Sunday, April 10, 2016

It's Been a Long Time...Again

So, I haven't blogged in...forever.

Almost two and half years since my last post. Life is relatively the same. A little older. A little balder. A bit beard-ier. Much heavier.

Let's do an easy return post, a list of things that have been on my mind recently.


Ah...Facebook. The website we love to hate. In the old days, Facebook was a great way to keep up with old friends. Who's doing what? Where did so-and-so go again? What's who's-his-face up to? In the past few years I have noticed a shift in how Facebook is used. It's now mostly reposts of stuff we find on the Internet, pithy sayings, quizzes, click bait, or even worse, reposts from other Facebook pages. I am as big as an offender of this as anyone else in this respect, but I say "No more!"

From this day forward, I vow to only post personal stuff on Facebook. Pictures of me (like the beauties I posted earlier today), my random thoughts, and links to this blog when I update it. If you see me posting anything that isn't a direct connection to me or something I create, call me on it!


I'm a big fan of the beard. I like my beard. I enjoy the length of the beard, but not, as I call it, the "Duck Dynasty" beard. I've had the beard trimmed twice now by a barber and it is quite a nice experience. Having been a baldo for the past 15 years or so, it's nice to go sit in a barber chair and have someone cut your hair. With summer coming, I am not sure if I will be keeping the long beard. I guess we will find out in a few months!


Since I last posted, I started brewing beer. It's a fun hobby that incorporates a few of my favorite things: science and beer! I'm still brewing extracts and mostly from kits, but I am enjoying taking a batch of ingredients and putting them all together to make something new. Thanks to Malia for the idea and my brewing mentors Bill, Dan, and Ben for the advice and help. Brewing with friends is way more fun than brewing alone!

So far, I have only brewed dark beers which are very forgiving to impurities of color. My brew list includes:

Red Ale
Imperial Stout
Honey Porter (which was really more of a Brown Ale)
Pumpkin Ale
Root Beer Ale
Black Lager

Next up is my first light beer, an American Cream Ale. The other beer I have brewing in my mind is a Golden Stout. This will be a fun experiment that I will probably do late in the summer so it is ready for the fall. Before that I will probably tweak the Root Beer Ale and make that again. It's a favorite, but the artificial sweetener is a bit too strong for me.

The other thing about brewing beer is I have saved quite a bit of money on buying beer. It's cheaper to make it than it is to buy it. Plus, when you know people who brew, there are lots of exchanges happening, so I get to try other peoples beer as well!

However, the money I am saving on not buying beer is being used to buy equipment to make beer, so there is that. The next thing I need to do is build a Keezer so I can switch from bottling to kegging.


Sigh...the never ending battle for me. Currently I am up to my highest weight ever, which is very depressing. Before you say it, it has nothing to do with making beer. I give most of what I make away honestly, My beer consumption is one, maybe two a week, so I don't think that is adding too many calories to my diet.

I've tried a few different "diets" since my last post, and while the idea behind the Paleo/South Beach/ Low Carb diet works for me, it's just way too hard to stick to. I honestly think I might be addicted to sugar. I tried something called "Intuitive Eating" as well. That was a complete and utter disaster! Intuitively, I don't know what to eat. As Malia says, I need rules!

So here are the rules I will be following:

1) Low carb breakfast: eggs, some sort of breakfast meat, small glass of juice, and a cup of coffee with cream and Stevia.
2) Fruit or veggie snack
3) Big ol' salad with some sort of protein
4) Fruit and protein snack
5) Big ol' salad before the main course
6) Smaller sized plate for dinner
7) Small dessert treat of some kind (maybe)

The other thing I need to add is daily walking. I am in really bad shape. I've tried various other exercises, but I am so out of shape that anything I do hurts my body. Riding the bike hurts my torn calf. I pulled my IT band trying to jog. I re-injured my shoulder lifting weights. So for now, it's just walking. Every. Day. The dog will be happier for it as well as getting me a little more active. Once I start feeling better, I will start adding some light weight lifting again, and then maybe the stationary bike. It's going to be a long process. I'm going to try the calorie counting thing using the My Fitness Pal app to help keep track of everything.

Growing Old 

So besides the body falling apart because I haven't taken care of it, I am getting old. My oldest is driving now. He just got his permit a few weeks ago, but already he is doing quite well. It's hard to believe I have a son old enough to drive. Next school year I will be the parent of High Schoolers. That just blows my mind. I can't believe I will have a Junior and a Freshman. Where did the time go?

