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2005 - Jan - Feb - March - April - May - June - July - Aug - Sept - Oct - Nov - Dec -
2006 - Jan - Feb - March - April - May - June - July - Aug - Sept - Oct - Nov - Dec -
2007 - Jan - Feb - March - April - May - June - July - Aug - Sept - Oct - Nov - Dec -
2008 - Jan - Feb - March - April - May - June - July - Aug - Sept - Oct - Nov - Dec -
2009 - Jan - Feb - March - April - May - June - July - Aug - Sept - Oct - Nov - Dec -
2010 - Jan - Feb - March - April - May - June - July - Aug - Sept - Oct - Nov - Dec -
2011 - Jan - Feb - March - April - May - June

- July 31, 2005 -

A new Gallup poll out has approval for Bush at 44%- which ties with Nixon's record low during Watergate.

Today Teresa and I went back to Joe and Cynthia's to finish their trellis. We were lucky to get a number of clouds and I took a good ladder so it seemed to go really fast. After I got home I took a short nap, and then mowed the yard.

- July 30, 2005 -

A new planet has been discovered in our solar system. Its orbit is about three times as distant from the Sun and is twice the size of Pluto, and it also has a moon. Its so far been given the name of 2003-EL61, but it will probably be given a real name soon.

99942-Apophis, an asteroid is headed for Earth and will get here in April 13, 2059... it will pass within 22,000 miles of Earth... that is well within the orbit of the Moon, and even within the orbit of communications satellites. They already know it will not impact the Earth, but it may pass close enough to have its orbit altered slightly so that it will collide on its next orbit just as Jupiter caused Shoemaker-Levy9 to impact it.

This week India received a meter of rain in a 24 hour period causing massive flooding and five hundred deaths.

Majority Leader of the Senate, Dr. Bill Frist broke from the President and announced that he supported legislation for the funding of expanded stem cell research- this act lit a firestorm on the right; several religious leaders said they would not support Frist if he ran for president, and Senator Brownback took the opportunity to denounce Frist on the Senate floor. The Senate now has majority support for creating legislation but Bush has vowed to veto... now the only question is if Senator Frist will be able to convince others in his party to be able to override a veto. As a doctor he is held in high regard on medical issues.

Capitol Hill is preparing to go on break so a number of bills have been sent to the President- There's an energy bill that gives huge tax breaks to oil and gas companies, and a $286 billion highway bill passed which will give Topeka a new Kansas River bridge. The Bolton nomination failed to gain support in the Senate, but now that they are going on break Bush can make him a recess appointment and send him to the UN anyway.

Yesterday Teresa was kinda sick. Lin called me before I was to come in for work and told me... so I called the Teresa to see if she wanted anything from the store. I took her crackers and Sprite, but while getting ice, I noticed her lightbulb in her refrigerator didn't work... Teresa said that it was an old refrigerator, and they didn't make it with a lightbulb, but I quickly found that it had a place for one, she just didn't know that she could put one in it..... and she's lived there for two years. ...So sad.

- July 27, 2005 -

Tonight I talked to Miyako in a chat room for a little while. I'm going to try and make a video CD to send to her and my host family of my life here. Miyako came to study at Washburn for a month in the same program that I went over there in, but she's never been to Holton.

The Space Shuttle Discovery was sent up yesterday, the first shuttle in over two years, and after another small piece of insulation peeled off from the external tank, all the shuttles are grounded again. I don't believe this grounding will last as long, but since I really question the focus of the program, and Bush's goal to get people to Mars... I'm not as interested.

- July 26, 2005 -

Today was a great day- it rained and it was very cool. Today at work Bob brought in a little cup full of foreign coins for my collection- I wonder how many of them are also not being minted anymore with the Euro replacing them. I read that Italy was debating abandoning the Euro to bring back the Lyra. My host sister Miyako Matsuda started to write me quite a bit, and Yuka wrote me a letter, so I'm very happy to be able to get to catch up with them.

