Monday, May 29, 2017

May In Pictures

Hikes, a birthday, some great food, and American Craft Beer Week.

Oh, and an injury.

All things considered, May was pretty okay. How about yours?

This bridge was built in 1929 and it is absolutely gorgeous.

Near the southern terminus of the Centennial Trail.

Sylvan Lake.

We found a mine!
The creme brulee process. Delicious AND fun!

I love family meals.

Buglin' Bull in Custer. I'm missing my Monte Cristo wrap in this picture, but that was tasty, too...
Hay Camp in Rapid City. Their barrel-aged beer is to die for.
Stout floats at Miner Brewing in Hill City. These are a food group of their very own. Possibly my favorite food group.


Saturday, May 27, 2017

A Few Things

1. I have had a kind of weird May. The main skill I've acquired is an ability to predict (and dodge) the patch of a lost 3-year-old.

2. This xkcd makes me giggle.

3. People have repeatedly commented on my patience in the last two weeks, some of that referring to the job wait and some of it referring to preschoolers. I have to admit -- I'm running low on patience with one of those, and it's not the ones with still-developing motor skills.

4. Unexpected refunds instantly improve a week.

5. Especially when they're from super-frustrating phone companies.

6. Road trip questions! I've done my standard online research but I still like to ask for real human input. If you know anything about shower facilities in the Moab area, let me know. (I'm relatively familiar with the region itself, so I'll happily take names and general locations.) Shorty and I are going to be headed that way for a few days for a sibling hike/bike trip and camping on the cheap, but I suspect I'll lose my sanity if I skip showers that long.

7. Ooh, or inexpensive kayak rentals.

8. Mmmm. Moab...

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


So ... this happened.

And it makes me rather sad. My social crutch is broken. For that matter, my portable library is now limited to three or four books of a select size.

I know. I'm such a whiner.

I'm also a little alarmed at how attached I got to an electronic device -- or at least, how attached I got to the convenience of it.

And as much as I want to deny it, dangnabbit, I want it back.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Third Of A Century

I've been thinking about aging.

See, my birthday is Thursday. I'll be 33. It's not a big year -- certainly no 21, 25, 30, 40, or 50 -- but it feels kind of special.

Following a Vlogbrothers rule of thumb, "middle-aged" is when you multiply your age by three and can't really believe you'll live to that point. Given my genetics and modern medicine, I'm still a couple years from middle-aged. More importantly, though, I'm finding that I'm at an age that can be either young or old, depending on the context or audience ... and often both in one day. Repeatedly.

The ladies I hike with each week consider me young. The kids at camp think I'm ancient. Anyone over 50 might have a son or daughter my age -- and I might be the same age as your parents if you're under 15.

The thirties are weird that way. Folks older than me hand me their phones to "fix why the screen keeps doing that." Teenagers roll their eyes and flip a game controller around for me.

I'm old enough to figure out health insurance premiums or mortgage applications ... or young enough to still be perplexed by them.

Young enough to justify spur-of-the-moment vacations, but old enough to pay for them.

Young enough to stay up way too late and old enough to know exactly how I'll feel when my alarm goes off.

Young enough to play Pokemon Go without the excuse of having small children, but old enough to have a pretty healthy retirement account.

Young enough to eat what I want ... but old enough to pay attention to my sodium intake.

Young enough to want to go to Mars, and old enough to weigh all the consequences of such an idea.

I've spent over half my life in the 21st century but I remember using Windows 1.0. No, seriously.

While I don't have any kids of my own, people I went to high school and college with have children from teenagers to newborns -- and none of that is abnormal. (Ten years from now? No newborns. Ten years ago? No teenagers.)

And on my grandmother's birthday this year, I'll hit exactly a third of a century.


Yeah. The thirties are interesting. And you know what? They're a lot of fun, too. And I'm looking forward to another six years of them before I really start to feel like I should be a decent adult.

Monday, May 8, 2017

A SoDak Tour

My first order of business once The Unemployment started was to visit my siblings.

... Look, I've been threatening you with this one for awhile. Figured I should get around to posting it.


At the beginning of March, after a few days in Rapid to recoup and find some of my stuff (seriously, I've misplaced everything at least twice), I packed up my car and hit the road. My goals were simple -- I wanted to hang out with The Hyphenates and sleep. And maybe read some books.

