Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ren Faire!

Well, I have some pictures I thought I'd share and this is sort of my place to do it. We went to the Colorado Renaissance Festival on Saturday to celebrate my cousin's birthday, and had a really good time. I wasn't expecting to have much fun since I've sort of gotten over my Ren Fair stage in life, but it was very cool. I got to meet a friend I'd only known through Facebook and had a great time chatting with him. Also got to wear my kilt again, which is always a plus.

In any case, here are the only three pictures I took all day. Why only three? Because it started raining and three of us took shelter in the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program's store and didn't have much else to do.

First, my cousin looking rather dashing. This is the only day all year you will see him wearing not-black.

My lovely wife in her gypsy costume. The rose was a gift from Dave who insisted I recite some poetry to her when I gave it to her. The best I could come up with?

Double, double toil and trouble,
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

I'm such a romantic.

Ugh, I'm a mess. The boots are my WWII boots which is completely wrong. Unfortunately, the only footwear I have from a time period earlier than that are my Roman sandals. Given that this is less than 1000 years off, it's the better choice. The rapier isn't really a great option either, and I should have a sporran (pouch in the front) not to mention some kind of hat. Still, it was fun and I inadvertently showed up in a kilt on Celtic weekend at the faire. Who knew? There were a ton of folks in kilts around but I have to say that mine (of the non-great kilts) was one of the nicer ones. I'm very pleased with the purchase still, and will have to keep working on finding new and interesting ways to wear it throughout the year.

That's about it on that front.

We also played some Shadowrun with our friends and that was a very good time. It's the first real chance I've had to play the system and we really enjoyed it. My character is a "Face" which means he's the talker of the group. Normally I play characters with very limited social skills, so this is a big departure for me. I have to tweak him a bit to make him a more focused and effective part of the group, but I really think we're going to enjoy the game.

Okay, that's all the exciting stuff that's been happening of late. Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 14, 2010


Well, I just got back from a week off of work. My wife and I went up to Breckenridge for a few days to relax a bit and then went to a 1940s-themed dance with some friends. Overall, it was a really great week. I got to spend pretty much 24 hours a day with my wife for a full week, and that was awesome. I think that's really the thing that recharges my batteries, even more than getting away from work or the house.

So, I have some pictures for you all. Here's the place where we stayed in Breck:

It was really nice. We had a great room and the staff was really helpful. We were taking this week to be as relaxed as possible so we didn't actually do much. Mostly we slept and watched Battlestar Galactica in the room. It was the most vacationy vacation ever. We got up there when we felt like it, went home when we felt like it. We stayed up or slept in as we wanted, ate food when we got hungry and avoided any kind of schedule at all for the whole time we were up there. After about 3 days, we'd had as much as we could handle of such shenanigans and wanted to go home. Still, it was a great place to just hang out. Here's the room:

That couch is where we spent most of the week. We watched a lot of movies we'd been wanting to see, put together a puzzle, and finished BSG, which was a great show that we'd been wanting to finish up for a long time. The room also had a bit of a kitchen in it:

Not a big kitchen, but enough for us to make some toast, some coffee, and keep our leftovers in a mini-fridge. That's typically one of the worst things about going on vacation in a hotel. You go out to eat all the time, but you have nowhere to bring your leftovers and then to heat and eat them. This was perfect, and we made full use of it.

Look how cute we are. Mostly her.

 This is a view of the mountain from main street. It was really beautiful all week, with clear skies and warm weather. If we'd been in any mood to go hiking or something, it would've been a great time for it.

We also lucked out in that we were in Breck at the very end of their slow season. Apparently they're busy in winter for skiing and then get busy again in summer for rafting and mountain biking and whatnot. being there when we were, we got to take advantage of the 2 for 1 deals most of the restaurants were putting on. This was a really nice place called the Briar Rose. It was seriously fancy, way moreso than we thought it would be. The food was amazing, and they had the 2 for 1 entree deal going. It was still an expensive meal, but that's what vacation is about, right? It's one of the only places I've gone where their steak was better than what I make at home. Not to brag or anything, but I make a good steak and most restaurants can't really compete (especially if you take cost into account). This one was excellent, though. They also made really tasty whipped Yukon Gold potatoes that I tried to recreate upon our return, only to fail miserably. They had some of the best crème brulée that I've ever had. This was our only real fancy dinner out, and we were really pleased with it.

We got Jenna a 6-pack of Vanilla Porter from the Breckenridge brewery and then went home. All in all, it was a good vacation. When we got home, we had some friends over and I made steak (it was very tasty) and potatoes (they were miserable) for them and we watched Battlestar Galactica: The Plan. The next day, we were headed to a Wings Over the Rockies museum dance thingy with Neil and Melissa. I had ordered my costume before we left and it arrived and was waiting for me. Here it is:

