The URI! Zone turns 20 years old this month, an epic yet ultimately pointless achievement not unlike driving a Prius for 8 hours without a pee break or watching the entire series of Everybody Loves Raymond. From its roots as a static HTML homepage through the evolution into a daily blog, this website has existed in some form for almost as long as Yahoo! (although obviously, the URI! Zone has retained its modern relevance and artistic appeal, while Yahoo! today is only known for its awful video player that refuses to work with ad blockers).
To mark TWO DECADES of existence, I have put together a one-minute movie history of the website, set to the tune of The Llama Fanfare which originally played in the background as a MIDI file in the very First Edition. Today, everyone hates websites that automatically play music and video, but back in the late 90s... well, everyone STILL hated it. I was a trendsetter in hate!
By the numbers, here's what the URI! Zone looks like today:
Looking ahead into the next decade, this website will be around for quite some time to document my zany life for syndication (and not just because I purchased 3 years of reserved Amazon Web Services instances to run it). Having reached 20 years, I'm now allowed to coast a bit on the strength of popularity alone (see also, any recent comic from The Family Circus and Garfield). I'll be posting three times a week, usually on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which is still three times more than most bloggers post anymore. If there are any topics you'd like me to cover, let me know. Likewise, if you yourself have a regularly updated blog worth reading, send me a link!
Thank you for your continued friendship and readership! TEN MORE YEARS!
Apart from being the fabulous setting of the second season of Fargo, 1979 marks the first year that a BU existed in the world. My parents always knew that they wanted to adopt a second child that would outshine the older sister in the number of As and merit badges earned. It would take almost two full years from the time that my dad wrote this letter for their order to be fulfilled, packed, and delivered:
Based on the thick packet of evidence in my possession, the adoption process (through a now defunct organization called Welcome House) was a tedious, expensive process full of bureaucracy, misplaced paperwork, and letters arriving weeks later after being dashed off on a typewriter. My parents would ultimately get lucky when I was abandoned at the Wooie Police Station in Seoul on September 15 and transferred into the care of Korea Social Services. I was given the name Soon Bok Yoon, which sounds DELICIOUS.
I spent the first three months of my life in an orphanage at 533-3, Ssangmun-dong, Seoul, South Korea, a location that currently resolves to a demolished building on Google Earth. I have no memories of this time, but the staff sent a few pictures of me to my future parents:
Based on its appearance, I presume that the stuffed animal was a superhero duck named "Bruises Easily". It did not accompany me on my journey to the US. There is also a creepy lock of hair in my file folder of adoption papers. I presume that the staff sent it along in advance so my parents could prep a voodoo doll in case I behaved badly. If I die in a freak volcano incident, you are welcome to use this old hair to reconstitute a clone of me like Dolly the Sheep.
Meanwhile, my sister, Ellen, was 3 years old and living the only-child lifestyle in the house on Pickett Street in Alexandria. The paperwork churned inexorably forward like a season of Bloodline played at half speed, so I did not get to meet my future parents until the 1980s were underway.
To Be Continued...
Now that August is well underway, we're preparing for our upcoming vacation, this time to Colorado. Although it will be no Grindelwald (where we went last summer), we'll be able to use real money and speak English at the expense of slightly smaller mountains.
We plan on flying direct to Denver (and in fact, the "Direct Flights Out of Dulles" page is our usual brainstorming launchpad when planning new vacations) and heading to Boulder for two nights, where we'll meet up with Oklahoma Emily and do hippie things. From there, we'll spend five nights in a swank studio cottage in Estes Park, where we'll do daily hikes throughout Rocky Mountain National Park and hang about for "long enough to get bored". I'm hoping Rocky Mountain National Park will be more exciting than Rocky Mount, North Carolina, a sad stop on I-95 that's only reknowned for being an exit to the Outer Banks when approaching from the south.
After Estes Park, we'll drive through the mountains to Breckenridge, where we'll stay for 4 more nights and do even more hiking. Finally, we'll head back to Denver for two nights, where we'll meet up with the inestimable Mike and Annie to do city things before returning home.
This trip was incredibly easy to plan -- we blocked out the logistics like planes and cars and hotels early in the year, and will finally figure out what, specifically, we'll do each day while flying into town. I'm also looking forward to browsing the airport bookstores before buying the books on my Kindle -- this would feel more like sticking it to old media if the average price of Kindle books hadn't risen over $10 though.
Have any suggestions for our trip? Let me know in the comments section!
