Jul 10, 2014

The Independence Day Story I told My Kids

Once upon a time there was a king. The King had police that wore red coats. One day we were all in the house when two red coats barged in a started searching the house for "contraban". I went to stop them and they pulled their guns out and threatened to kill my family. They then demanded Mommy go make them food.

They searched the house making a big mess which they did not clean up. They ate the food and did not even say "thank you". They then spent the night on our nice couch and didn't even remove their boots. They got the couch all dirty.

Daddy was mad. He joined with other daddies and fought the red coats until they left to their own land. However, soon after they left, a new king took over and claimed all the land for himself even though the land already had people living on it. At first this new king was nice. Much nicer than the old king. But over time, the new king started getting greedy. He wanted the money of the people. At first he only took money from the rich and only a little bit. But later he kept on growing more and more greedy and took more and more even from people that weren't very rich like us. He takes enough money that we can't buy many things we need.

Then the king searches our property using the internet and even kills people if they use plants the king doesn't like.

But we cannot fight this king. He has too many allies. He purchases the favor of people with a few services that people want. He scares them into believing that only he can provide these services. So many people support him that those who don't want the king are treated badly and even told to leave their homes.

[My 7 year old says that he'll fight the king]

We cannot fight the king with violence unless we can win. The king has many guns, tanks, fighter jets and bombs. We should instead teach people that while the king provides some services we like, he provides many more we don't like: like war and hurting people and taking their money. And the things the king does provide that we want, we can get them in the same way we get food from the store.

Jul 5, 2014

An Analogy

Backpacking can teach life lessons. When you hike as a couple, you help each other. You divide tasks to accomplish a common goal. There is not necessarily a leader and a follower. But two independent minds becoming one by mutual specialization.

To prepare for a hike, one must plan out his load and organize it. He must optimize it in the same ways he must optimize his responsibilities in life. The load can not be overbearing. The arrangement can not be to top heavy, or too much weight on the sides.

He must also prepare a map. The map tells you where to go. It helps you out in tough spots. Often, when trials bar your path like trees, snow or rocks, the map and a handy gps can help you navigate back to the trail.

While on the trail, both body and mind must be prepared for the hike. Communication between the partners is essential. One must not go too fast or he will leave the other.

They must coordinate breaks for rest or for food. They must communicate supply levels of water and coordinate refilling.

It might sound tricky but it's not. At the end of the day of hiking, they rest, talking about the day and the days to come. This social interaction brings comfort and boosts moral. It provides entertainment and lifts the spirit.

Backpacking is hard. Like life, it takes a lot of physical and mental preparation. The reward is the journey: the challenge to body and mind, the spectacular views of nature that few will ever experience in person.

Jul 4, 2014

Three Sisters volcanic activity

Irene and I had a wonderful trek to the three sisters volcanoes.  We originally planned to do about 40 miles in 5 days.  However snow levels prevented us from reaching our goal.  We planned to early in the season.  On our way back, we were met with a surprise.  After some analysis of some volcanic rocks, we felt a tremor.  The volcanoes were waking up.  We quickly tried to get out as fast as we could, but the volcanoes weren't the only things waking up.  Orcs had also woken up.  They attacked Irene and later kidnapped her.  I fought off as many as I could and continued to head out.  Irene managed to escape and meet me back at the van.

We made it out alive thus we can declare a micro-victory.

Here's a little mini-movie describing our experience:

In seriousness, it was a wonderful trip.  We came back somewhat defeated, but life is a learning process.  We'll be back and we'll finish the three sisters.  Here's the highlights and a link to the Google Plus story with probably over an hour of video discussing techniques and gear that we have with us.

Google Plus Story:

Three Sisters Story

Jun 7, 2014

2014 Family Update

Wow, talk about neglected blogs.  I lot has happened since 2010.  First, Migges (Michael R. Rees) was born in March 2011.  He's a bundle of fun, loves learning and puzzles and has a really fun personality.  That's the major update.  Everything else is slight upgrades over what was before.  Kev still works at Intel but now on the Tizen IVI project.  Kev has also taken up the study of economics and loves to debate political and economic issues on facebook.

Irene stays busy with the kids and designing how to make the house beautiful.  She hangs out with her friends and participates in family activities such as hiking, visiting parks, etc.

Kev and Irene have also taken up backpacking as a hobby.  So far they have managed to go out hiking just about every month this year.  February was the Deschutes River trip:

In March the couple went west to the beaches in Tillamook bay.  Bayocean split:

Kev then went on a solo over-nighter to Salmon River in late April/early May:

Irene and Kev are planning a longer 4 day trip to the Three Sisters Volcanoes in Central Oregon.

There are plenty of more activities planned and we'll post pics and video on this blog as they happen.