Home Remedies

Speaking of growing old...

As I have gotten older I find I am self medicating some medical problems. Besides the two doctor prescribed medications I already take, I have added a few other items to my daily routine.

In the morning and evening I take a dose of Saint Johns Wort to counteract depression like symptoms. It is the one thing that the dietitian I was seeing recommended that actually worked. I add it to a small glass of lemonade and it kills two birds with one stone, because I drink the lemonade to help fight the kidney stones I was getting.

Besides those two, I take Lipo-Flavinoid Plus for Tinnitus. I have a constant ringing in my left ear. Some days it is unbearably loud and drives me to the point of distraction and irritability. Since I started taking this a month ago, the symptoms are not as strong. Sometimes, I don't even hear it at all. Let me tell you, that has been a huge relief.

The latest thing I have added to my daily routine is Epicor. It's main use is as an antioxidant that helps improve the immune system. It also helps to fight allergies, which for me are kicking into high gear. Thanks, tree pollen! Since I started taking this, my allergy symptoms have minimized.

Wrap Up

There ya go, a few things that have been bouncing around in my head the past few days/weeks. Trying to think of a format for the blog. The lists I did were fun, but only so many things to list. Maybe I will do some "Geek Culture" posts. Lots of thoughts on movies that have come out recently, maybe some posts on that. Board games. Definitely some board game posts.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Aloha means Hello and Goodbye!

...we were leaving The Big Island and headed to Oahu.

Crazy times getting out of Kona. Our plane was super late and no way to contact anyone inside the terminal without going back through security, and no one was answering the phones when I called. After looking up the airline, they have a really poor record for on time service.

After a little crisis involving our rental car, we were finally on the ground in Oahu and headed to our condo in Pulaluu. This was the exact same property Malia had stayed at with her family over 20 years ago, so it was a homecoming of sorts for her. We stayed in a different condo, but it was exactly as she remembered.

That night we drove to find a place to eat, and ended up at a place we lovingly called Jesus' Burger. It looked like a quaint little drive up burger stand. Horrible food and the atmosphere was...interesting. Eating in a room festooned with Biblical quotes was odd. So, we finished up and headed out quickly.

Sunday was Father's Day. Kind of a weird day since I wasn't with the boys, and I was feeling kind of blue. So, what do I do when I am feeling blue? Get a Disney fix. But where to get a Disney fix on Oahu?

Oh yeah, that's right!

One word describes this place. Wow. The grandeur of this hotel is just mind boggling. Sadly, I can't afford to stay there, but holy cow, just getting to walk around it was impressive as all get out. Disney magic extends all the way to the islands. If I ever do get to stay here, it will be a great experience.

Looking out at the water park that makes up the middle of the hotel. In the distance you can see the ocean. They have their own private beach and cove here as well. Just crazy!

Me and my friend Stitch.

The next day we decided to head over to the Dole Plantation and learn everything we could about pineapples, because, you know, pineapples.

It was an interesting tour and I did learn quite a bit about pineapples, the pineapple industry, and the history of the islands at the same time.

This guy wanted to eat lunch with us. We politely declined.

I didn't know there were more than one type of pineapple, but there are, including this red variety!

The next day was a lounge around the condo day, so a perfect day for toes in the sand.

We spent the next day in Honolulu and did some touristy things, including driving up to this vantage point on the Pali Highway. 

Very beautiful view over the island...

but very windy!

Our last full day on the island was spent at The Polynesian Cultural Center. It was a really cool place, but you need more than one day to experience it all. Had I known that, I would have scheduled a second day there, especially since you get a free second day admission when you buy a one day ticket with the tour. Disappointing to learn that AFTER we had already scheduled our visit for our last day on the island. Below are just a few of the pictures from there.

Statutes in front of the PCC.

A very beautiful sight. And the waterfall is okay as well.

Full head tattoo.

Derp faces before the night show at the PCC.

On our flight home, we had an empty seat between us so we had some room to stretch out, as well as being an emergency exit seat, so we had even more room! Woot!

Coming home was nice, but I do miss the islands. We had a really nice time and I am looking forward to going back. Noah wants to go there for his high school graduation present. We shall see!