- July 25, 2005 -

It was a busy weekend- I worked Saturday and it was somewhat slow the first part of the day but after that it picked up a little. When I got home from work Carrie said she was going to have to drive to Kansas City to go to a music conference for work. It was then that I got a call from Eunjoo: it had been months since I'd heard from her, and over a year since I saw her last. I told her that Carrie and I were planning to go just to look for the convention center (which was next to where Eunjoo & Eric got married, so she told us to come up and they'd show her, and Eric had just gotten a new jet-ski so we could do that as well. So Sunday Carrie and I went to KC to see the Lee family. Troy seems like a very happy baby- he will turn one on Wednesday. Eunjoo's parents were staying with them so they watched Troy for the afternoon while we went out.... Carrie saw where the convention center was, we ate at a Korean restaurant- one I'd never eaten at before (but the Toh Sol Pibimbap was still just as good). After we ate we met up with Eric's friend Shawn- he drove the jet-ski mostly, and took everyone for rides, and pulled me once skiing. When we first got to the lake (we went to Smithville Lake in Missouri) they let me drive the jet-ski out by myself, and I got pulled over by a police boat for not having a number on the side- and they didn't have a fire extinguisher. The park officer was very nice though, very serious, but understanding that they had just gotten it, and it was registered, it just didn't have the sticker on it, and she said that a compact extinguisher should have come with it when they got it, so she let us go with a warning. She was very busy that day, because every time I saw her she had someone new pulled over.

- July 21, 2005 -

Had the karate tonight, and in the basement no less... I like basement karate, because basement karate is not in the billion degree heat. After karate we all went out for custard... I like custard nights.

Darfur, Sudan- Secretary Rice was there today, and some of her people and the reporters there to cover her trip were roughed up, thrown against walls, and manhandled out of the room. Rice was there so they could ask her for assistance in the crisis there... though they really caused the problem. Rice said that the situation is better there now- though all the villages in Darfur are now gone and and the population there now reside in camps. It's situations like the crisis in Darfur, or in Iraq, that make me think we (the UN) need to build secured cities in troubled spots throughout the world. First... We build a big circular wall and set up guard towers and checkpoints and then we build another wall inside the first... and then... we start a new city inside the walls. It'd be more a city of the future... compact, no need for cars... and then set the rules; basically no guns, and place limits on everything that could be taken into the city that could be a component chemical to making a bomb.... and then invite people that wish to live in the city in. It might seem like the Berlin wall- but everyone would be able to come and go as they pleased, but I think the majority would chose the safety behind the wall.

- July 20, 2005 -

Last night I went over to help Brent with his wedding photos he took Saturday... When I got home I watched Bush make his nomination for the next Supreme Court Justice. Oiy. O'Connor had always been a moderate swing voter who balanced the court, so with this nomination it will become a conservative court, or at least a more conservative court. I'm not sure I see a way around the nomination- fifty million dollars had been raised even before the announcement was made to promote or attack the new candidate, so there are people on both sides drawing out a battle plan, but I really don't see a way to defeat the nomination... The group of fourteen senators that came to an agreement over judicial appointments set criteria for when a filibuster could be used, and McCain stated today that the current nomination of John Roberts did not meet the criteria agreed upon so the Democrats would be bound to vote for an up or down vote on the nomination... So since it's going to be a losing battle, I feel it's a battle best not fought. I think the Senators should be diligent and ask questions of him, but I think they shouldn't try and delay the process or fight it, though I certainly would hope many will vote against him to have it on the record. I feel it's something that cannot be defeated, and making it into a big fight will cause it to be seen as a big victory for Bush- and it will be, especially if the media is caused to focus on it and the eventual confirmation for a long period of time. Thus, the logical thing to do is to push it through and reclaim the headlines... What's Karl Rove up to now? .... The CIA is none to happy with Karl- it would seem that in their first investigation of the leak when he was asked if he had been interviewed by columnist Robert Novak Rove had told them that he had not. There is a new poll out: "Is Karl Rove guilty of a serious offense?" and among only Republicans, which was the kindest group to him, only 38% said he was innocent. 46% said they didn't know, and 16% said that he was guilty.

This morning James Doohan passed away at the age of 85. George Takei was on Countdown with Keith Olberman tonight with fond memories of Scotty, and his bio was on the nightly news, and even the BBC world news noted his death. He certainly led a long and successful life. Doohan is the second person from the original cast to pass on after DeForest Kelley.

- July 18, 2005 -

Today I got up and jogged three miles, had cake, walked dogs at the humane society with the rest of the family, took pictures of a car Dad has been restoring, had a nap and watched Stargate.

- July 17, 2005 -

Today Teresa and I went over to Joe & Cynthia Laframboise's house to stain their trellis... Starting off though Teresa told me we would be staining their deck- and I pondered: "Decks aren't that bad, you can just use a roller with a pole like Matt Veatch did, just an hour this'll take!" Given it was not a deck, and it was all up above our heads, it was a little more difficult than I thought, but wasn't too bad. It was a pretty hot and muggy day, but luckily it was partly cloudy so we were not looking up at the sun... just looking up.