I really dig on this uniform. The kilt is extremely nice. I know because I looked at a lot of kilts when we were in Scotland, and many of them cost twice as much as this to get this weight and all. This one still wasn't cheap, but it was a much better deal than getting it over there. The boots are also a really great deal. They're hobnail WWII combat boots. I'm wearing them right now, actually. I'm trying to break them in a bit more, just in case I actually do need to wear them to go do some WWII reenacting. That's really why I got this. First off, I've wanted a kilt for a long time, second, I think reenacting may be a lot of fun, and third, it's just another really great costume to wear for stuff. People really notice a man in a kilt, I've found. I had a lot of people coming up to me and wanting to take pictures or just talk to me. It was pretty neat. One of them was a 90-year old lady from Scotland who wanted to know if I was actually Scottish. She was really sweet and we told her about our honeymoon over there and she told us how much she loves Colorado. Pretty cool, really. Here's where I got the uniform: What Price Glory? This is called the Briotish Highlander Walking Out Package and it came with just about everything you could need for the uniform. It came with a different jacket, actually, one that's made of wool and doesn't work well with the kilt. I got the Scottish cutaway jacket in KD (khaki drill) to match the kilt better and also for comfort. It's much lighter than the wool and also isn't scratchy.

Here's what my lovely wife wore for the dance:

She's adorable, and only slightly larger than a tire. She spent a lot of time on her hair, trying to do victory curls and such. I think it turned out really well, but she wasn't too pleased with it. She'll get better with practice, I'm sure. She has some pretty 40s-looking dresses already so she didn't get anything new. I know she wants something that's much more decisively 1940s style, so I think she'll be getting something before too long.

Here are Neil and Melissa in front of the B-17. They were the ones who told us about the dance and we had a great time hanging out with them. Neil has done WWII reenacting in the past so he's been sort of inspiring me to look into it. As those of you who know me will be aware, it isn't very hard to get me interested in a new hobby.

Here we are doing a little bit of Charleston. The hobnails on my boots make a cement floor a tricky proposition so we didn't attempt it for long. We relly need to get back to our dancing, for sure. I can't even believe how much of it we've forgotten. Thankfully, we have a pretty decent-sized space in the kitchen right now where we can practice to our hearts' content. I want to get back to feeling really comfy with the basic Lindy and then start adding back our various styles and moves that we learned in our classes. We knew enough to have a great time at a dance, we just didn't practice enough to really lock it in.

This is the B-17 that sort of inspired the whole night. It's a pretty amazing piece of equipment.

Here's the turret ball in the belly. It's incredibly tiny in there.

This is the tail gun. There are so many freaking guns sticking out of this thing, it sort of boggles the mind.

We also saw a few other cool planes:

This, I believe, is a P-51 Mustang. It's supposed to be one of the best warplanes ever designed. Here's another shot:

Very cool plane. Apparently they had these out and flying at some point during the week, but I'm not sure when it was.

There were also some cool land-based vehicles:

Woot! I guess a lot of the guys who have these vehicles also do reenactment, so they'll actually take these original planes and jeeps and trucks and whatnot out into the field to add to the realism for the reenactors. Very cool stuff, I think.

So that's about it, really. Not too much else worth noting. Really, just a nice week off with my wife. It feels good to be home, but significantly less good to have to be away from her again. Seems like we got married for a reason or something.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


It has certainly been a while since I posted here.I've been doing mostly house stuff, so it made sense to update the house blog and not this one. However, I have also been doing some cool stuff aside from the house recently, so I wanted to mention that as well.

The biggest thing is that I ran my first Bolder Boulder on Monday. The race is 10K (6.2 mi) and I finished in about an hour and twelve minutes. Not as fast as I'd like, but I finished and that was my main goal. The strange thing, something I really didn't anticipate, was that I would end up running so much more than the race distance. Doyle (my running buddy for the race) and I both had our iPod Nike+ things set up to see how far we actually ran. Mine isn't calibrated properly, I think, but his was pretty good. His said that we had run 7.38 miles by the time we crossed the finish line, mine said more like 7.9 miles. Trusting his, that means we managed to add another 1.18 miles to our total distance over the course of the race. It seems like a lot, but if you add in all the diagonal and horizontal running we had to do to get around slower people and to get to the water stations and all, it doesn't seem unreasonable.

Counting just the race itself, we had a pace of about 11:30 minutes per mile. That's pretty slow and we were actually keeping up a good pace. If you count the 7.38 mile distance, we were running at about 9:40 minutes per mile, which feels a lot closer. That's easily the longest I've ever run at a stretch, and certainly the best pace I've maintained over time. Running outside just feels easier to me for some reason. I ran a mile about a week or two ago in a little over seven minutes. Doing that on the treadmill pretty much wore me out immediately. I'm not sure what it is, but it just seems easier to run faster and for longer times without getting tired. It may be that I was using a very slight incline on the treadmill so I was pretty much always running uphill and in the real world I'm running up, down, and on flat surfaces. Whatever it is, I just feel like I can run forever out on a trail. It's pretty exciting, especially since we have so many trails near our new house. I'm working up some trails at different distances based on various loops I can map out on Running Ahead with their course-building tool.

That's about it, really. Just trying to get myself back in the habit of running regularly. I'm also going to try to start mixing up my workouts. I'd like to be doing some cardio every day, so I may jump rope on my off days, and then maybe row once we get a rowing machine. Lifting needs to get in there too, so I'll figure out how best to fit that. Gotta keep making progress, right?