June 25, 2008

BAM, outta here

The Battle at Midway is probably now my favorite race. This was the second year of the race but the first time I was able to race it. I was looking forward to it for a while and am already looking forward to next year. And it's not just because it's in my backyard and I happen to like where I live. The setting is beautiful and home field advantage is nice but the race is also very well organized. St. George will always be a nice destination race and Emmett's Most Excellent Triathlon in Emmett, ID will always have a special place in my heart for obvious reasons but if you are looking for a great triathlon I recommend checking out BAM.
Look at the swim setting. Could there be a prettier place to start? There could certainly be a warmer place. With the long and cool spring we've had water temps were still in the 50s. The swimmer in the red sleeves is Casey, passing on a "warm up". We were twins in our wetsuits until he decided he's too much of woos to go sleeveless. Not warming up didn't seem to affect him (see photo of him waving below).
Here I am coming out of the water. I was a little worried about starting in the fourth and final wave that it would be too crowded on the course but it wasn't bad at all. The 6:30 start time meant that the air temperature was not going to help my feet defrost. I had a pathetic first transition (over 4 minutes) as I tried to get all the sand out of my toes and then thought I might be able to rub feeling back into my feet. It didn't work.
The bike course was fast, not much climbing. Thanks to Ann and Scott for the cheers at miles 2 and 17. And also rescuing the racer who seemed to be suffering from hypothermia. Thanks to the Johnson clan for honking at mile 13. And thanks to my wife and kids for at least thinking of me at various points on the course, including as I rode past our front door at mile 11.
The run course is the most spectacular. It's held at Soldier Hollow and the same trails from the Winter Olympics. You can see there is a lot of up and down but not huge elevation gains. The climbs were mostly long and gradual but the descents were steep and short so it was hard to maintain any real fast pace. The start of the run was a very strange sensation. I have done a lot of things with cold/frozen toes. I think I inherited the circulation of my Great Grandma Fife. But I have never run with entire frozen feet. Each step I wondered if I was actually wearing shoes. At mile 2 I started to get some tingling sensations that grew until the point I thought my feet were either on fire or I had hundreds of little rocks in my socks. I had to stop for second and take off my shoe just to make sure it wasn't the latter.
Yes that is Casey standing on the 1st place podium. At it wasn't just our age group, he was the 1st finisher of the citizen race. There were three race categories, Professional, Elite, and Age Group. You can see the results here. I was satisfied with my 7th place out of the 45 finishers in our age group. Next time I won't bother trying to clean my toes. Oh yeah and I'll try to train.
Casey was lucky Ryanne was in town. I told him that if he wasn't trying to show off for his woman he wouldn't be nearly so fast. Just wait until you've been married six years and your wife no longer seems to be impressed. BTW, congratulations to the happy couple. They set a date for October since we last saw them.
I went home and grabbed Jack and went back to Soldier Hollow for the awards ceremony. He loved getting a new hat and eating pizza at the finish line. He looked pathetic though because his dad was in charge of sunscreen and got it all over his eyes. People were wondering why he had tears streaming and yet didn't seem to stop smiling. Which brings me to my final thought on the day. If Baby Sunscreen irritates kids eyes just the same as any other sunscreen then what is the point in buying Baby Sunscreen? Kudos to the marketing department at Baby Sunscreen for selling that. I thought it was like Johnson Baby Shampoo, no more tears. That was very far from the truth. The bottle says "Pediatrician Tested". What the heck does that even mean? I have some stuff in my bag that says "water and sweat proof". That seems like a better sunscreen to me.

June 18, 2008


We leave for Portland tomorrow for Brian and Jackie's wedding. Several weeks ago I mustered up the courage to ask the happy couple if I could be in charge of the wedding mix CD. My prayers hadn't been answered that they would ask me on their own. Their excuse was somewhere between I couldn't be trusted and they had already asked one of Jackie's sisters to do it. I put on a brave face and said that was just fine, I'm thrilled to only be a groomsman.

After rushing home last night only to see the Lakers being absolutely blown out I needed a distraction from the destruction. So I decided to make a mix anyways and give it to them as my gift. Sort of a "see what you could have had" move. I post it here as a type of audition for future business. Note: I only do first marriages. No fair divorcing just so I will make you a mix.

