Saturday, September 30, 2006

Optimal Age

I saw this chart on Joystiq and thought it was amusingly accurate.

Sadly, these days I am well past the 'optimal age' intersection.

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Friday, September 29, 2006


I'm not a real big fan of heights. I don't mind roller-coasters, elevators, or other things where I am fairly securely strapped in. I can even climb on a roof if it is absolutely necessary and ideally a roof with a relatively gentle slope, but other then that I try to stay away from things that aren't very close to the ground. Because of this, I am always amazed by people who wash windows or shingle roofs for a living. Its a job I just wouldn't be capable of doing.

A few days ago, the house behind us had it's roof replaced. Linzy and I didn't even know they were considering a replacement until a squadron of roofers showed up. They managed to do the entire house (which is fairly big, with much more roof surface area then my house) and the shed in one day.

That sort of speed is pretty typical I suppose, but it was pretty amazing to watch how fast the 6-7 guys were, and the definite system that was in use (two guys just carrying shingles, two guys just laying shingles, one guy doing all the cuts, etc). What was really amazing was watching them do the shed.

By the time they got to the shed, it was starting to get dark, and they were noticeably hurrying. So much so that they wouldn't even carry packs of shingles around the house to the shed, but were instead heaving them across the gap from the house to the shed (where someone was nailing them down as fast as they could). Standing on the edge of a second story, heaving shingles with two-hands across a gap seemed somewhat risky to me.

Until they started jumping the gap.

Yes, instead of walking back to the front of the house and climbing down the ladder, the guys were leaping from the second story of the house onto the single story shed. And it wasn't even like they didn't want to have to move the ladder, there was already one setup on the shed. They just didn't want to waste the time walking back to the front and then back around the house.

And that's why I'll never be able to be a roofer. Because getting your roof done in a single day just isn't that important to me. I'll come back tomorrow, or bring a halogen work light before I risk a broken leg and/or death by leaping down 6 feet and over 4.

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Books: Phantom

Several weeks ago I finished reading the latest Terry Goodkind book: Phantom. I've been delaying writing anything about it for a variety of reasons and eventually just forgot about it. I only recalled tonight when I went to write something about the latest book I finished, and was trying to figure out why it took 6 weeks to read.

As I've exhaustively covered previously, I used to really enjoy Terry's books. But of late I've been reading them more out of duty then anything else, with a slim hope that he might turn things around eventually.

Unfortunately Phantom did nothing to change my opinion of Goodkind's recent books.

The book continues but does not complete a storyline (an invasion by an evil force) that has been going on for 6 or 7 books now. That would be fine, except that instead of advancing the plot Terry Goodkind spends half the book laboriously reminding us just how evil the invasion force is. Over, and over. And then just when you think you are through it, again, the characters sit and philosophize about the matter for another 20 pages.

We get it. They're evil. And not the 'I want to be good, but I make wrong choices' kind of evil, or 'I have slightly suspect' ethics evil. Full-on evil. They are invading the world and killing and enslaving everyone after all, of course their evil. I'm sure they have some vague justification for why their way isn't 'evil', most evil people do. It doesn't matter to me. I'll consider them the bad guys, just get on with the story already.

Sadly, there were hardly any redeeming qualities to the book, other then that it appears Terry Goodkind is getting dangerously close to having to resolve the storyline in the next book. That, and the fact that the books relatively frequently is not exactly a glowing endorsement.

Unless you've read the other 9 books in the Sword of Truth series, I can't really recommend Phantom. And if you've already read the other nine books, then you probably aren't surprised by this review at all.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006


When I was a kid, my sister and I had to bring our lunches to school most of the time, as we were only allotted (IIRC) two 'hot' lunches a week, where we could buy whatever school was serving. When we made our lunches at home, we weren't allowed to bring pop as the beverage, but rather brought Minute-Maid 100% juice boxes.

Juice boxes were actually somewhat rare. Most kids who brought their lunch brought Capri-Sun juice pouches, as they had much cooler Saturday morning cartoon-commercials and, all-importantly, contained extra sugar (which is precisely why we weren't allowed to bring them). The thing I remember most about Capri-Sun pouches was that they were virtually impossible to open.

The small plastic straw was supposed to be used like a spear to poke a hole through the pouch into the juice. In theory at least. To actually get this to work required a careful combination of skill and luck, as if you stabbed too softly with the straw it just bent and failed to break through the foil-ish wrapper. If you stabbed too hard, you'd go right through the back of the pouch. If you were squeezing the pouch too tightly, juice would spurt all over when you finally did break through. It was a very delicate operation. At least for those of us who didn't do it every day.

