Saturday, April 08, 2006

Hiking to the "M" Trail

View from the top III
Originally uploaded by SaraS.

Today I went for a short hike up the "M" trail here in Missoula. This picture is from the top (or at least near the top) -- although since the trail actually continues on past where the "M" itself, I guess it isn't really accurate to say this is the "top."

Anyhow, this is actuslly the second time I climbed to the M. The first time was back in August of 2001, way before we even had the idea of moving to Missoula. I was participating in the Montana AIDS Vaccine Ride, a fundraising bicycle ride from Missoula to Billings. We were in town for a few days before the ride actually started, so on one of the days, I hiked to the M with a few other riders.

Somewhere I have know, the old fashioned printed kind you get from film! I should dig those up and scan a few.

Anyway, I noticed a huge difference this time. Last time I hiked to the M, it was after several months of training for the ride. I weighed considerably less and was in much better shape. That time, the hike was much, much easier than this time! I remember we even kept going up the trail after reaching the M!

I'm too lazy to post all the individual pictures here, but I did create a photoset of them on Flickr.

View from my office on a foggy, rainy day.

View from my office on a foggy, rainy day.
Originally uploaded by SaraS.

Took this picture last week from my upstairs window.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Solitude 2.


Now looking forward, where the trail or tracks from others ought to be.



March 4, 2006.

Lolo Pass, on the border of Montana and Idaho. At the top of the ridge on the snowshoe trail.

Looking back.

Monday, February 06, 2006

in denver.

waiting for my connection to chicago.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Busy Weekend

Laura had to work Saturday, so I rented some cross-country skis from The Trailhead and went to the Lubrect Experimental Forest for a little skiing. Amazing how you get just a little bit outside of Missoula and there is plenty of snow! We haven't had any significant amount of snow on the ground here in Missoula in weeks.

I took a few pictures...

Tonight we're going to see the Marriage of Fiagro. OK, so I wasn't paying attention when Laura said "Sunday." We are going NEXT sunday, NOT today.

Tomorrow morning I leave for a week back at the office in Illinois. I just finished squeezing a week's worth of clothes into a rolling carry-on. This time I'm flying United through Denver. Hopefully the plane out of Missoula will be a normal size one with normal-sized overhead compartments. In January, I took Delta, and I couldn't fit my bag in the overhead bin.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Exactly who is doing the shoving here?

Let's say you have an open house type event in which you invite several people with the understanding that they might invite additional people to come along as well. So, people you perhaps have never met are going to be coming to your house. You are just fine with this.

Let's say they're doing this because you have an interesting collection of art about puppies or something. So all these folks are coming to look at your cute puppy pictures up on the walls.

All is going fine, until one person comes in, admires the art for a second, and then notices you standing next to your spouse with your arm around said spouse. Did I mention that both you and your spouse are of the same gender?

This person freaks out and says "what is this display of homosexuality doing here, at a party that was supposed to be about puppy art? Why is this topic shoved in my face everywhere I go?"

Remember, this is your own home, which this stranger entered completely voluntarily. There are no armed guards at the door preventing the stranger from simply turning around and walking out.

How would you react?

This all came about because of this odd circumstance. A posting I made with some cute bunny pictures was linked to by Cute Overload. This generated a ton of traffic to my blog. Someone who came to my blog via this link somehow managed to stumble onto one of my other posts discussing same-sex marriage. There were no links between the posts, so I've no idea how she got there, but she was apparently shocked and horrified. Her comment:
How does a post about Homosexuality make it's way into even a site about animals. Is there no end to having this subject introduced (shoved down our throats in "every" arena? If I missed some point (I didn't completely read the article) my apologies.
I'm afraid my response was not particularly polite, although I did make an effort.

So, here's the situation. You voluntarily go to a blog. You then purposely browse around to other postings on the blog. You see a mention of something you don't like, and all of a sudden, something is being shoved down your throat? How self-centered is that?

I think discussion and argument are fine things, and I would welcome both here. If BetteT's post disagreed with the substance of my post, if she had a counter-argument, anything like that, we might have had a discussion. It could have been a heated discussion, but would have been a discussion. But her comment is not an argument or a disagreement. It is nothing more than whining about how she was exposed to a topic she doesn't like, and somehow this is just awful. Even though, again, she came here voluntarily and always had the freedom to leave if she didn't like what she found.

This reminds me of an argument I got into on another blog once, right when Brokeback Mountain came out. Someone complained about having homosexuality--and specifically gay sex--shoved down their throat (by who? they were vague on that point. "The media", I guess). I pointed out that, given the publicity, everyone who isn't living under a rock ought to know exactly what they will see in the movie, so if you don't want to see such things, then DON'T GO SEE IT. Why is this so hard?