This week the lilly that Yuka got for Mom started to bloom. She got it for her when she and her mother stayed with us. We got it at the farmers' market in Topeka, where Yuka also got a bag of kettle corn that she carried around everywhere, never really eating it... but always really enjoying just a bit here and there.. The flower was really a great gift, and it's nice to have a good memory tied to something like a flower that will bloom at the same time you gave it year after year.

Small Fry is doing pretty good. We tend to just call her "Smally" now, and she's been extremely playful lately. She and Weazer are always nipping or chasing after one another. She has plumped up a great deal after being on the pregnazone (a steroid) for her lymphoma. Her tongue is disproportionately long for her mouth I think, because it always hangs out to one side.

Dad's birthday is tomorrow, and he took yesterday off to go to a car show with friends, so we took that time to get his gift, a new 27" flat screen TV and an entertainment center to put it in. It took over an hour probably to assemble everything- Dad really liked it, and I'm sure it will be something that will get used- though I think Carrie wanted it as much, if not more than Dad did. The old TV had seen its day though, it would often suddenly switch to American Movie Classics at will... It wasn't really that it'd switch channels, more that all channels would become AMC, and it was a daily occurrence, so it certainly was time to get a new TV.

- July 15, 2005 -

Friday~ Today I got my technology in the mail, a 1GB compact flash card, and a new sound card. Tonight after work I went to Bob's house and we messed with his video capture device some, and then I came home for Sci-Fi Friday, but then Brent called for computer help. Luckily I had told my computer to record it anyway.

- July 13, 2005 -

Everyone complimented me on my Colorado pictures, but wanted to know if I took 300 pictures, why did I only show twenty of them- Well, I did upload 2.3MB worth of images, and some were of the same thing, and some were bad.... Here's one that was bad -->

Tonight I worked some on the dojo website, and also made a karate kata CD of the first kata we must know to earn a green belt.

- July 11, 2005 -

We recently had several channels added to our cable, so today I watched a little Fox News... I don't see how they can be so bias and call themselves a news channel. They have branded the rest of the media the "liberal media", though I've never really thought any of the other mainstream organizations to be tilted on way or the other-

Last night and into today I've been working on my HP... it was hiccupping while it was recording TV and when it was played back it would pause and skip, so I reformatted it last night, twice. The first time it had some problems, but now it seems to work better than when I first got it. The built-in media card readers never worked on it, not that it was a big concern as I have another card reader with the other computer I built years ago- but the one in the HP never worked, even though it was all connected right, it just never detected it was there, but now it is happy, so I have a lot of moving in to do now.

July 7, 2005 -

I had a great time in Colorado! I took a lot of notes, so I will start filling in what I did on the days that I was there tonight and over the weekend.

A lot is going on in the world now, vacations are always a break from the news for me, but I always like to see what has gone one while I've not been paying attention. Sandra Day O'Connor has resigned from the Supreme Court, and the London subways were attacked today.

Tonight I unloaded all the images off my camera- I took over three hundred pictures while I was in Colorado.

- July 6, 2005 -

This morning I got up and packed to get ready for the journey home. We all went downtown to meander about one last time, but most of the shops were not open yet, so we went back up to the cabin and loaded the car up, said goodbye to Brent & Sanka, and then departed. On our way back through town we stopped again, I got a T-shirt and a mug, and Teresa went and begged another store to open so she could get something she'd seen earlier. The drive home wasn't too bad, Teresa drove the first half home, and I drove the last- Colorado is a very scenic state with the mountains and all, but I was happy to return to the lush green Kansas countryside.

- July 5, 2005 -

It's our last full day in Colorado, and today I made breakfast, and we did just a wee bit of karate and then we went to the Cog Railway, which was only but a block from the cabin, and got on the cog trail to go to the top of Pike's Peak. The trip up took about and hour and a half, and the scenery was just awesome. I think everyone at least once in their life should make the trip up to the top. At first I was a little concerned because I saw how my little Pringles cans had puffed up just from the pressure change from Topeka to Manitou Springs, and that did not seem to be too great of a distance in elevation up as it was so gradual... but the trip to the summit would be much greater so I pondered what it would feel like or if it would be hard on my camera. I took my older film camera just in case, and I wished that I had took all my equipment.. I didn't have any trouble breathing, and aside from adjusting my ears a few times I didn't really notice much of a difference. It was cold though, and it goppled on us several times on the way up, and at the summit. Gropple is a snow/hail combination, I'd never seen it before, and I'd say it was mostly like snow, but the were round and held together very tightly. On the way up past the timberline where no trees will grow there were flowery plants and large yellow bellied marmots that scurried about.... the summit was comprised of only smaller stones.