What does this have to do with anything, you might ask?

Well, this weekend Cub was running a promotion and so Linzy brought home a big carton of free Minute Maid juice pouches. Yes, even Minute Maid has switched to pouches now to compete with the Capri-Sun juggernaut (I assume). So now we've had the opportunity to discover that juice pouches are still impossible to open.

Amusingly the Minute Maid carton prominently displays 'Easy to Open', yet neither Linzy nor I were able to open the first pouch without reaching for the scissors. And when I had problems again tonight when I was doing the dramatic re-enactment.

You'd think 20 years later, someone would have invented a truly easy-to-open juice pouch. I guess not.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006


In general, I like being productive.

That probably doesn't really come as much of a surprise to anyone who has been around me for any length of time, or watched me pack my free time with activity after activity.

But I noted it this weekend, when I was busy working on cleaning the house. As I was working on the task, I was thinking about what my least favorite thing was and concluded that it was probably dusting. Both because it is tedious and almost immediately rendered ineffective once the dust resettles, but also because I'm horribly allergic to dust mites and so stirring them up makes me sick after a while.

Anyway, thinking about what I liked least naturally led to trying to come up with what I liked best. Now, there wasn't really much to choose from, other then the obvious 'seeing the house nicely clean afterwards'. But upon thinking about it, I concluded that there is actually something I like better then that:

The time after I've cleaned all the bathrooms and mopped all the floors, and I have nothing to do but wait for everything to dry so I can do the vacuuming and be done.

You see, for those 30-45 minutes I can freely sit around and do whatever I want, but yet I am still accomplishing something. So I can feel productive, but at the same time be slacking off doing any number of unproductive things. Plus, at that point all the hard work is done, so I know the task is virtually complete.

I thought it was an interesting observation.

In self-defense, I should also point out that this isn't to say that I have some hyper-activity disorder and am constantly twitching and trying to do a million things at once. Once I've gotten my self-assigned tasks completed, I'm fairly good at sitting around accomplishing nothing of importance. But I do like to get those tasks out of the way first.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Movies: 16 Blocks

Last night I watched 16 Blocks. The movie had actually been at our house for quite a while, after a Netflix queue mix-up (mine, not Netflix's) and we had a couple other movies to watch first. I didn't really know what to expect, as I knew nothing about the film. It turned out to be surprisingly enjoyable.

Initially the film made me pretty apprehensive, as it starts extremely slowly. But after a bit things picked up and it turned around. The basic plot is that an old world-weary cop gets stuck escorting a witness who is needed in court, 16 blocks away (thus the title), in a little under 2 hours. Things of course go horribly wrong, and the rest of the movie is a crazy chase through the streets and buildings of New York City.

Interestingly, the actual chase isn't really the main point of the movie, but rather it is a movie about the characters involved, from the cop, to the witness, to the people chasing them. And I thought it was pretty well done.

It certainly wasn't the best movie I've ever seen, but I liked it.

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Brenden's Birthday

Tuesday was Brenden's 30th birthday. Since he was in Austin the previous weekend, that meant that Saturday was his annual Brenden's Beer and Bowling Birthday Bash. This being the big Three-Oh, it was even more of a blow-out then previous years.

There was a very impressive turn-out at the party, including some friends from high-school I haven't seen in probably close to 10 years. It was fun to talk with them, as well as everyone else who showed up.

Linzy found a great card to give Brenden, one that featured Spinal Tap on the front, and played "Tonight I'm going to rock you, Tonight" when opened (the Spinal Tap song that will be in Guitar Hero 2). Inside it said "No matter how old we get, we'll always have fun playing together", which was perfect considering all the time Brenden and I have spent playing Guitar Hero against each other. In fact, we did get roped into demonstrating our Guitar Hero-on-expert skills at the party, where Brenden promptly waxed me at two consecutive songs before letting me pick the song so I could pick up at least one win.

Andy, Rebbecca and Brenden sharing a laugh.

After dinner, a little less then half of the group headed over to Brunswick Zone for the bowling portion of the bash. The Brunswick zone turned out to be a surprisingly good deal, charging just $14 for all the bowling you could fit in in 2 hours and letting us bowl with just 4 people per lane.

