“Sadly, we have been conditioned to believe that the job of the government is to keep us safe, but in reality the job of the government is to protect our liberties. Once the government decides that its role is to keep us safe, whether economically or physically, they can only do so by taking away our liberties.” – Ron Paul
The SLU Park finally opened today after years of construction. Part of the attraction is all the wooden boats!
For our honeymoon Caewyn and I took a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise of the eastern Caribbean out of Miami on the newly launched Epic. Here are some notes from the cruise.
First, if you do a red eye flight be prepared to sit around the airport until about 10 am because the port doesn’t open until then.
Second, print out all boarding and cruise docs beforehand.
Third, have a swimming suit and sun tan lotion in your carry on bag. That way you can safely lounge in pools and the sun until you get the rest of your luggage delivered to the stateroom.
Fourth, get a room with a balcony. Period.
Fifth, rooms will be cramped so pack as light as possible.
Sixth, in-room entertainment is expensive. Bring your own way of listening to music or watching movies.
Seventh, if somebody is buying drinks for everybody in the pool: get in the pool.
Eighth, say hi to people.
Ninth, you will save a lot of money if you don’t drink alcohol. If you do drink alcohol, try not to think about the cost too often. It will cramp your fun otherwise.
Tenth, be picky about your shore excursions.
I miss the long summer days in Alaska. Caewyn and I went up to the Glen Alps tonight around 11 pm, and there was still lots of sun left.
Early morning yawns.
A couple of months ago, some friends and I became certified BBQ judges for the PNWBA. Yesterday, we put that certification to work judging the many entries of the McKinley Springs BBQ Showdown. The event took place in Prosser, Washington, which is a good three and a half hour drive east of Seattle, so it was an early day for us as the judge’s meeting started at 10 AM. After a quick refresher session on criteria for judging and then doing some prep work, we waited until 11 AM for the first turn-in.
BBQ competitions have different rounds called turn-ins with each focusing on a different meat category. This competition just focused on the primary competition meats: pork butt, brisket, chicken, and ribs. My favorite was the chicken, which is odd because normally I’m not a chicken guy. Usually I find it to be a pretty boring meat unless heavily sauced, but this competition chicken was amazing.
As judges we were encouraged to take our job seriously. This showdown was a qualifier for the big national competitions, and the cooks were taking their meat very seriously. We had to maintain poker faces and silence during the judging. Sometimes this was difficult when an especially good piece of meat was tasted. We’re socially trained to be loud and exclamatory about excellent food, but in this environment you just had to sit there silently, stoically chewing. Of course, some of the entries were far from excellent, but even these would have been pretty good for backyard BBQ.
After eating meat for nearly 4 hours straight, the competition wrapped up, and the judges were treated to some free wine while we enjoyed the weather and the band there.
Did another hike this weekend. We attempted to do Mt Defiance by we lost the trail in the snow pack (3rd time in a row this has happened), but the neighbor Mt Bandera was accessible. So we climbed that.
My Tracks of the hike. You can see the back and forth from Lake Mason as we attempted to find our way to Mt Defiance:
We had some nice weather this Memorial Day. This is looking off the deck of Caewyn’s and my new place.