Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I've Got the World on a String...

Ok. Finally getting around to taking over the world with Stacy's World Domination Meme. Here goes:

1) You are offered one superhero power to help you take over the world (or the country of your choice). What would your superpower be and why? I just got done reading a book where one of the characters could not only know what other people were thinking at the moment, but all of the thoughts they had ever had. And that'd be pretty useful. No one could ever lie to me. And we'd have no communication issues. Not to mention it might help me find a datable man.

2) Where will you establish your capital and why? I know it's not very creative, but I really do love Co.Springs and I don't really want to move. So I'll establish it here and people can come to me.

3) What would be your first official decree as a brand new dictator? Why? That everyone gets Wednesday off. Think of how wonderful that would be. With Wednesday and the weekend, you'd never have to work more than two days in a row. In office jobs anyway...

4) As a Great and Fearsome Leader, you will need to have the best people working for you. Who would work for you? What would their jobs be? I'm not really sure what I'd have these people do, but it's a certainty that I would never be able to do without them:
*The Quixotic Pragmatist, fabulous writer that she is
*Sarakastic, helping people find their inner princess
*Max from Where the Wild Things Are
*Hillary Clinton, one of the sharpest minds out there
*My lovely sister
*Sam - She'd be covering anything financial

5) If you could make one annoying habit illegal in your empire, what would it be? Beating around the bush. People would have to be direct and honest.

I tag - Quixotic Pragmatist, McBigB, Heidikins, and anyone who wants to

Friday, July 27, 2007

Wind Caves & Custer State Park

Saturday afternoon it was blistering hot and we were wasted after walking around Mt. Rushmore all morning so we decided to cool off at Wind Cave National Park. Wind Cave is the 4th largest cave in the world and a refreshing 52 degrees year round. We purposely picked the longest tour so we could enjoy some natural air conditioning.

A little explanation about this photo. When we were in Badlands, we came across a trio of tourists in their early twenties who were hanging out on the edge of a cliff (with no fence) taking pictures. That wouldn't have been bad except for the fact that they seemed a little drunk and were trying to get pictures in midair of them jumping. The 10 minutes we were at that stop they were yelling 1...2...3...jump. And still going strong when we left. I really hope there weren't any major injuries. Anyway, for the rest of our trip we decided to mock them a bit and we all took pictures jumping at the Wind Caves sign. This was my favorite of me.

This is a picture of the natural entrance to Jewel Cave. When the barometric pressure of the cave is more than outside it pushes cool air through the opening, creating a natural fan. I'd also like to note that right before this picture was taken we were hanging out next to a cliff and out of nowhere this handsome, brawny ranger pulled himself over the cliff and came towards us. It felt a bit like we were in some cheesy romance. We talked to him a bit, but of course nothing came of it. Man oh man he was gorgeous though.

Later that evening we decided to venture into the thriving metropolis of Custer. Population - 1,984. Our trip was due mostly to the fact that it was July 21 and Harry Potter was supposed to be on shelves across the nation. Unfortunately we didn't find Harry Potter, only a grumpy bookstore owner who was probably mad that he owns the only bookstore in America to not have The Deathly Hallows. But we did find this lifelike statue of a buffalo which was almost as good. Please notice that she doesn't seem overly concerned that I'm about to be mauled by a buffalo.

We camped at Custer State Park (lots of beautiful trees!) and the next morning we were driving and found an entire herd of wild burrows. Another car was already stopped and they were being swarmed because (don't tell the rangers!) they were feeding the burrows Cheetos. The best part was that there were quite a few shy baby burrows that let you get pretty close. Adorable!

The last thing we did at Custer was hike up to a place called Devil's Tower (not to be confused with the one in Wyoming). Although the hike was very strenuous (we're talking straight uphills for long stretches) it was worth it. The top had a beautiful 360 degree view of the Black Hills. This picture is of a few rock formations called the Cathedral Spires.

Summation of the trip: Go to Car Henge if you are ever in Nebraska because it's worth driving out of your way. Mt. Rushmore is one of the most inspiring works of art ever made. And if you are going to camp in South Dakota, camp in the Black Hills. They are sooooo beautiful, words can't even describe.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Badlands & Mount Rushmore

Friday evening we arrived at Badlands National Park. We all decided that this park is one of the few that the National Park Service doesn't really care about it's patron's safety. Which is actually pretty nice because unlike many other parks, you're free to get up close to the cliffs and wander into the middle of nowhere.