Chris bowling, after having proved his dominance with back-to-back 170s in the first two games.

My first game I bowled a 144, and followed it up with a frustrating 142. After the 5th frame of the third game, I announced that I was splitting the difference and going to get a 143 in the final game. And lo-and-behold I did it, carefully crafting the necessary spare-6 in the final frame after I over-estimated the need to 'fall off' the pace I was on previously.

Since Linzy of course can't bowl with her back, she was the official heckler.

Kaari and Brenden preparing for a chest-bump.

Me and the Birthday Boy.

Unfortunately for Brenden, Karri, Katie, Abbey, and Robin decided the Beer portion of the BBBBB was too weak, and proceeded to feed him shots all night long. It was like a 21st birthday party all over again. I can honestly say it was the first time since college that I've heard "cement-mixer" mentioned as a possible shot. And that was actually brought up several times during the night, though no one actually followed through on the threat.

Brenden and Linzy with Jager Bombs, Brenden's new favorite shot. Or perhaps it was just the least-offensive tasting shot he had all night. It's almost the same thing.

Brenden and Katie doing shots. This one happened to be the infamous "Goldschlager and Jager" shot which was produced when Katie ordered "Something icky" for Brenden. Rumor has it that fit the 'icky' bill quite well.

The aftermath of Brenden's final shot, which for various reasons did not really go all that well. We'll leave it at that.

The Worst Bartender Ever - Steve.

He apparently wasn't aware that tips are a major source of his income, because he was a complete jerk. Apparently earlier in the night Robin was yelling when Brenden took a shot and Steve ripped into her saying "People don't come here to listen to your screaming". Well, they don't come for his attitude either.

After I took this picture, Steve spent a while complaining about the 'too bright flash'. Once we tired of Grumpy Bartender Steve, Brenden wanted to go play some DDR and so that's what we did. And by we, I mean Brenden and Katie.

Brenden and Katie playing DDR.

Stretching before a game of DDR prevents pulled hammies. Unless you pull it while stretching, of course.

It is too bad that more people weren't able to join us for bowling, but it ended up being a really fun night regardless. That still doesn't mean I'm looking forward to my 30th birthday, however.

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Friday, September 22, 2006

End of an Era

Today was my last day at my job, after nearly 6.5 years. It was a decidedly strange experience.

In some ways today was just like any other. I got paged onto conference calls for support issues, helped investigate a couple strange issues, and answered questions. But otherwise I pretty much just spent the day talking with soon-to-be-former co-workers and cleaning up my cube where I had accumulated a surprising amount of junk.

The whole thing was a little awkward, kind of scary, and at the same time exciting. It was certainly satisfying to slap my pager on the table during the exit interview with my boss. I should have asked how much the fine was if I had 'lost' it, so I could have taken it out to the parking lot for a little Office Space-esque fun.

Monday I'll start the new job and a new era. I'm looking forward to it.

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Bad Feed

I noticed today that my atom.xml feed apparently stopped working at some point. I'm not sure who, if anyone, reads my daily ramblings through an RSS reader, but you haven't been getting the new posts for who knows how long (and probably aren't getting this one either I suppose).

I'll e-mail Blogger about the problem, but in the meantime if you are using an RSS reader (like say RSS Bandit, or Thunderbird), you probably should switch the feed over to new feed address:

Sorry for the trouble.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Driveway Update

Over a month ago, I missed a day of posting (which Linzy gave me a hard time about) because I was busy trying to figure out how I was going to fix the problem of our driveway crumbling into the foundation blocks. Unfortunately, the driveway hasn't actually been fixed yet. But I did do quite a bit of further research on the problem, and made a decision as to how it could be fixed.

I eventually decided just to get an entirely new driveway put in. I even called and lined up the repair company on the way to Brainerd, which was world-record speed for an Eck to hire anyone to do expensive work. Replacing the entire driveway is obviously the most expensive option for repair. However, I had some concerns about all of the other options.

First, there was the cheapest (money-wise, not labor-wise) option of fixing the problem myself by filling the foundation blocks with something and then re-patching the gap with cold asphalt filler. The two options for filling would be sand or concrete.

Filling with concrete is a problem because the gap isn't really wide enough across most of the driveway to be able to get more then about an inch of access to the open foundation block. So it is going to be very hard to get the amount of concrete necessary into all the blocks, through a gap 1-inch wide.