After Pike's Peak Brent took us to Helen Hunt Falls. Leading up to the falls there was a stream... there seem to be beautiful streams everywhere in Colorado! Brent and Teresa tried to coax Sanka into the stream, and she went in a few times, but it was VERY cold... I think it originated somewhere close by in the mountains from snow melt because it was ice cold. I'm glad the Arkansas River was not that cold... it was still chilly mind you, but it was not freezing cold like this. There were nature trails around the falls and there was one part that was very eroded. It seemed like there was no topsoil at all in Colorado, or at least the area we were in- everything seemed to be granite, or broken down granite, and there was a lot of grass in places, but not thick like we have here.

After Helen Hunt Falls we went the the Broadmoor for drinks... it's a very fancy hotel for the rich and well-to-do and they had some very nice gardens (though there pool in the front was not deep enough for the lilies they had planted). While we sat and enjoyed the scenery we watched the ducks and a squirl harass people for the complementary nuts. There were signs not to feed them, but apparently no one followed them because they all seemed very accustomed to going up to people and looking cute for a reward.

- July 4, 2005 -

July 4th! I got up at 7am, we did our daily karate and Teresa and I set off for Canyon City and white water rafting. When we first got to Colorado Teresa called and booked us for a half-day outing on the Arkansas River with the Echo Canyon River Expeditions. We got there a little early as we were the first there for our tour, but after sitting at a table for an hour (and there was a bit of a stench from the outhouses) we loaded up on a bus to get our safety instructions... the first being: Never put your feet down! The river bed is rocky, so if you put your feet down to stand up, your feet can easily get lodged in a crevasse, and then the current can pull you forward. Teresa seemed to be a bit quiet as our instructions continued. Our river guide, Corey, was very good, we were paired up with her and four other people to go down the river... It was all very exciting, and I wish I could have gotten pictures, but it was a totally drenching tour. Teresa did take a before picture, and we both got T-shirts... They told us that on every trip down the river at least one person gets ejected into the river, and sure enough, there was one little girl (who was very annoying when we were on shore) that went in... and it was our raft that rescued her. After rafting we were very soaked, so we made our way back to the cabin and we went with Brent into Colorado Springs to find a place to eat, but everything seemed to be closed so we just ate at Taco Bell. I was happy though that we were able to find a quick place to eat though.... People had been lining the streets for an hour to watch fireworks, so after we finished eating we walked up one of the nature trails next to the cabin to take in the show... it was amazing because no one else was up there at all and it was the best view of the show. It was still a rather small fireworks display, just one explosion here and there (I photoshopically enhanced the image).

- July 3, 2005 -

I slept in a bit today, then we all did a little karate together, and the ate breakfast and talked about where good tourist sites were. Brent left early with his uncle to a service for his Grandmother in Cripple Creek, so Teresa and I set out to explore some of the countryside. First we headed for Eleven Mile Canyon, along the way though we stopped at the Florissant Fossil Park. We didn't actually venture all the way to the fossil beds, we went into the tourist center to see the fossils that had been preserved, and took a photo of ourselves there, and then we were off again for the Eleven Mile Canyon... we followed all the signs to find it, and the roads quickly deteriorated until it was no more than a dirty road- one that was very poorly graded, and it seemed to get worse the more miles we went until finally we decided it would be best just to turn back.

On the way back to the cabin we ate at a Sonic that was very interesting- its architecture was a cross between a Sonic, and a log cabin. After eating we saw a road sign for Green Mountain Falls, and the mountain was right there along the road, so we drove along that smaller road, and went through the town of Green Mountain Falls, but we saw no waterfalls, so I pondered perhaps it was somewhat like Valley Falls... which really contains no great valleys or falls. We returned to the cabin somewhat dejected that we spent the day driving all about the area without seeing monumental nature... Brent called right when we got in though, so we drove out to Cripple Creek (which we were very near by before). Cripple Creek was a gold mining town in ancient times, but is now a casino town- it's really quite interesting how all the main street shops had been converted into micro-casinos... but I wish there could have been more balance as they all looked like the same cookie-cutter casino... perhaps a museum, cafe, or places for children's entertainment would have been nice. We told Brent of our day, and he said he'd show us some of what we missed. I think they really need to mark some sites better because he took us to Green Mountain Falls, and the road to it was unmarked, and looked to be no more than a driveway. After we took a number of pictures and wandered the trails we ventured to Cave of the Winds. The roads to get there were very steep, and though we did not actually go into the caves, the view from the cliffs outside were very impressive.