After coming back from Hawaii, we had a few weeks and then the boys and I were off to Camp Fleischmann for a week of Boy Scout camp.

It was an okay experience, but didn't quite go the way I had hoped. The boys had a fun time though, and that's what counts.

Here is Marc during the Polar Bear Swim. He got out there every morning at 6 AM and jumped into the lake. Crazy boy, but the water was warmer than the air temp!

Here the boys are getting ready for the flag ceremony.

My (not so) award winning, but pretty darn tasty, chili.

Noah and his wilderness survival shelter.

The funniest part of the trip was when we were leaving, the camp director and I were talking about next year and I said something to the effect of "See ya next year!" and his reply was, "Maybe with a different troop?" We both got a laugh out of that, but just 3 months later, we have registered our new troop and will hopefully be at Camp Fleischmann next year with Troop 46.

The same day I came home from camp, I hopped in the shower, got all the Camp Fleischmann dirt off of me, put on my clean clothes, grabbed my bag, jumped in the car, and drove to the airport to catch a flight to Seattle.

Sunday morning was the usual music lessons for John and the little druid, while Jean and I watched the guys in the glass blowing shop do their thing.

John serenading us on the ukulele.

That night John and I were in the city for the album release show for one of my favorite bands, Kirby Krackle. on of the greatest providers of nerd rock the world has ever seen. 

Lead singer Kyle Stevens, playing an acoustic version of their song, "Up, Up, Down, Down"

Opening act Molly Lewis. She was good. I thought she set a good tone to start the show.

Second act was a band called H2 Awesome (more like H2 Okay). Maybe their are better recorded. I wasn't quite into them.

Third act was a band from Portland, The Doubleclicks. Yes, the girl on the left side of the picture is playing the cello. They have some really fun songs. I liked them a lot.

The main act was so much fun. I enjoyed their set quite a bit, although if if were me, I would have picked a different selection of songs from the new CD to play as well as a few different older songs. Good stuff, though.

For the final song of the night, all the bands got on stage and sang "Take on Me" by Ah Ha! It was pretty funny.

Later in the week John and I visited the EMP to check out the Sci-Fi and Fantasy World exhibit. It was pretty cool.

Here I am sitting upon The Iron Throne in my House Krackle shirt, with their Narwhal sigil.


Look, up in the sky!

Simon Pegg's shirt from Shaun of the Dead.

A cool quote.

By the time I got home from Seattle, it was time for Malia to go in for her surgery and summer was basically over.

So, there ya go, Summer-palooza Blog Post. Hope you enjoyed it!

Interruption in service

Hi! I missed a few days. Sorry about that. I got super busy Thursday night. Then Friday and Saturday I was camping at Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park with the Scouts. Sunday night was World of Warcraft night with friends. Monday night I was hopped up on goofballs because I had an MRI and my shoulder hurt like crazy. Went to bed early and watched a few episodes of Arrow. Pretty good from what I can remember.

Anyway, I will be posting a massive Summer Vacation Extravaganza post later this morning!

Until then? Learn something new and post it in the comments.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Aloha, Places!

Okay, so back to Hawaii...Sigh...I wish.

I talked about Hawaii Island Retreat a little bit, but let me tell you more about it. It is an amazing little Eco-friendly boutique spa retreat on the north shore of the Big Island. Beautiful building, beautiful grounds, amazing views, and they believe in sustainable living. They grow most of their own food, and what isn't grown on the grounds, is purchased locally (though I did see a few Costco boxes lying around...).

View from below the hotel, looking down at the ocean.

This is a picture of a place where King Kamehameha is believed to have held council meetings. 

This is was a really pretty picture that I didn't frame correctly.Their are two full rows of trees that lead down to the big rock. Off to the left there is a three leveled terrace that is where dancers are believed to have performed for the King and his court.

This little one was one of the many goats that are kept on property to provide milk for the amazing goat cheese and other dairy product. She was a fan of having her chin rubbed and not between her ears like the other goats.

A view over the meadow where the cows live, looking out at the ocean.

The shoreline below the cliff from the picture above.

While on the Big Island we saw two waterfalls. The first was Akaka Falls, a place recommended to us by our chef/guide at the retreat named Mo. Mo gave us really good advice. Most of the time...

Some of the plants on the way to the falls.