Filling with sand seems more do-able through the small gap, but I have concerns about the sand eventually sliding away over time and the problem coming back. This was confirmed when every contractor I talked to about the problem who said they would fill the block with sand/class 5 also listed what they would 'cap' the blocks with. This varied from metal flashing to asphalt shingles (that I didn't expect), to an inch of concrete. The material varied, but all wanted to put something over the top to protect against the sand falling away. Which means to me that it will fall away eventually.

The problem in my case is that I would only be able to cover a one-inch portion of the top of the block, leaving the rest of the block open to further erosion of the driveways base over time. After all, this is precisely what happened on the problem side of the driveway, where I 'capped' the block with a 1x2.

So, I concluded if I was going to fill the block, I was going to have to cut away the driveway further from the garage, which was something I don't want any part of. At that point, I decided I was going to have to hire someone.

That still left two options, either getting just a concrete apron installed or getting the complete driveway.

The problem with the concrete apron was two-fold. First, a portion of the walkway that connects the front door to the driveway is also sinking just a bit. It is no problem with a driveway, because the asphalt can be shaped so there is no lip. However, if I put in a concrete apron just over the driveway, there would be a 1/2 lip specially designed for injuries while walking on the walkway in front. So that means in addition to an apron, they would also have to redo at least a piece of the walkway at the same time which increases the cost.

The other problem with the apron is that it doesn't address any of the other problems with the driveway that are starting to crop up, like drive lanes and some minor cracking. None of these problems are really all that bad, but they could mean that in 5 years the driveway might have to be replaced anyways. And at that point the presence of an apron isn't going to significantly lower the price of the replacement.

So, in the end, I decided that I would rather just pay a little more now and have the whole driveway replaced, which solves all the problems at once and spares me from the frustration of trying to shove a couple yards of concrete through a minuscule gap or gambling on whether we will move within the lifetime of the current driveway.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Brainerd Vacation: Saturday

After the late night on Friday, Linzy and I got up around 9 to start making breakfast for everyone. Unsurprisingly, quite a few people weren't exactly jumping out of bed.

We had planned on making pancakes, fresh fruit and bacon for breakfast. The first problem turned out to be the terrible selection of pans in the cabin that made pancake-making pretty much impossible. After a call to the office to get a slightly less abused pan, and the liberal use of oil Linzy was able to produce some good pancakes.

I was put in charge of making the bacon. I'm not sure that I've ever made real bacon (normally we get the pre-cooked microwave kind if any at all).

Frying bacon turned out to be about as easy a task as can be, and I started working my way through the piles of bacon. Three pounds of bacon to be exact. And let me tell you, cooking 3 pounds of bacon 6 half-strips at a time in a tiny pan takes a long time. A really long time.

I spent the next 90 minutes of my life cooking bacon. People drifted in and out, some eating, some making themselves something else to eat, and others just hanging out looking ill. At one point I thought we were going to have way too much food (particularly the bacon) and then the next minute we were nearly out of everything.

That's Gerard in his makeshift bed of two chairs pushed together. We had nicknamed it the crib the previous night. After trying it out for a night he said it felt more like a coffin, because there wasn't enough room to move. The 'coffin' nickname stuck.

After breakfast, Felicia and Anita wanted to go back to Pirate's Cove since we had been talking it up and they hadn't been able to go with the previous night. So Linzy, Mike, Wes, Gerard and I went with them for a second round of mini-golf.

Mike, Felicia and Anita playing mini-golf.

The course was just as much fun the second time around, even though we ended up playing the same 18 holes we had played the day before. The place was absolutely packed, as a huge group of kids from a local reservation were there on a group outing.

Gerard, laughing off his gentleman's 8 and giving me a subtle sign that in reality maybe he doesn't appreciate me documenting the moment.

Midway through the round, the second casualty of the weekend occurred, when I dropped our camera (Yes; The one I just paid to get fixed). I had been taking a picture of someone golfing, and then was trying to get out of the way, bumped into someone and dropped the camera. With the lens extended. On the lens.

Likely the last picture ever taken with our camera.

At first I thought everything was OK, as the camera was still on and seemed to take the picture fine. But afterwards I realized I couldn't get the lens to go back into the camera because the top half was bent at an angle relative to the other half. After jiggling and pushing on it for a bit (that's a well-known camera repair technique) I was able to get the lens straightened, but it still wouldn't retract.

