Wizards of Oz

"Life is fraughtless ... when you're thoughtless."


Aztecs at the Half

J-man at the front row as the SDSU Aztecs head into the locker room for halftime. Though the Aztec defense has been impressive (holding the Zoomie offense to just 9 points and forcing a safety), the Zoomie 'D' returned a fumble for a 50-yard score in the opening drive for the only TD of the half. Aztecs 2, AFA 16.

Aztecs @ Air Force

The San Diego State Aztecs (alma mater of Man-Cub's godmother) are in Colorado Springs facing Air Force. It's also "Scout Day" so Pack 165 is out in force.


Snowy Pike

Pikes Peak, covered in snow, from the end of our driveway.



The teachers and staff of Ranch Creek Elementary are working at McDonalds tonight! They are staffing every position: from drive-thru-mic to register to fry machine, even sweeping the floors (as Principal Paulson shows us in the photo).


Birthday Cupcake

... with pink icing!

Sophie's Lamb Rocker

It's Sophie's first birthday! She loves her new Lamb Rocker!


Road Trippin'

Earlier today we posted some cell phone pix from within the Capulin National Volcano Monument -- perhaps the best-preserved shield-style volcano in North America. Above is a photo from US-64; the groove on the right slope is the paved road leading to the rim. Of course, guard rails are sparse -- so watch that first step:

This map shows the road up to the rim, as well as the three trails in the park:

Following our volcano adventure, and a quick drive to Texline, Texas, for gas and snacks, we followed Shamburger Road to the survey marker denoting the intersection of the Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas state lines:

My improvised "short cut" back home (basically, following any road that headed "north") led us into the depths of the Comanche National Grassland. After about an hour on gravel roads and some rather spectacular scenery, we reached the east-west thoroughfare of U.S. Hwy 160.

Tuesday marks Peanut's 1st birthday, but she's proven to be quite a traveler at her young age! While the tdaxp metric of "visiting" a state (i.e., conducting an "economic transaction") was not met in Oklahoma on this particular trip, I'm still choosing to log it for all three kids -- who had to endure my driving on gravel roads no less.

(Memo to tdaxp: While you've certainly out-traveled my baby girl internationally, I think she has you beat in "electoral votes".... :-)

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[Moblog] Texline to OK

Shamburger Road is a lane-and-a-half wide packed gravel road that heads north from Texline, TX to the NM and OK borders. We followed this for about seven miles to the "Top o' Texas" ranch road, then east about a mile to the tri-state intersection of TX, NM & OK.

[Moblog] Capulin Volcano

In the northeastern corner of New Mexico is one of the best preserved 'extinct' volcanoes in North America: the Capulin Volcano National Monument.

A short drive from US-64, and about 30 miles from Interstate-25, Capulin has a paved road to the rim of the shield (although the drive up, on the outboard side of the road, could use a few more guardrails.....).

There is also a short trail into the ancient caldera, right to the now-sealed vent. Shelby did the trail twice.


Happy Air Force Birthday!

Happy Birthday, U.S. Air Force! For 62 years, the Air Force has merged technical excellence with mission focus -- ensuring that American power is without peer in the air, in space, and most recently in cyberspace.


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Happy Soviet Invasion Day, Poland....

In a statement this morning, President Obama officially killed the Poland-based portion of the Ballistic Missile Defense System, and its accompanying phased-array radar in the Czech Republic. This system has been a point of contention ever since former President Bush inked the deal with the European nations who would benefit from the system's protection against Iranian missiles.

Though this system (called "European Capability") is being replaced by a "phased approach" that capitalizes on sea- and other land-based interceptors, you have to wonder about the timing of this announcement.....

Sept. 17, 1939 (70 years ago today) marked the Soviet invasion of Poland. Happy Anniversary, Poland....

(h/t Nathan Hodge at WIRED's Danger Room)

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Constitution Day

222 years ago today, the U.S. Constitutional Convention met for its final session in Philadelphia to sign the fledgling document that would define our nation.

It took nearly a year for the Constitution to fully go into effect -- after the necessary ninth state ratified it (New Hampshire, in June 1788), it was another three months before the irregularly-convened Continental Congress passed the resolution putting the Constitution into operation on September 13th, 1788.

Though many of the Constitutional Convention delegates were dissatisfied with the final product, deeming it a "series of unfortunate compromises", it is a document that has endured the test of time.

It has had barely two dozen amendments over its lifetime - one of those (XXI) repealing another (XVIII), and the first ten bundled into the Bill of Rights and ratified in 1791. And all Federal employees and military service members swear their oath to uphold and defend it -- *not* to any specific person or organization, but to the ideals expressed in this wonderful document.

Happy Constitution Day!


Man-Cub's new 'do

J-man's hair was starting to resemble a brown mop. So we stopped by the mall after school today (while T2 was at dance) and got the highlights-n-cut special. The end result? A spiky surfer dude with long highlighted sideburns - just like he wanted.

Summertime Blues

Yes, we are still more than a week from the Autumnal Equinox....


Never Forget


[Moblog] J on the Rocks

J-man ascends the 5.7-rated "Pikes Peak" in Red Rock Canyon - not the 14k+' peak, but one of the 'easier' climbs in Red Rock on the east slopes of Pikes Peak.

(BTW: he scampered up this 100-foot slope far more quickly than me....)

[Moblog] Labor Day Ride

A good friend's neighborhood (across town from us) hosts an annual "Labor Day Bike Ride" in the foothills of the Rampart Range. 12-1/2 miles winding through neighborhoods and backroads, with some nice descents and (to maintain symmetry) climbs.

The potluck brunch (and white sangría) makes it all worthwhile!


Biking to School

Living on a hillside in Tennessee made it difficult to teach the kids how to ride their bikes. You can only learn so much in a driveway, and we never seemed to master the logistics to gather everyone, cross town to the flat bike path alongside Melton Lake, and lock in their bike skills.

Though our elevation in north Colorado Springs is close to 7,000' abovr sea level, our new neighborhood is flat. But I still haven't taken the time to take the kids out to fully teach them.

So Jarrett, being ever the self-starter, decided to teach himself! Like the old Bo Jackson Nike commercials, he "just did it".

And once again, I'm learning from him.