A wildlife specimen headed towards the falls. Oh...wait...

Akaka Falls

More plant life along the trail away from the falls.

Rainbow Falls

Crazy staircase and railings headed to the falls.

Cool tree/trees near the falls.

More wildlife at the falls. Oh...wait...

Looking down from the top of the falls. (Yes, I took that picture!)

Crazy guy at the top of the falls.

The next day was a snorkeling and volcano day. The snorkeling was a disaster, and the one really bad piece of advice we got from Mo. It took us forever to get to the place where we were supposed to snorkel from. Then, I found that our gear was broken, but we were told we could snorkel a short way out to see dolphins, so we decided to plow through. That was a bad idea. Malia got caught up in the rocks, and I lost my dad's ring all in a matter of minutes.

A very nice man looked for the ring for like 20 minutes with no luck. He took my number and said he'd call me. He actually did call me in August to say he was sorry, but he hadn't found it yet and was headed back to Oregon, but that he had friends that would keep an eye out for it. Crazy nice guy.

After that disaster, we stopped at the Punalu'u Black Sand Beach Park to see what we could see.

Fabulous photography job by yours truly.

Beautiful black sand beach.

These guys were all over the place. I zoomed in to get a good picture of him. Other people were less able to read the signs apparently, because they got all up in their shells.

As you can tell from my hair in this picture, it was SUPER windy.

After we left here we went to the volcano. Sadly when we got there it was raining, so we didn't get to do much exploring or picture taking. This is the one picture I took.

Kind of cool, but it was not as cool as I'd hoped it would be.

By the time we were headed to see the lava flow, it was pouring rain and it just wasn't worth it for the long drive to stay in the car. We had had enough of a crappy day that we turned the car around and headed back to the north shore of the island. You'd be surprised how low long it can take to drive around the Big Island. 

This was the day we stopped in Waimea. I think if I was to live anywhere in Hawaii, it would be here. It is called "Cowboy Country" for a reason. Rolling hills, fields of green grass. You'd never know you were on an island, until you looked into the distance and could see the ocean.

I think that's why I liked it so much. Truly the best of many worlds. Living in Nevada for so long, I get antsy when I am away from mountains. Not sure why that is, but it's true. I still have Waimea marked as a favorite on my Weather Channel app on my phone, even though I will probably never get back there.

The next day was our kick around the North Shore Day. Had an early morning couple's massage appointment that turned into two individual appointments due to the rain. It was a weird experience. The young lady who gave me my massage was very good (I guess. I don't really have anyone else to compare her to since I'd never had a professional massage before.). 
After that we went into the nearest town, Haw'i and walked around the shops and ate lunch. Across the street we saw The King, so we had to get our pictures taken with him. In all we saw 3 of the 4 statues of King Kamehameha. The only reason we didn't see the 4th one is because it is in Washington, DC.

"Thank you, thank you very much!" Oh...wait...wrong King.

Pineapple plants on the grounds at the retreat.

More pineapple plants.

After kicking around the town we went back to the hotel and lounged by the pool. It was a great day.

Our private pool for the week. It was really relaxing.

Tomorrow, I'll pick up with our trip on Oahu.

I've been holding it together food-wise this week. Not over eating, adding back in more veggies, no junk food, etc, and it is showing. Sunday had me clocked in at over 237. Today, I was reading just over 231. I know it's mostly water, but still it's good to see that scale dip down again. I'm really looking forward to getting back to the low 220s, because I want to start wearing more of the shirts I got while in Hawaii! I came home with a new wardrobe! I'll add those shirts in on another days blog.

I'll wrap it up with the food diary for today. It looks oddly similar to the last few days.

Food Diary for Wednesday the 9th of October

Breakfast: 2 eggs, over easy, fried in bacon grease
                 2 slices of Canadian Bacon
                20 oz of Coffee with Mint and Chocolate Liquid Stevia Sweetener

AM Snack: 1 stick of Solstice Sugar Free Gum
Lunch: 2 Tiki Masala Drumsticks
           Big Ol' Salad w//Blood Orange and Black Currant Balsamic Vinaigrette

PM Snack: 2 stick of Solstice Sugar Free Gum
Dinner:  Philly Stuffed Bell Peppers

Water: About 60 oz

Sleep: about 8 hours of sleep

Exercise: Normal walking around

Until we meet again, be good to yourself!