On Friday night, we took our bumper crop of tomatoes over to the Lowry household for pizza and salads as well as the Opening Ceremony for the Olympics. The ceremony was pretty forgettable, although the section where the giant fish vagina projection screen floor presented the illusion of 3D rooftops while people danced across it was mildly interesting. Plus, the stadium did not collapse so bonus points for that. As usual, NBC completely killed the momentum of the broadcast by having 1.2 commercials for every 1 unit of Olympics.
On Saturday night, I made spinach-stuffed mushrooms for a double birthday party amongst Rebecca's yogi crowd which turned out really well except for the fact that we now have multiple half bags of various cheeses left in the fridge. I'll either find a new recipe that requires many cheese, or melt it all into a bowl and eat it with a spoon.
On Sunday, the Smiths stopped by to reclaim Titan the cat from cat prison, and then we met up with Rebecca's parents at Old Ox Brewery for a midafternoon sampling. The humidity had returned with a vengeance so we wisely sat indoors. We finished the day by laying around the living room with the Olympics on in the background. Rebecca is really into the ludicrous displays, although I would enjoy it much more with fewer commercials, fewer sappy stories about how rough the athletes had it growing up, and more emphasis on the action and replays.
How was your weekend?
There are no major spoilers in these reviews.
Shameless, Season Two (US remake):
Shameless continues to maintain the quality it set up in the first season as it gradually introduces new members of the Gallagher family. It walks the line between pathos and comedy quite nicely and never feels like it's dragging.
Final Grade: B+
Community, Season Six:
After being cancelled on NBC, Yahoo! picked up Community for one final abbreviated season. It's still better than the awful fourth season, and has a few really funny spots, but feels incomplete without Donald Glover. The show owns its meta nature fully now and ends with a fake commercial containing a spot on summation of the entire show: "some episodes too conceptual to be funny, some too funny to be immersive, and some so immersive they still aren't funny".
Final Grade: B-
Drymax Lite Hiking Socks:
I got these socks for our upcoming Colorado hiking excursions. They're made from futuristic synthetics and stay dry and bacteria-free. They're lighter than they appear when worn, and have no inner seam to rub against the top of your foot. My feet felt great after 7 miles, the point at which my big toes usually start hurting.
Final Grade: B+
Person of Interest, Season Five:
The abbreviated final season of this show knocks it out of the park. This final season wraps everything up, giving all of the characters the endings they deserve, with the final three episodes being especially impactful.
Final Grade: A+
Person of Interest, Complete Series:
It's amazing that a procedural CBS "case of the week" show could ever turn out to be a Trojan horse for a serial show about dystopian futures and government surveillance, and even more amazing that it didn't just collapse into a muddled heap of poorly implemented sci-fi. The series has an organic evolution with great supporting characters and recurring bit characters (there are callbacks to characters from the first season in the last season that I didn't even remember). The mismatched buddy nature of Reese and Finch's relationship (and Reese and Fusco's relationship later) was well done. Season Four sagged liked my childhood mattress with the broken bed frame which I had jumped up and down on one too many times. Part of the problem was the introduction of a villain (Samaritan) which was simply too powerful and the feeling that the plot was stalling in order to stretch out to 22 episodes. That said, this is still a great show whose final season makes the whole journey worthwhile. The first four seasons are currently free on Netflix.
Final Grade: A-
We flew into Denver mid-morning on Saturday and made our way up to Boulder in time for the last few minutes of the weekly Farmer's Market.
We spent the evening biking through hippies and taking a small hike up to Red Rocks in Settler's Park (not the same as the Ampitheatre), with dinner at Southern Sun and drinks at FATE ("Coffee Kolsch" sounds weird, but it's more delicious than Soon Bok Yoon).
On Sunday morning, we went to Chautauqua Park to hike the Flatiron 1/2 trail, which would take us to where the arrow points in this picture.
We made it to the top! We then did a second hike to the Royal Arch which I bailed on halfway up, in favour of taking a 1 hour nap on a large cool rock in the forest. Rebecca and Emily made it all of the way up and were unimpressed.
After ice cream at Glacier, we dropped Emily off at her airport shuttle (having planned for just a single whirlwind weekend visit) and then spent the rest of the day wandering around Pearl Street Mall. Rebecca got some fancy tea at a store near a street musician who was probably high and just playing warm ups on a tenor saxophone. For dinner, we went to the West Flanders Brewing Company, where we had 4 deliciously on-the-mark Belgian beers.
A more detailed travelogue might follow when I get home. Happy Monday!