I previously made a mix, Love Songs That Aren't Gay, for Beth that I used as my base. Basically that just means no Chicago (or Richard Marx). It starts out by looking at The First Date (Blink-182), moves to the I love yous (Frank Sinatra), discussing falling in love, more in love, and the power of love (The Queers, Lifehouse, Huey Lewis), looking forward to marriage (Beach Boys), then I just got lazy and started throwing songs together. I posted a playlist on the right but couldn't find most of the songs you probably don't already know. Here's the full breakdown of belovesjd:
  1. First Date - Blink 182
  2. Something Stupid - Frank (and Nancy) Sinatra
  3. The Power of Love - Huey Lewis & The News
  4. Today I Fell in Love - The Queers
  5. Hanging by a Moment - Lifehouse
  6. Wouldn't it be Nice - The Beach Boys
  7. You're the Only One - The Mr. T Experience
  8. We Belong Together - Ritchie Valens
  9. Eight Days a Week - The Beatles
  10. When You're Next to Me - A Mighty Wind
  11. If I Could Make a Livin' - Clay Walker
  12. Circle of Love - The Steve Miller Band
  13. I Melt With You - Modern English
  14. Something There - Beauty and the Beast
  15. Without You - Dixie Chicks
  16. Inches and Falling - The Format
  17. Thank You - Dido
  18. You'll Be in My Heart - Phil Collins
  19. Happy Together - The Turtles
  20. I Will Follow You Into the Dark - Death Cab for Cutie
  21. Forever and Ever, Amen - Randy Travis
*Disclaimer: do not over analyze any lyrics, I certainly don't pay close enough attention to lyrics to hold up to any scrutiny. Beth pointed out to me that one of the songs I selected for the short list was actually not a love song at all and actually quite sad if you pay attention. All these years I thought it was a sweet song, thanks for ruining it.
*Second Disclaimer: for those of you familiar with the work of my younger brothers, no fair judging. No mix can hold up to works like Michael's Winter Formal 2005 or Brian's Everybody is Singing.

June 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Babe!

What trumps between Mommy's Birthday and Father's Day? Answer: depends who you ask. If Mom's Birthday falls on Father's Day who gets breakfast in bed? Answer: turns out nobody does. Well Jack did get his bottle in our bed. But who wants breakfast in bed anyways? I can't think of anything I'd want less in my bed than try to eat a meal. Who gets a raw deal by still having to change diapers on the special day? Answer: both of us. Real Answer: Beth, my diaper quota is a fraction of hers. Who gets to go shopping for themselves while the other is assigned the new t.v. for years to come? Answer: neither. Real answer: whatever Beth wants. Who is incredibly blessed and fortunate this beautiful June 15th? Answer: I hope both, but I'm pretty sure I'm the lucky one with the better deal.

Happy Birthday Beth! We love you!

June 11, 2008

Happy Late Mother's Day

It was the perfect storm . . . .
  1. Lakers are playing* in the Finals and it's Euro 2008
  2. It was Mother's day recently
  3. Pawning some furniture off on the almost newlyweds
  4. It's Beth's birthday on Sunday
  5. It's what my Commander-in-Chief would have me do with my tax rebate. Who am I to argue when the country needs me?
All that equals one new T.V.

I can't wait to see what Beth gets me for Father's Day.

*I use the term "playing" loosely. If they hadn't won last night there was a chance I wouldn't get to watch a single game live.

June 9, 2008

2 weeks and counting

We just got back from Lily's 2 week Dr. appointment. Everything is going great. She's almost back to her birth weight and is content and sleeping well. Since the beginning she has gone at least 4 hours between feedings at night so Beth has never had to get up more than once. She sleeps all the time (I forgot that's what they do) and very rarely has fussy moments. When she does cry it is soft and pitiful, I have a feeling that won't always be true.

Here's a few photos from the past two weeks. We had lots of good help. My parents were here for almost a week, then my sister was nice enough to extend her stay a couple days to help with Jack while I had work and school obligations. Beth's friends also came to visit while the rest of the family partied away at the river.
Lily got one of those bad diaper rashes/infections that can happen when on antibiotics. We took the excellent advice of Beth's cousin, Amber, and made sure to dry her out good with a hair dryer. Lily absolutely loved warm air blowing up her skirt. She would lay there with the most contented look on her face.
Lily was glad to see her Grandma make it back from a week at the river.
A little less excited to see her brother again. Yes Jack, we've previously established your sister has eyes.
Sunday dinner at the Heber House. Jack, Anna, and I took a walk to see the horses.
"Good times with Uncle Morgan" was doing great business.
I have to point out how excellent my wife is looking. She's already lost a lot of baby weight and is even wearing her old jeans. Why isn't my baby weight doing that?