I see this silly "shoved down my throat" thing so often that I've started looking around for these armed guards that force people to read books, go to movies, and keep their TV's tuned to content they don't want to see. I can't count the number of times I've found myself pissed off by a blog and decided to just stop visiting. Quitting reading National Review's The Corner had done wonders for my blood pressure. I'm still waiting for the armed guards to show up at my door and shove the National Review down my throat.

Here's the bottom line, and it is so breathtakingly obvious that I can't believe I am writing it here. If you read or watch something you don't like, you have three choices:

1. Stop reading it. Leave the web site. Close the book. Shut off the TV. Don't fork over your 9 bucks for the movie. Don't put the DVD in your player.

2. Read or watch the objectionable thing, then come up with a decent argument about why it is bad. Critique it. Argue against it. Write your own version the way you think it should be. Create your own blog and fill it with your own rants about how the world ought to be.

3. Whine about how this awful thing is being "shoved down your throat." Demand that it go away. Complain that you are being "forced" to see things you don't like.

I don't know, options 1 and 2 seem pretty reasonable. Option 3 sounds like the choice of a petulant child.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

ok, this is nifty. I

ok, this is nifty. I just discovered how to post from my phone!

Catching Up

So, I've been very lazy about updating my blog since we moved to Montana. I probably would keep on being lazy, except for the sudden interest in the bunny post.

With so many people visiting my blog for bunny pictures, it just seems like I should say something profound. I may never have this many people reading my words again!


Since it has been a long day, here are a few brief thoughts, although they are probably not particularly profound.

Health Care

This story horrifies me. Will someone please explain how a doctor or nurse is harmed by providing treatment to a person who lives in a manner that the doctor or nurse disagrees with?

Also from Daddy, Papa, and Me -

This post from early January talks about "internally displaced persons" -- basically gay and lesbian folks who moving from "unfriendly" states to "friendly" states as more and more states pass extremely nasty anti-gay laws and constitutional amendments. This topic is particularly odd for me because in one sense, we did the opposite. We moved from blue Illinois to red Montana. However, so far our Montana experiences have all been good. Missoula is in many ways far more liberal than the specific suburb we lived in before.

For example, a couple weeks ago we went to see Brokeback Mountain at The Wilma. The movie actually got out here in Montana much sooner than we expected. We went to see it after it had been here for a few weeks. We went on a Tuesday night, because there is a small discount on that night.

The theatre was PACKED. Absolutely packed. We went to the 7 PM show. When it got out, the lobby was already packed with people waiting for the 9:35 show. I was amazed.

As for the movie, I thought it was good. I've read the short story on which it was based, so I knew what to expect. When making a movie from a short story rather than a novel, it is pretty easy to stick to the story and get everything in!

I do think it is ironic that in a movie that had so many people up in arms about all the "explicit gay sex," the heterosexual sex scenes were way more numerous and explicit.

Lately, I've been reading The Ancestor's Tale, by Richard Dawkins. It goes through evolution backwards. That is, starting with today, he traces evolution back through all our common ancestors with other creatures.

Highly recommended -- he's got a great way of explaining things that make sense. I'm about halfway done at this point.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Who Knew Bunnies Would be so Popular?

Well, this was unexpected. A site called Cute Overload linked to my post about the bunnies we had in the backyard last May.

And now I've had well over 2000 visits, way more than I've ever had in a day before. I mean, my normal average per day is about 10.

Apparently, people like pictures of bunnies.

I appreciate the traffic, and please, bunny-picture-people, have a look around. I have lots of cute pictures of my dogs and cat as well. Here is Cricket, the one who found the bunnies. This is Xena, who, like Cricket, would have been happy to eat them, but she is afraid to go outside. This post features both Cricket, Xena, and Bailey, my shih'tzu with bad allergies who itches all the time.

When you're done being overwhelmed by the cuteness, I'd like to clear up a few things. First, this all happened last May, so there's no point in telling me to stop bothering the bunnies. They are long gone.

Second, the mother bunny did not reject the babies. In fact, the post everyone is visiting points out that she visited the bunnies again AFTER the incident that is photographed.

Third, although we took lots of pictures, we really didn't handle them much. Maybe once or twice. Most of the time, I just carefully moved aside the grass and took pictures. Initially I used a pair of tongs to move the grass rather than my hands. Later, once they started moving around, I had to hunt around the yard to find their hiding spots.

Speaking of hiding spots, it was pretty obvious that the bunnies did not develop any trust of humans. Once they became more mobile, they hid whenever anyone came into the yard. Then, over a few days, they all disappeared.

We had a second set in late summer/early fall. I took a few more pictures, but never posted them. I don't think we touched that set at all. At one point, we didn't know that they were moving around yet and Cricket got to chase one across the yard. She (the rat-terrier mix) was terribly humiliated to be completely unable to catch a BABY rabbit. Those bunnies were fast!

Anyway, everyone who was worried that the bunnies were in danger -- you can relax. They're probably off doing whatever it is that rabbits do during the winter.