- July 2, 2005 -

After breakfast Teresa and I went back to get more photos at Garden of the Gods. Last night it was already getting dark when we were there, and it was so awesome and close that we pondered we'd make a daily trip there. We were driving about the park to places we hadn't seen before and we came up to a stop sign- just then a van rounded the corner, it had it's sliding door open, and a couple of elderly women were sitting in the back taking pictures of the scenery that passed by... but as they rounded the corner their lunch box rolled on out and they drove off unknowing of what they had lost. Fortunately the road they went down was just to a dead end parking area, so I got out and took the lunch box to them... The men in the front looked kinda leery at me, as if I was going to approach them to buy whatever it was I was holding, but when I asked if they had lost a lunch box, the women in the back died laughing at their folly.

After Garden of the Gods we set off for Seven Falls. We got there via probably the longest route possible, but I think our directions were probably geared at people staying in Colorado Springs rather than Manitou Springs, cause we could have gotten there a lot quicker if we knew the roads better. Seven Falls was great though, it is the tallest waterfall I've ever seen (if you count them all as one fall), in a couple places it lands and pools a bit, and it can be a little difficult to count where there are exactly seven of them... Next to the falls there is a metal stairway that is very steep. We climbed all the way up it, and then walked the nature trails that go back into a forested area. The trip back down the stairs seemed the most treacherous, the stairs were pretty small,and you just cannot help but thinking if you take one wrong step- there'd be no stopping till you got to the ground. When we reached the ground though a couple started up the stairs, and they had a large black lab with them. The dog seemed a bit hesitant to go up at first, but then he seemed ok with it- I don't think it was the best of ideas though on their part, because the trip down is certainly difficult for even a biped. After Seven Falls we did some shopping, ate at McDonalds and then went back to the cabin.

After a bit of a nap, doing the dishes and some laundry we decided to walk down to Manitou's downtown to meander the stores down there. As we were walking down we saw that there was a little nature trail that went parallel to the street, it seems that so many sidewalks and streets have streams along them- After we exited back onto the sidewalk from the trail a silver Subaru wagon pulled up- I noticed that it was a little different than the year Brent drives, but Teresa took off... She waved her arms above her head and shouted "Whoohoo! Brent!" - It was then that she actually got the attention of the man that was driving, he slowed down and stopped- and then Teresa got so embarrassed, not sure how to explain why she greeting him in such a manner... He muttered something about drunks (not really) and drove on, leaving Teresa still quite embarrassed, given it is a story I said was quite blog-worthy.... It wasn't more than five minutes before Brent drove up with Sanka riding shot-gun.

That night we all went out to eat at Adam's Mountain Cafe in downtown Manitou Springs- it was quite a bit classier than where Teresa and I ate earlier. Everyone has the special, the Spearfish- the fish was ok, a lot like salmon, and it was on a bed of pasta with a red tomato sauce- but it wasn't very saucy, it was more a chopped up assortment of things, tomato, very strong olives, orange peel, and a variety of things I couldn't discern, it was very chunky though, and didn't stick to the pasta at all, so I didn't enjoy it as much. Brent showed us around the downtown area, and this is when Teresa learned of the Penny Arcades. She went crazy playing the games and such, they had every game imaginable from new video games to ancient types of games, and more interactive games like skee-ball where you can get tickets to win prizes. After Teresa ran out of change we headed back up the mountain to the cabin- It was always easy to find the cabin; even from miles away because there was a trail that led down the mountain behind it that would point right down to where we were supposed to end up.

- July 1, 2005 -

Trip Time! I got up at 5:40am and got ready to go- I was very much caught in a quandary of what to wear. I was told to pack for all conditions, so I had a very stuffed suitcase and I pondered would it be best to wear shorts for the trip there, or jeans so as to save space in the suitcase. I went for the jeans, but perhaps that was not the best decision.

I got to Brent's at 7:15, and he came out to take his car to get looked at before he went to work, so I bided him a good day and Teresa pulled up just as he left. We hit the road for the long trip ahead- I have never been on that long of a car ride before and I pondered it would be worse that it was, but the time seemed to pass quickly. It was very foggy in the morning, but after a few hours it burnt off. Teresa drove from Topeka to Oakley, I drove then to Limon, and after Limon she drove the rest of the way.

We found our way to the Nothern family cabin without much trouble, though we did drive in a circle for a wee bit... When we found the cabin we were kinda surprised as it was much larger than we pictured from the descriptions- it was really quite a nice house. After the drive we decided a nap would probably be a good idea, we got there at about 3pm mountain time, so after an hour of rest we set out for the Garden of the Gods. Garden of the Gods is a large park between Manitou & Colorado Springs that contains giant sandstone mountains, cliffs and various rock formations.... I'm not sure how it formed exactly since most of the rock that makes up the mountains is granite.

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2011 - Jan - Feb - March - April - May - June