It's a small park, but the views are really unique and strangely beautiful. It's odd because the rugged formations are all topped with perfectly flat, grassy plateaus. All the mounds were made of dirt from different time periods that were pressed together to make stripes. It was especially beautiful at sunset and sunrise.

After we had gone on a few hikes we went in search of our campground and found that it was a little... sparse. Definitely not what a bunch of Coloradans are used to camping in. I think the total tree count might have been about 7 for the entire campground. Because the wind was so incredibly strong and kept blowing our tent flat, we were forced to pitch our tent to the east. Now normally I'm not what you would call a morning person, but with the sun coming directly at me at 5:00, I was able to get up in time to see the most beautiful sunrise.

After we packed up, we headed over to Mt. Rushmore. It's been a while since I'd been there and I had forgotten how impressive it is. It's incredible that the workmen and artists could accomplish something so amazing without all the tools we have today. It took them about 14 years to complete the project, but only about 6 years if you don't count all the interruptions. Definitely one of the most inspiring stops of the trip.

Next post: Wind Caves & Custer State Park

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Scottsbluff, CarHenge, & Wall Drug

We headed out on Thursday and made it to Scottsbluff, Nebraska to spend the night with an old friend of one of my friends. I must say that Scottsbluff surely wins the award for stinkiest town ever. Not only do they have the usual farm smells, but they have a sugar plant which emits debilitating fumes. As soon as we came within the city limits we were all gasping for breath until we could make it safely inside.

Friday morning we set out early to find Car Henge. Which is a lovely place in the middle of western Nebraska where old cars have been painted grey and stacked upon each other to recreate "Stone Henge." This was honestly one of my favorite places we visited. It was so odd seeing these cars strewn out over an empty field in the middle of nowhere. Both of my friends who have actually been to the real Stone Henge thought it was cooler because you could actually go in the middle.

As we were heading up to the border of South Dakota we drove past this gem. We promptly turned around and stopped to take pictures. How could we resist? Hilarious...

If you have ever been anywhere near South Dakota, you will know that the roads are strewn with massive amounts of Wall Drug billboards. Hundreds of miles away. It's out of control. We decided that the entire state decided to band together to create as many tourists traps as possible. Wall Drug, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Sturgis, & the Mitchell Corn Palace to name just a few. But I digress. We stopped at Wall Drug, took some corny pictures, drank some of their free (but terrible tasting) water, and bought a buffalo chip frisbee (plastic).
Next Post: The Badlands

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I Know, I Know, I'm a Slacker

Yikes, I've sure been a slacker-butt blogger lately. And it's my car, not computer that's been broken so I don't have a good excuse. Tomorrow I'm off to North Dakota with some friends. We're going to hit up Wind Caves, Mt. Rushmore, the Black Hills, and Car Henge (Stone Henge imitation with cars!), so I should have lots to blog about when I get back. I'll also write an acceptance speech for the rockin' girl blogger award Sarakastic magnanimously bestowed upon me. And do Stacy's world domination meme...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


So I'm trying to get home tonight after bowling. Not unusual. What was unusual was that my dashboard lights were flickering in and out. And then all of my warning lights turned on at once. Including my emergency brake and airbag lights. Thus began an official freak out moment.

Normally, I'm pretty good with cars. I can change my air filter, windshield wipers, my oil (well, i did it once anyway), etc. But that's all maintenance stuff. I don't do well when things suddenly go wrong. So of course I then proceeded to call people who of course didn't answer their phones. Freaking out a bit more by that time.

What happened next? My car started to accelerate and brake sharply in an alternating fashion. Clearly my car was being possessed by the unhappy spirit of my old muffler. Luckily, what was I to behold on the side of the road? An AutoZone. Perfectly situated in my time of need. The AutoZone lady then told me that all i needed was a new battery and replaced it for me. Unfortunately, she checked it afterwards and said that my alternator didn't seem to be hooked to my battery properly, but that she couldn't check and that I shouldn't pay to have it looked at either. Guess I'm going to see if I can learn what an alternator actually looks like tomorrow morning. Wish me luck. I'm not sure how I could somehow drive without an alternator, but apparently it's possible since I made it home all right. Errrgg...