After mini-golf Mike, Linzy and I did the go-carts again. This time I managed to pass Mike and retain the lead even through near-accidents. In fact, this time I passed Mike during a near spin-out by a cart we were lapping and then barely avoided t-bone-ing the same cart the next lap when he spun out in exactly the same spot. Unfortunately, Linzy's cart was acting up and stalled twice during the race. It ended up dying on the last lap, which was kind of disappointing.

After go-karts Linzy and I grabbed lunch, and ran some errands in town. Then we got a quick nap in before having to start making dinner. This time we made tacos, and had a mini-crisis when the oven decided not to work on anything but broil and subsequently burned the crap out of the first batch of taco shells. Luckily we had plenty of extras and lots of people weren't hungry anyway since they had just eaten at the Bonanza buffet a few hours earlier. We still managed to go through a disturbing amount of taco meat, however.

After dinner, a bunch of us played 8-player Mario Party, which turned out to be a lot of fun. There were some neat mini-games where you really had to work together to be successful. The best moment of the game (for all but two of us, at least) was when the team of Dan and Shawn (second place at the time) wanted to challenge Anita and I (first place at the time) in a mini-game where you can steal the other people's coins.

Shawn turned to us and said "What team are you?". Without missing a beat, looking at each other, or anything, Anita and I responded simultaneously "Team Mollusk". Except that was actually Gerard and Mike's team. So Shawn and Dan ended up challenging the wrong team, and to add insult to injury, lost the challenge so ended up losing coins in the deal. Some people were pretty bitter, but I won't name any names.

Unfortunately over the course of the game, we started losing people to bed. Unsurprisingly I guess, based on the blow-out on Friday night, lots of people were pretty tired. Eventually, it ended up to be just Mike, Gerard, Shawn and I playing games (4-person Pac-Man and a little Mario Kart).

After some embaressingly poor Mario Kart racing, it was time to try another dip in the lake for some people. And by some people I mean everyone left but me. To add a little excitement, the lawn sprinkler system was on so we had to run through the area dodging rotating water jets. Rumor has it that one person wore their underwear on their head while jumping off the dock, but I won't confirm that.

Shawn and Gerard after their dip in the lake (picture taken by me, but with Shawn's camera).

After the lake adventure, I gave in and went to bed and left the other guys to play some more video games. Sunday was spent cleaning the place up, packing everything for the trip, and then heading home. Unless you were Felicia or Anita, in which case you got in another 36-holes of mini-golf at Pirate's Cove on the way home. (I'm telling you, it was a good course).

All-in-all the week in Brainerd was an absolute blast. The only bad part was that it seemed to go by so quick. But then all good vacations are like that.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Brainerd Vacation: Friday

Last week, after we spent the early portion of the week experiencing the Brainerd area, 9 friends came up to join Linzy and I at our cabin in Brainerd.

People trickled in as Friday wore on. Dan and Nikki were the first to arrive, just before lunch. Gerard, Mike and Wes showed up shortly there after, and Shawn and Andrea arrived right on their heels.

After getting everyone settled in, we decided to do some mini-golfing. Linzy and I had seen a cool-looking Pirate's Cove course just down the road. Unfortunately in the time it took to get everyone agreeable to mini-golf, Mike had disappeared into town.

The first casualty of the weekend turned out to be Mike's car. He drove into town to pick up some food and beer and one of the tie-rods broke. He managed to make it back to the resort by driving 30 mph, but eventually Clarence had to come and tow it to the repair shop.

Pirate's Cove turned out to be really great . They had two courses to choose from, and the one we picked (Blackbeard's Challenge) was pretty cool, with all sorts of interesting holes (although this one happens to be fairly pedestrian).

The most original hole was one where almost everyone would end up hitting the ball into what looked like a water hazard but turned out to have a ball chute that dropped you near to the hole. Gerard somehow managed to get his ball to bounce over the chute and into the waterfall. Luckily Mike was there and on the ball, and fished it out before it plunged down into a watery grave.

Gerard and Linzy on a slightly safer hole.

Gerard and I finding humor in our terrible mini-golfing performance.

Hey, this course has spices and rum, that will come in handy later!

After mini-golf most of us went and tried out the go-carts next door. They were a ton of fun, although it was fairly difficult to pass people due to the narrow course.

Nikki did a terrific job of defensive driving, keeping me and Mike from lapping her for about 5 consecutive laps. Eventually there was a near accident, and Mike grabbed the lead back from me.

