Life on Earth is dying again

in 1996 or so i saw noted biologist E.O. Wilson give a talk in which he said we would soon see the signs that we are in midst of the next mass extinction and that not many species would make it through. to him the evidence was clear ( and even him admitted ) and a bit of a bummer. now almost 20 years later, new research published in science confirms we are in earth’s sixth mass extinction and “…more broadly, it suggests that if we are unable to end or reverse the rate of their loss, it will mean more for our own future than a broken heart or an empty forest.” understated to say the least. [ via dangerousmeta ]

day 3673: odin tests out The Five Minute Smoke Tube and you won’t believe what happens next.

day 3673 - odin tests out The Five Minute Smoke Tube and you won't believe what happens next. I.

i bought some fireworks on blowout deal after the fourth of july at one of those crazy michigan fireworks stores and threw some five minute smoke tubes into the mix because odin likes smoke bombs and we’ve been experimenting with our own recipes that we light off in a custom smoke bomb metal tube we had fabricated locally. first thing we learned was that if you light a smoke tube in a metal tube it acts more like a rocket launcher! yikes! don’t do that.

it smoked for a few seconds then, “PHOOOOOOOOOOOF” it blasted out of the metal tube and left a fiery bit of its insides behind.

day 3673 - odin tests out The Five Minute Smoke Tube and you won't believe what happens next.  II.

i looked across the street and our neighbors were trying to figure out what the heck we were doing.

“oh we’re ok! just playing with smoke bombs!” i think they are somewhat used to this kind of behavior after 8 years.

day 3673 - odin tests out The Five Minute Smoke Tube and you won't believe what happens next.  III.

the second one we lit in a metal tin. odin got out of dodge quickly. about 30 seconds after we lit it i realized it was blowing into our next door neighbors window and open door so i had to scramble to move it quickly to a different spot. d’oh!

day 3673 - odin tests out The Five Minute Smoke Tube and you won't believe what happens next.  IV.

after about a minute we realized that it was going to put out a serious amount of smoke. they’re not joking around in the product description, “This item puts out a large volume of white smoke for five minutes! Super dense and long lasting smoke item!”

i started to get worried we were going to smoke out the entire block and someone not knowing what was going on would call the fire department.

you can see kris is attempting to brush frida in the background. she is not amused. double d’oh!

beer can chicken

recipe: grilled beer can chicken.

recipe: grilled beer can chicken.

i have to admit i always thought “beer can” chicken was a gimmick. i had it once years ago and it wasn’t memorable experience. recently, my sister in-law was visiting and said we had to give it another try and i was amazed at the results. crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. we’ve made it a few more times and served it to some folks who really enjoy food, had never heard of the technique and looked on with skeptically raised eyebrows until they tasted it.

there some debate about whether or not the beer is actually doing anything but the folks america’s test kitchen give it their approval and my taste buds give it two thumbs up. do note that the beer increases the chances of undercooking the chicken so make sure to get the chicken to 165 degrees F throughout.

we haven’t used any rubs but i’m sure you could and it’d be mighty tasty.

ingredients
1 (4-pound) whole chicken
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 can beer

directions
- heat grill to 410 degrees F. use indirect heat ( i.e. don’t turn on burner under the chicken ).
- prepare the chicken as you normally would. rinse chicken inside and out, and pat dry. then rub chicken lightly with oil and sprinke on salt, pepper inside and outside the bird
- open the beer can and drink half of it. some recipes recommend poking several more holes in the top of the can.
- place beer can in bird’s cavity. this can be tricky and it might require two people if you’re not coordinated.
- holding the beer can with an oven mitt place the chicken on the center of the hot grill and carefully balance the bird. i rest it against the grate on the back of the grill and use the legs and the beer can like a three legged stool.
– cook for 75 minutes or so until the bird has reached 165 degrees F throughout. take several measurements.
- carefully remove from the grill ( this can also be tricky and if you’re not careful you’ll end up with greasy beer all over the place ) and let rest for 10 minutes or so.

enjoy!

raising a more supportive treehouse support. part deux.

raising a more supportive treehouse support. part deux.

“just” a few weeks after raising a more supportive treehouse support i rebuilt and raised the second “outside” support with a little help from friends. i’m happy with additional supportive supports and don’t think i need to rebuild the inner supports.

so. finally. after. a. three. month. delay. we can get back to enjoying the treehouse deck. and yes, that means treehouse movie theater screenings!

day 3669: rolling down the (kickapoo) river!

day 3669: rolling down the (kickapoo) river! I.

the kickapoo river is a 126-mile-long twisty turny tributary of the wisconsin river and gets its name from an algonquian word meaning “one who goes here, then there”. rolling down the river the low and slow river is one of the many highlights of the driftless region. because the region didn’t get razed flat by the advancing glaciers then dumped with drift they receded the river offers some spectacular views.

and it’s all the more fun when you roll down the river when family are visiting.

day 3669: rolling down the (kickapoo) river! II.

between intentionally goofing around and actually accidentally running into each there was a lot of contact on the river. i’m surprised one of them didn’t dump it. nope, that honor went to their mothers :-)

day 3669: rolling down the (kickapoo) river! III.

it was absolutely gorgeous day. sunny, light breeze, warm but not hot and no bugs!

day 3669: rolling down the (kickapoo) river! IV.

day 3669: rolling down the (kickapoo) river! V.

the ancient geography throws off a serious Enchanted Land where Faeries might Play vibe.

day 3669: rolling down the (kickapoo) river! VI.

this here is what is known locally as river beer. i think not so much because it tastes like a river but because if you take a spill it’s not the end of the world if you lose a few in the river. but we don’t do that, leave no beer behind is my motto.

day 3669: rolling down the (kickapoo) river! VIII.

