Tuesday, October 30, 2007

San Francisco Trip

Michelle and I went to San Francisco during our fall break a few weeks ago. Michelle had never been there, and I hadn't been back since my family moved from NorCal to Washington 17 years ago. It was a great trip; it was just long enough to allow us to see almost everything we wanted to.
Our first house at Mari Court. I seem to remember a nicer neighborhood than this. There were a bunch of Otter Pop wrappers lying around on the lawn, and if you knew how many Otter Pops we ate there...let's just say it might not be a coincidence.


The house on Keats Drive.


Pennycook Elementary, where Dad tried to teach me how to ride a bike, and instead taught me how to test the strength of a tether-ball pole.


Lombard Street (I'm by the stop sign)



The Palace of Fine Arts (Michelle's not a bad photographer)
When Michelle was 11 years old, she wrote a letter to Stephanie Tanner asking if she could be on the show "Full House". She told her that she was a good actress because she had been Dorothy in the school production of "the Wizard of Oz". Sadly, she never sent it because Michelle's mom said it would never actually get to Stephanie (apparently no mention of the fact that Stephanie was fictional). Anyway, a visit to the "Full House" house was an absolute necessity. Stephanie wasn't there, although I thought I spotted her asking for money over on Nob Hill. The Aquarium Under the Bay




Ah, the joys of amateur photography

The Muir Woods north of the city.


The Bridge



There are two carnivores in this picture from the conservatory.

Monday, October 22, 2007

St. George Marathon

A couple of weeks ago, I ran the St. George Marathon. If you've ever thought about running one, I promise that it isn't as crazy as it sounds. Not to sound like an infomercial, but if I can do it, just about anyone can.

As a matter of fact, for the first 15 miles or so, I was neck-and-neck with a guy whose T-shirt read "Aorta replacement surgery, one year and one day ago today." Yikes. I thought coming back from a broken ankle was tough. I'm pretty sure Aorta Guy kicked my rear.

At about the 19-mile point, I called Dr. Kevorkian's office. Fortunately, I only got his voice mail. Once I got to the 21-mile point, the end was close enough that I was able to push forward by fantasizing about a guilt-free trip to a Chinese buffet later that day.
Sure, I look like I'm walking, but it's really more of a stumbling gallop.
The race course was really well stocked with provisions. During the race, I ate three mini clif bars, two packets of "Goo", about 1 1/2 bananas, two orange wedges, and drank about 300 cups of Gatorade (and still had room for a delicious ice cream sandwich at the end). One spectator even handed me his own bottle of Powerade. I'm glad he wasn't a psychopath distributing poison, although there's no way I could have known that at the time.

Muse Concert

We went to a Muse concert a few weeks ago; Michelle heard on the radio that they were giving away free tickets, and Muse in one of our favorite bands. It was the best concert I've ever been to, although I admittedly haven't been to many. They're one of those rare bands that actually sounds as good or better in person as they do on the recordings.
I apparently opted for the "Bowl Cut with Extra Bear Grease" look that night. Not sure what happened there.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Las Vegas Trip

I had a couple of job interviews in Las Vegas in September, so we made a weekend out of it. I also wanted to get acquainted with the area; I applied for jobs there because everyone told me, "It's a great job market, and if you like Phoenix you'll like Las Vegas."

The first statement might be true, but the second definitely is not. I like Phoenix a lot, and as far as I can tell, Vegas is a smaller, dirtier, version of what Phoenix would look like if no one there had any taste or aesthetic sense.

I also heard, "Oh, don't worry about the Strip. Most of Vegas is nothing like the Strip." That's really too bad, because the Strip is the only part of Las Vegas worth seeing. We drove in all kinds of neighborhoods in Vegas and Henderson, and we saw homes selling for $400,000 that could only be called "nice" if they were located in La Paz, Bolivia. I'm sure there are nice places outside of the Strip. I didn't see any. I left with the impression that people from Las Vegas feel forced to say nice things about it because they just want to have a positive outlook on where they live.

With that off my chest, there were LOTS of cool things to see on the Strip. Those are the Bellagio Fountains (with the beautiful woman in front). I thought it was the sort of thing that you see once and think, "Hmm. That was cool." I had no idea how incredible they were in person. We watched them four times that night, and I would say it was the highlight of the trip.
The Luxor (Much cooler on the outside than on the inside.)
The M&M store; get it? M&M?
The Lion at the MGM Grand is underwhelmed by the crowds.

Amber's Visit

Amber (my sister) came to visit us in September. This is Michelle and Amber at the Utah State Fair. Right after we took this photo, it was my turn to play and I accidentally punked my wife in the face with a tether ball. I had to wear a "Does not play well with others" sign the rest of the day. Or at least it felt like it.
On our way to the fair, we saw a hairy motorcyclist on I-15. Even hairier than a typical motorcyclist (like my Dad).

Swimming in the Great Salt Lake

At Antelope Island on Labor Day. Just like in the Dead Sea, the salt makes the water so heavy that you can't sink.

Michelle enjoys the paper.

Timpanogos Cave

Okay, this is the last nature picture for a while. This is Timpanogos cave in September. Who knew there were underground caverns in Utah? Definitely worth the price of admission


Arches National Park

Does anywhere here speak English? Last time I was at Disneyland, I noticed that the Japanese have a particular fondness for the place. So where do Europeans go on summer vacation? They go to national parks. A few days after going to Bryce we drove to Arches National Park, and both places were about 60% populated with French, Germans (lots of them), Italians. I had to dust off my college Italian to ask someone to take the first picture.
Michelle is auditioning for Gatorade's new ad campaign, "Quench the fire within!"



For perspective, that white dot at bottom right is a person.

Bryce Canyon Trip

When Michelle and I went to Zion, our plan was to make a trip every few months for camping, etc. Then I broke my leg/ankle (fibula, for the medically astute) in May, so we had to cool our heels for a while. In August I felt just good enough to go to Bryce Canyon. We had a great 8-mile hike the first day, and the next day I could barely walk. We took it easier the next day, and we still saw everything we wanted to see. The pictures don't quite do it justice; it really is like an alien landscape in some parts.



Zion National Park




On President's day weekend we took our first family camping trip to Zion National Park. If any of you have a list of places you need to visit before you die, Zion better be on it. It is incredible.
The picture at top left is at the top of Angel's Landing. That had to be the most harrowing hiking experience of my life. There are parts where you have to hold on to a chain, and if you let go it's a 2,000 foot drop down a sheer rock face. It's one of those hikes where you would never do it except that you see these little nine-year-old girls running up like it's nothing, and you question your manhood. Needless to say, it was great.

Half Marathon in January 2007


Less than three weeks after marrying me, Michelle came down to St. George to see me run my first half marathon. Through a series of mishaps, I ended up having to carry my wallet in my hand the entire time.

Honeymoon Pictures

Before we start posting things about what's happening right now, I thought you might want to see some pictures from things that have happened since we got married, starting with our honeymoon.



Behind us is the Hotel Del Coronado on Coronado Island just off the coast of San Diego. It was slightly warmer than Utah at the time (December 30).



Above, Matthias is going for the "windswept beach bum" look. Michelle looks darling, but is secretly praying to overcome her tsunamiphobia.

Monday, October 8, 2007

New Blog

Okay, Michelle and I have talked about doing this. I'm not telling anyone this is up until we have a few cool things to see.