Oh, and I wanted to take the scenic route.

So I drove through the Badlands...

... and I stopped in Chamberlain to visit Dignity for the first time.

Sioux Falls was a pleasant surprise. The weather was fantastic -- I spent the whole time in sandals and Mia Sorella and I hit every park we could. Adding a couple run-ins with Jess and you have a good (quick) trip.

While it was spring break for Mia Sorella, grad school doesn't leave much free time -- so after a couple days, I said so long and left for Shorty & Em's.

But first, coffee!

I continued my quest for SoDak sights, first trying for the Porter Sculpture Park ... which is closed in the off-season.

And then a quick drive past the Corn Palace.

Yeah, really just a drive past. I did not feel like stopping.

Then, it was on to visit Shorty and Em.

Up the river...

... and on to Highmore.

This time, there was a day trip to the Capitol...

... hammocking in the basement ...

... and far too many cat pictures.

This time, I did a much better job of hanging out and reading books (mostly in that hammock), which meant I actually relaxed a little. It was strange how difficult it was to switch out of "just keep moving" mode into "and now we wait" mode, but it happened there. Finally.

Well, until it started snowing.

As at Christmas, I spent an extra night in the middle of the state before heading back. My last stop was another quick one -- this time, Wall Drug.

Why? Well, I had to collect as many SoDak landmarks as possible. It would be a couple more weeks before I actually stopped by Mount Rushmore, though...

Sunday, May 7, 2017


Battling a bit of cabin fever -- and I realized that a year ago today was when this stuff happened.

It's possible it's been too long since I was last really on the road.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


What do you mean, I've been gone awhile?

... Look, here's an xkcd that absolutely made my week.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

This Week's Shorts

1. March was (a) interesting, (b) plenty busy, and (c) interminably long. I'm relieved it's over. Now if only I knew how April might turn out...

2. I spent a good chunk of the last month on the road. I'm still trying to decide how to post about that. It shouldn't be this complicated, but since it'll probably be mostly a photo post ... yeah. Technical difficulties complicate things. In the meantime, here's one picture.

3. A year ago, this happened.

4. I've been diving a little too heavily into podcasts lately... My time is very much my own and a lot of what I'm doing means that I like background not-music -- something for my brain to latch onto while I'm cleaning/sorting/etc. It wouldn't be so bad if so many of them weren't related to true crime, but those who know my reading habits aren't surprised to hear that.

Here are my current recommendations:

The True Crime Ones:
Casefile. This is what I'll call the most serious in this section. An anonymous (Australian) narrator leads you through the facts of each case, from beginning to end (if an end exists), exploring theories and witness accounts along the way. As factual as it is, it's also fascinating and creepy and truly addicting. (Also, the production is excellent.)

True Crime Garage. This one is unique -- it's two guys who sit down each week and chat about a crime, from unsolved disappearances and notorious events, and they ... pair each one with a craft beer.

Okay, yes, that's why I started listening. And I love it. The tone is lighter than Casefile (while still taking each story seriously) and the guys who host it (Nic and the Captain) sound like people I hang out with on a regular basis. It's more like a conversation with some friends than a formal radio show.

Last Podcast on the Left. Yeah, this one is more like Bob & Tom Do True Crime. A mix of topics (famous and not so famous, cults, murders, disappearances, aliens, etc.) and full-on satire a lot of the time. Three guys my age, so once again it's a bit more like hanging out at someone's house, but in this case much funnier. It is a little alarming at times to realize what's making me giggle, though...

The Others:
StarTalk Radio. Neil DeGrasse Tyson and a comic co-host talk about ... all sorts of things. Sciencey things. Pop culturey things. Other things. Experts come in, commentators come in, and you get a fairly full scope on all sorts of topics.

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History. Okay, I only just started this one at the recommendation of a cousin, and wow. These are long format shows (we're talking at least 3 hours, sometimes more like 15 per topic) that take a single historical topic and cover ... everything.

Again, I've only been listening to this one for a couple of days, but I can say that (a) Dan Carlin is easy to listen to, and (b) I'm already learning things even though I haven't actually finished a show yet. (They're long, remember?)

Yeah, the whole podcast topic could be it's own post, but ... that's what I've got for the moment. So we'll leave it there.

5. Pokemon Go is a dangerous thing.

6. I hadn't realized just how much I'd missed spring. Thank goodness it's here.