on the ride back from the landing in a packed bus of merry ( and tipsy ) river goers, odin notices the sign on the bus has the same number for the half a dozen services on emergency services sign. he thinks someone was trying to make an joke that he doesn’t get. i tell him there was a day when 911 didn’t exist and you had to call a different number for all the different services and the numbers were different from town to town. he gave me the man-the-olden-days-were-crazy look.

day 3649: finally flying the kite aerial photography rig!

day 3649: finally flying the kite aerial photography rig! I.

a little over a year ago i thought about getting into kite aerial photography with odin and almost exactly a year ago we beta tested the rig and took frida goes for her first ride in the galaxie 500 in search of the wind. and then we waited. and waited. and waited for a non-stormy windy day when we had the time to fly a kite. turns out that combination of conditions is a rarity! and i started to believe that waiting for the wind was the wrong strategy and we needed to start thinking about heading to windy places.

so we planned ahead and brought the gear on vacation in the upper peninsula of michigan where odds are good we’d find a good breeze coming off lake michigan.

sure enough, just a few hundred feet from where odin and his cousin flew kites for the very first time almost exactly 8 years to the day, we launched the rig into the air.

but first, we tested without the camera attached to see if the breeze seemed strong enough. sure seemed so!

the kite was up for about 10 minutes and took 40 shots and i we got 1 that was perfectly aligned when shooting every 15 seconds. i’m sure there’s probably some sort of optimum to be found between decreasing the time between shots ( and reducing the battery life ) and just leaving the kite up longer.

day 3649: finally flying the kite aerial photography rig! II.

we mounted the canon sd450 running the canon hack development kit onto the kit and using the super simple intervalometer that comes with the stock kit set the camera to take a picture every 15 seconds. i was hoping we’d get into the frame on take off. odin’s feet did :-)

day 3649: finally flying the kite aerial photography rig! III.

the results turned out awesome! it doesn’t have any fancy stabilization sytem and it was really windy so odds are low that at any given moment the camera is going to be perfectly aligned with the horizon. i think in the future i’ll set the time between shots to a shorter duration to increase the chances if getting aligned with the horizon.

day 3649: finally flying the kite aerial photography rig! IV.

at this point the kite was maybe a 150 feet up with the camera swaying around around 20 feet below. odin and i started thinking how cool it would be to get a much longer line and a reel to make it easier to get the kite higher up and down faster ( yes, that’s foreshadowing ).

day 3649: finally flying the kite aerial photography rig! V.

the kite was up for about 10 minutes and took 40 shots and i we got 1 that was perfectly aligned when shooting every 15 seconds. i’m sure there’s probably some sort of optimum to be found between decreasing the time between shots ( and reducing the battery life ) and just leaving the kite up longer.

day 3649: finally flying the kite aerial photography rig! VI.

it took a lot of effort in the stiff breeze to bring the kite down with the awkward “reel” that came with the kite. we though surely grandpa must have a old fishing reel! we raced back to the house and of course he did. so we hooked up the kite to the fishing line and went back to the beach.

day 3649: finally flying the kite aerial photography rig! VII.

we tried to let the kite out slowly with the reel but the winds were soooooo strong it just went zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz all out at once – the entire 300 feet or so of line. i thought the reel was going to catch on fire!

day 3649: finally flying the kite aerial photography rig! VIII.

and much to our surprise we couldn’t reel it back in as there was too much drag on the line.

what to do?! i thought i could run the line under a picnic table and keep walking backwards until i pulled the kite down. i got about 10 feet before the line snapped and the kite went sailing away out of sight. at that point we were both very happy we decided to test it without the camera attached.

it took about 30 minutes of wandering through people’s back yards before we found the kite. it had floated about 4 blocks away and thankfully landed in in some trees without the fishing line getting tangled in powerlines.

a very nice lady helped us get it out of the tree by giving us a length of gutter that was just long enough to knock it down. i think she really enjoyed hearing about our adventure as we pulled down the kite and yanked the hundreds of feet of line that draped over her house and across the street into the next block.

odin commented that the kite aerial photography rig was a 110% success but maybe we needed to do a little more work on building a better reel. i couldn’t agree more! i thinnk there might be a outdoor kite line reel winder with lock in our future, but what to do until then? surely we must be able to build something from stuff lying around.

takin’ a hole of the present day.

takin' a hole of the present day.

post 10 mile run endocannabinoids pulsing through my veins with the lyrics of the last song of the run running through my head while i take a sauna with odin at his grandparents home in the upper peninsula

Taking control of the elements,
Making them mine, making them mine.

Touching up all of the elements,
Takin’ my time, takin’ my time.

Takin’ a hole of the present day,
Pushin’ it all, pushin’ it all, pushing it.

Takin’ control of my destiny,
Makin’ it fine, makin’ it fine, makin’ it.

harder. better. faster. stronger.

harder. better. faster. stronger.

today i ran 10 miles faster than i ever have before. i averaged 8.5 minute miles and on the last 5 i was running 8 minute mile pace. i could have easily run the entire 10 miles at a 8 minute mile pace. this means i shaved 10 minutes off my 10 mile run time compared to 1 year ago and about 20 minutes off my time from 2 years ago.

originally i was going to only run 8 miles but it felt so good i tacked on 2 miles. maybe there’s something to being trolled by an ice cream truck :-)

it seems reasonable to project out the performance and gains and predict that i’ll hit 7 minute pace sometime over the next year for half marathon and under distances.

two years ago i honestly thought that was impossible goal for my 6’4″ former clydesdale frame and now it’s almost a reality.

big question is what’s the upper limit? could i hit 6 minute miles. seems impossible now…

current status:

{ intertwingled since 2000 }