We got up at 5 AM today and arrived at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead in time for sunrise and a parking spot in the rapidly filling lot.
This hike was 10.5 miles. Black Lake is one of the farther lakes from the trailhead because of segregation. Yesterday, we hiked 9.4 miles around Mount Wuh, and the night before (on our first night in Estes Park) we did 3.6 miles. In the picture below, you can see Long's Peak (the highest point in the park) in the distance, the first mountain from the left with sunlight shining on it.
We timed things well, as we were off the mountain and heading towards the car when the daily thunderstorms arrived. We had a celebratory pint at Rock Cut Brewery (a Smoked Brunette) and then came home for an afternoon nap!
Today's hike was 9.6 miles long, but felt much easier than Wednesday's hike to Black Lake. We once again got up at 5 AM to get one of the coveted parking spaces and then hiked through the boring Alberta Falls area to get to the good stuff.
We arrived at the Loch but didn't stay long, as the wind was blowing coldly down the valley.
The vistas continued to get more impressive after the Loch and we survived the rock scramble that took us up the wet rocks to the right of Timberline Falls in the picture below.
We were among the first five people to reach the terminus this morning, and Rebecca marked the territory with a yoga pose.
This time around, the entire hike took just over 6 hours, and now we have the afternoon to nap and then lounge around town! Tomorrow, we're driving the crazy mountain road through Rocky Mountain National Park (taking the long way to Breckenridge).
Quandary Peak near Breckenridge is considered to be one of the easier "14er" mountains in Colorado (any mountain with a max elevation over 14,000 feet). It has a very simple elevation grade -- you just continuously walk uphill until you can't go any further.
We woke up at 4:30 with special parfaits from our innkeepers (since we'd be missing the breakfast portion of the B&B experience) and started the hike at 5:40. We needed flashlights for the first half hour, but the sun rose soon after.
It took us 3.5 hours to make it 3.3 miles up to the summit, an experience of endless boulder fields and low oxygen that probably nearly killed me several times while Rebecca charged ahead with her boundless yoga energy. We borrowed a cardboard sign from someone else for this picture because we came unprepared.
We saw a nice variety of birds (including ptarmigans) and mammals. There were 2 mountain goats atop the summit, but luckily they were far enough away to enjoy without worries of goring or being butted off the world. We also saw many pika, chipmunks, and squirrels.
Our descent took 2.5 hours and the daily thunderstorms started brewing as we reached the bottom, meaning that most of the people who started after us probably had to turn back before reaching the summit.
This evening, we're going to CB & Potts for burgers and good Colorado beers, and then to a tourist shop so Rebecca can buy a Quandary Peak sticker for her water bottle. A 14er bagged!
For more technical details about our hike, see Wednesday's post, Hiking to Quandary Peak - The Dirty Details.
In Monday's post, I provided a skimpy, fluffy travelogue of our trip up Quandary Peak. Today's post provides a bit more detail, for anyone interested in doing the hike themselves. Although none of the Colorado 14er peaks are EASY hikes, Quandary Peak's East Ridge is a worthwhile starting peak for anyone of reasonable fitness and good preparation. For comparison, I am a middle-aged suburban that eats fried chicken too often and runs about 12 miles per week at a jogging pace while watching bad TV shows on the basement treadmill.
What To Expect
Any questions? Let me know in the comments section! Good luck!
We're heading back to beautiful low-humidity Sterling today, so enjoy these miscellaneous pictures of our non-hiking adventures!
Saurus dinosaurs (acrobats on stilts) take over the downtown Breckenridge square.
A puppy dog hitches a ride up to the top of Quandary Peak.
We go horseback riding in Breckenridge on Lucas and Rubicon.
We enjoy a free wine and cheese Happy Hour at the Queen Anne B&B in Denver.
Annie and Mike use their brain waves to move a ball at the Nature and Science Museum.
We experiment with sour beers at the Crooked Stave Brewery in the RiNo district.
Here are a few quick reviews to close out our two weeks in Colorado. If you're headed that way yourself and need some recommendations, I'll be glad to help!
New photos have been added to the Life, 2016 album. I also have a new Colorado, 2016 album but it doesn't appear on my Photos page because Google is in the processing of breaking another legacy product (Picasa) in favour of their own awful offering. The old Picasa API will not show albums just created in Google Photos because Google Photos has no toggle to set an album as "public" (This is also called "irony"). I'll have to sort out the APIs another day and recode the Photos page accordingly.
-10 points from House Google.
August's Final Grade: A, two weeks of vacation in the mountains!
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