After go-carts, we all went back to the cabin for some burgers and brats (an Eck-party staple). I battled through an unfamiliar grill, the rain, and running out of propane to get all the meat cooked. Now that's dedication to making sure my friends don't go hungry.

What game should we play....How about Moose!

Would you like Rum, Rum, Rum, Rum, Rum, or perhaps some Rum?

Shawn brought some cool transparent cards with.

Nikki was trying to teach people how to salsa dance, but no one was able to get it down.

The light switch by the door to the patio turned out to control every single outlet in the living room, so when Mike flipped it (thinking he was turning on the outside light) the entire room went dark and everything shut off. Thus I dubbed it the "Kill the Party Switch", and had to create appropriate signage.

The last two guests were so late we ended up starting a pool to guess their arrival time. All I have to say is this: "They exceeded everyone's expectations".

Around 3am Dan came back to the cabin soaking wet, and announced he had tested out the lake.

Gerard and Wes couldn't let Dan be the only one to jump in the lake, so they did too. Rumor has it the lake was extremely cold. I can't personally vouch for that, but it sure felt cold enough on my hand that I didn't feel I needed to test it on my head.

Eventually the party wound down and people started disappearing to make late-night phone calls, or head to bed. So they would be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the next day.

...To Be Continued...

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Brainerd Vacation: Mon-Thurs

Last week Linzy and I spent the week up in Brainerd, Minnesota at the Gull 4 Seasons resort. We drove up on Monday and spent the first part of the week milling about the local area. Then on Friday a bunch of friends came up to stay with us for the weekend.

I had a great time on the trip, it was really fun to get away and spend some time relaxing with Linzy and then also fun to see a bunch of friends for an extended period of time.

We had quite a pile of stuff to bring up, since we had to haul along not only everything we would need for the week but also all the stuff we needed to have on hand for all our guests for the weekend. Trying to provide most everything, including several meals for a group of 11 turned out to be a lot more work and a bigger hassle then we were planning.

It was like trying to go on vacation for a week and throw a big party at someone else's house that was 3 hours away and provided nothing other then beds, sheets, and some really crappy pans.

Linzy enjoying the view of the lake from the benches conveniently setup nearby.

On Tuesday I went for a bike ride on the Paul Bunyan Trail about 20 miles out and back north from Nissawa, while Linzy checked out the little shops on main street. The trail was nice in that it was very flat and pretty well sheltered from the wind. That made the ride a piece of cake, even though I was still a touch sore from Sunday's St. Paul Bike Classic. On the other hand, it was also somewhat boring because you really didn't have particularly good views of anything because of the trees on either side of the trail and there were no real hills or turns or anything.

After exploring the little towns nearby, we ate a delicious dinner on the patio while the sun set, and finished the night up by watching a movie (Ultravoilet) once it got dark.

On Wednesday we drove up and met Dan and Nikki in Walker for lunch (a fantastic pizza at Bensons) and then continued on to Nevis to visit Dan's parent's cabin. After getting the tour of the cabin we went out and got a tour of the lake.

Dan taking us around the lake on his parent's pontoon boat.

The island in the middle of Lake Belle Taine, known as 'Campers Paradise'

Unfortunately, now they allow people to park their campers on the island all summer long, totally ruining the view of the island.

After we finished boating around the lake, Dan's Mom talked us into trying to find a nearby geocache. None of us had ever done any geocaching, so we took her up on the challenge, such as it was.

Team Zissou celebrating our rousing success. For an idea of the difficulty of the cache, note the paved path not even three feet behind us. I had already 'found' the cache before everyone else was even off the path.

On Thursday morning I went for another bike ride on the Paul Bunyan trail, this time riding from Baxter to Nissawa. I ended up finishing that in record time (for me, averaging almost 1.5mph faster then I usually average) so I rode another 5.5 miles further north and then turned around to meet Linzy at the prearranged meeting spot.

After lunch we spent the afternoon driving around Gull Lake checking out the other resorts, cabins (mansions really), and golf courses that surround the lake.

At Madden's Resort they even had two completely groomed and landscaped croquet lawns. The other was completely packed with old people playing croquet. Apparently a popular past-time. Who knew?

The Gull Lake dam was not quite as impressive as some others we've seen recently.

Casey ♥ Krista

On Friday, we spent the morning running a few errands, cleaning the cabin up, cooking, and generally preparing for the arrival of the other nine people who would be joining us for the weekend. be continued...

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