of poor major party candidates and strong third party candidates. Unsurprisingly, we're starting to see statements from the likes of Bernie Sanders saying you shouldn't vote third party because this is no time for a "protest vote" (As if your only motivation for voting third party was as protest). This could as likely read "I gave this up so my party could win, don't negate my sacrifice." 

I also like this one from the Washington Post . This one states that a third party vote is not only wasted, but unprincipled. I suppose that is to say, "if you vote third party, my candidate may not win and you, therefore, have no principles."    

These kinds of attacks are coming from both parties. This is no surprise. Both parties are scrambling a little because of the situation. Both are losing ground in the polls with the folks who are not on one end or the other of the political spectrum. Both major parties don't want you to believe a third party vote is worthwhile because both realize this is an actual threat. Particularly more this year than it has been in a long time. Largely in contemporary history this is true. When is the last time a third party was on all 50 state's ballots? This year, however, has the potential to be historic. (Indeed, it already has been with the libertarian entry on all ballots and with the non-quality of the major party candidates.)

The bottom line is that I agree with these guys who say that the only truly wasted vote is an unprincipled one. No matter who wins. 
So, now you've come to the part where I predict the future and make other loud-mouthed and uninformed claims.

Who's it going to be. We have a guy who makes no effort to stifle the ignorant things coming out of his mouth, a woman who has shown capability as an administrator, but whose honesty and dedication to national security we are all right to seriously question, and the third party guys. 

I'm only going to talk about Johnson/Weld for two reasons. They are the only third party on the ballot in all states, and I like them the most. Also, I'm not interested in exhaustive research. This is my blog not a newspaper. I can say what I want.

These are two guys that have also shown ability for administration. Johnson did good things as a governor. Now, 2012 taught us that America doesn't care how good you were at being a governor, so that shouldn't matter. He's willing to give it the old college try, and to me that's more valuable than someone like Hillary who can do somethings, but surely has her finger in all the pies.

That being said, I actually think Hillary will win. As many have said, she is better connected, better at politicking, and probably better at rigging elections. I do not think Don will win because I think there are few enough people that are buying into his lines. Now, it seems like the people that like him are the people that have come to feel like they have no voice in politics anymore, the extreme right. 

The real problem with the republican party today is its failure to recognize change in the world and to unify along a common thread to make headway and actually deal with stuff. Instead there is so much in-fighting that the best candidate they can come up with is Donald...F**g...Trump. 

So, I think that Hillary will win and Johnson will come in second. And this may mark an inflection point on the demise of the republican party. A turning point election where it became doubly clear that new thought processes are required to meet new challenges. 

Remember, just because the two parties have been the main parties for decades, that doesn't mean they didn't at one point supplant another party. It's happened a few times in American history and saying it's impossible is foolish.

Thanks for reading. I'll be watching on election day.

Note 1: Please don't take offense. Study something good like history, economics, art, physical science. This is where the answers to political questions are found.