June 3, 2008

Lee Child's Nothing to Lose

I started this review last week while filling time waiting for the baby. With Nothing to Lose hitting the shelves today I thought I should finish it. Is it weird that I now do book reports by choice? I guess it helps when you read the book by choice.

You might be asking yourself "but John, if the book just came out today how could you possibly write a review?" Well for some unknown reason the book is published a full 2 1/2 months earlier in the UK. Luckily someone I know just started working for a UK based company and picked up what was going to be his father's day present on the trip. Of course in true Emmett fashion the father's day present was going to be slightly used after giving it to myself first for father's day. Instead it was slightly used when it was given to me for father's day. It was then slightly more used when my father in law got it for father's day. I know Lee Child is English but I still couldn't make any sense of the 2 month delay. It can't be too hard to change "kerb" to "curb" and "tyre" to "tire". It's not like it was written using the metric system and had to be converted over.

Every year I look forward to the next Lee Child novel and catching up on the adventures of the main character, Jack Reacher. There's a lot of good authors out there but my two favorite characters right now are Jack Reacher and Mitch Rapp (who I blogged about previously). When my dad told me he and my mom were going to London and were looking for suggestions on where else to go (as in other countries) the only thing that I could think of was to be sure to stop at the bookstore. I was super excited to get to read it before it hit the shelves here. Like a legal form of bootleg.

I came across Jack Reacher three books ago in One Shot. I really really liked it and in the book there was a casual reference or two to the his past and I remember thinking I sure hope there are books that talk more about that. Sure enough I dug through my father in law's boxes of books and found The Enemy. That drove me to the internet and I found a gold mine, 7 Jack Reacher novels I haven't read. Cha ching! I proceeded to read them all before the next one came out.

Nothing to Lose had one thing going for it immediately, it was longer than the last book. Not by a lot but anything will do. The last book was over much too quickly. The other thing Lee Child's books have going for them is Jack Reacher. It's hard to define why he is so likeable. He's not overly funny or clever like Myron Bolitar from Harlan Coben's novels. He's not incredibly cool and personable like Dirk Pitt in Clive Cussler's novels. He doesn't have the talent and international intrigue of Gabriel Allon in Daniel Silva's novels. He certainly isn't a national hero like Mitch Rapp. Simply put Jack Reacher is the man.

Reacher hasn't contributed much to the GDP since leaving the Army. He's jobless and homeless. A loner and a drifter. However, he is extremely tough and quite huge (6'5'' 250 lbs). So tough that in a fictional world the only guy I imagine giving him trouble in a fight is Jason Bourne. But only Bourne from The Bourne Identity, not Supremacy or Ultimatum when Jason Bourne was David Webb.

I think it is Reacher's overwhelming sense of justice that make him so likeable. It ticks him off when anyone is being taken advantage of or if somebody is getting away with a crime. He won't stand for it and he's really good at stopping it. The best line from the book came from the pretty little sheriff Reacher teams up with when she tells him "You're not a one man justice department." Girlfriend, you obviously don't know Jack Reacher. He's the judge, jury, and executioner.

Nothing to Lose doesn't disappoint. It opens with four guys trying to bully Reacher out of town which was a huge mistake, for them. You get plenty of classic Reacher moments like every minuscule detail about each cup of coffee and the vessel he drinks it from. There are 3 or 4 moments where you stand up and punch the air in satisfaction as justice is served and someone finally gets what's been coming.

I did have a problem to a degree that I haven't had before in Lee Child's books. There was an underlying theme that to me seemed a lot like European propaganda. I'm curious to see if the American version was changed at all and if anyone else got the same feeling as I did. That might explain the 2.5 month delay. The issue was Army deserters. Child didn't come out in support of desertion but his comments on the current situation in American military seemed to condone it. This bothered me but thankfully it wasn't dwelled upon.

Overall I still recommend it and anything else featuring Jack Reacher. 4.5/5