Friday, July 06, 2007

In Case You Ever Wanted To Stalk Me, You Now Have The Tools...

I was tagged by the lovely (and currently under-the-weather) Stacy. Here goes:

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Living in a podunk town and trying to survive middle school. Phew... I made it out okay.

What were you doing 5 years ago?
I had just graduated from high school and was going to school in Hawaii. Laying on the beach, hiking in paradise, and hitchhiking my way across the island. Those were some of the best times of my life.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
I had just moved to downtown SLC and was just getting into cycling. I was also trying to avoid my research partner who kept trying to convince me to become his roommate (or wife) and cook for him. Yikes!

What are 5 snacks you enjoy?
Currently: Watermelon, ice cream (too bad I can't eat it often cuz i gave up sugar with the quixotic pragmatist), otter pops, cherries, diet coke (does that even count as a snack?)

What are 5 songs that you know the lyrics to by heart?
Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel) - Billy Joel
Breakfast at Tiffany's - Deep Blue Something
Tears in Heaven - Eric Clapton
Twentysomething - Jamie Cullum
Near You Always - Jewel

What are 5 things you would do if you were a millionaire?
Buy a house, pay off my loans, set up college funds for my siblings, travel the world in style with fun people, set up a foundation for refugees in Africa

What are 5 bad habits?
Letting my laundry explode across my bedroom floor, losing track of time, worrying, staying up late, impatience

What are 5 things you like doing?
Cycling, swimming, reading, singing, being with friends

What are 5 things you would never wear again?
Shoulder pads, diapers, those awful shoes i wore to prom that gave me blisters in 10 minutes, stir up pants, my heart on my sleeve :)

What are 5 favorite toys?
Books, guitar, hammock, Martin Jay (my road bike), computer

Who are you going to tag?
Anyone who wants to take the tag

Thursday, July 05, 2007

4 Miler for the 4th

CoSprings is filled with fireworks smell. Just driving home, it looked like there was a mist covering the city. Or smoke. I love the smell of fireworks :)

Today was one of the best 4th of July's I've had in quite a while. I got my butt out of bed early this morning to run a 4 mile race nearby. I was a bit nervous because I've never ran in any sort of race before and I couldn't convince any of my friends to do it with me, but it turned out fine and I'm officially hooked. I love, love, love racing. It was amazing how many people were there of all different fitness levels and goals. Some were there to win, a bunch were there with their children (even a couple of somewhat insane people pushing strollers while running), and there were lots of walkers as well. My goal was to hold a steady pace without music or my running buddy. I'm actually not sure what my exact time was at the finish because I forgot to look at the clock, but after I had drank a few bottles of water and grabbed a bagel I went back and the clock was at 51 minutes. Which means I probably came in at ~47 minutes, holding a 12 minute mile pace. Not fantastic compared to all those running fanatics, but after not working out for a few weeks and being a self-proclaimed running hater a few months ago, I'm really happy with my time.

It was such a great feeling coming into the finish. The path was lined with volunteers and finished runners cheering everyone on as they finished. I can't describe the adrenaline rush I got after finishing. And that was only for a 4 miler. I can't imagine how amazing it would be to finish a marathon. So now I can't get enough. I plan on this being the first of many races. And for all of you out there who haven't ever done a 5k or something similar, do it! You won't regret it.

Finishing out the day, I went to the academy to watch fireworks with some friends. The perfect end to a wonderful day :)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Devil in the form of Bronchitis

I hate bronchitis. It's not often that I resort to the use of the word hate, but it's official. I hate it. I started to get sick on June 10th and I thought I was finally over it this last weekend. My cough was hardly there and I didn't have a fever. So I resumed triathlon training yesterday and was up all night in coughing fits. Back to the vicodin. I wonder how bad it'd be if I tried to operate a bike while on vikadin. It's killing me to not work out. It cures my moodiness. Without it I'm a person you don't want to be around. Lame. Some of you must have had bronchitis before. How did you get over it?