November 30, 2007

Federal Spending

I got this off the website. It helps put into perspective where all of our federal funds go. Apparently, killing Iraqis is slightly more important than running our own country.

(In billions of dollars)

Agency 2008 Request 2008%
Agriculture 20.2 2.2%
Commerce 6.6 0.7%
Defense 481.4 51.8%
Education 56 6.0%
Energy 24.3 2.6%
Health and Human Services 69.3 7.5%
Homeland Security 34.3 3.7%
Housing and Urban Development 35.2 3.8%
Interior 10.6 1.1%
Justice 20.2 2.2%
Labor 10.6 1.1%
State and Other International Programs 35 3.8%
Transportation 12.1 1.3%
Treasury 12.1 1.3%
Veterans Affairs 39.4 4.2%
Corps of Engineers 4.9 0.5%
Environmental Protection Agency 7.2 0.8%
Executive Office of the President 0.3 0.0%
Judicial Branch 6.1 0.7%
Legislative Branch 4.4 0.5%
National Aeronautics and Space Administration 17.3 1.9%
National Science Foundation 6.4 0.7%
Small Business Administration 0.5 0.1%
Social Security Administration 7.9 0.8%
Other Agencies 7.5 0.8%

Total, Discretionary Spending 929.8 100.0%

I appoligize if this doesn't display correctly. It looks fine on my computer. Here's a summary in case you can't read it. The department of defense spends 51.8 percent of the entire federal budget. The remaining 22+ agencies spend the rest. These percentages have remained the same for the last several years.

November 27, 2007

Turkey Day

Josh and I went to visit Adam, Marcy, and Sophia for Thanksgiving. Adam has been asking Josh to visit for couple years now and we finally decided it was time to make the trip. We chose to drive so we could bring bikes, which resulted in us visiting three new states (Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas) during our vacation.

We spent Wednesday and Thursday in Rolla, Missouri staying at Adam and Marcy's, seeing the UMR campus, going for mountain bike rides, and even going for a swim. Sophia, their daughter, is just starting to talk. Her favorite word is "trash" and lucky for us this sounds like "Josh" and "Ash". So we were entertained much of the weekend by her trying to say our names. She is also learning sign language, so she can communicate many things. However, I don't know sign language and had no idea what she was trying to tell me most of the time.

Adam and Sophia

Almost immediately after finishing Thanksgiving dinner, we packed up the car and headed for Arkansas. We drove at night in hope that Sophia would sleep for most of the trip, which worked moderately well. We arrived at a cabin near the town of Jasper, Arkansas at 2 am. Adam and Marcy's friends Pam and Dave had rented this cabin for the weekend. We awoke in the morning to find that we were located on a ridge overlooking picturesque valleys on both sides. Pam and Dave recently bought land nearby and were spending the weekend removing small trees and brush around where they plan to build a house. Part of Friday and Saturday were spent adding branches to the bonfire and trying to avoid the poison oak and ivy.

Adam was very excited to climb the cliffs below the site of the future house. He and Josh scouted what looked like a good route and I went along for the top-roped first accent. Unfortunately, the climb was significantly harder than it looked from the ground. Not only were all the holds downsloping, but each time you touched the rock a bunch of lichen would come loose and fall in your eyes. We named our route "lichen-eye-zed" for this reason.

Josh working his way up Licheneyezed

Me struggling

Josh and Sophia showing off their helmets

On Saturday, we headed to Sam's Throne, a more established climbing area. The area is comprised of a cliff band leading down to a valley and an outcropping of rocks in the middle of the valley known, not surprisingly, as Sam's Throne. After a couple wrong turns trying to find our way down to the valley, we did one of the classic climbs on Sam's Throne. The rock (sandstone) was excellent and the view from the top was great.

Josh soloing to get out of the valley at Sam's Throne

Sunday, Josh and I made the journey home. Overall, the trip was excellent. My opinion of Missouri and Arkansas has greatly improved (there are trees and hills!). I can't say that I think any better of Kansas.

Old News

Since I forced my way onto this blog, I guess it is about time that I post something. So my first post is a bit tardy, but I will try to be more timely in the future.

What I have been doing while Josh is away:

Halloween. I celebrate Halloween by attending a party that included riding cruiser bikes over teeter-totters and drinking copious amounts of beer. Because I am a rational person, I was only a spectator for the bicycle shenanigans, but I did participate in my share of the beer drinking.

Spiderman (aka Andy) showing off his bike skills

I decided to dress as Smurfette this year and had great plans for my costume. But, as always, these great ideas didn't amount to much and I threw my costume together the night before. I think the high point was the smurf hat I made from felt.

Smurfette feeling very cold

Cartoon characters Smurfette and Marge Simpson (aka Brooke)

New bike. I have been talking for years about buying a new road bike. Well, I finally did it. I am now the proud owner of a fancy pants carbon fiber, full ultegra, Specialized bike that is too good for me. Josh is afraid that this lighter bike will allow me to ride faster than him. At least this is what I am hoping for.

The most expensive thing I own

November 18, 2007


I worked last weekend, I worked this weekend, and I worked every day in between.

November 07, 2007

Sesamoid Bone

Almost 6 weeks after that god-awful marathon, I finally had a chance to see a doctor about my foot pain that won't go away. The final diagnosis is that I have a fatigue fracture of the medial sesamoid bone on my right foot. I was not given a cast, but sent to get custom orthotics to make it so I can walk without putting pressure on that part of my foot. The orthotics guy is booked today, and I leave in the morning for another field assignment and won't be back until Nov. 19, only to leave on the 20th for Thanksgiving vacation. Maybe it will just heal itself. If not, I'll have to have the bone removed and that causes all sorts of other problems. If it isn't better by Christmas time, I'll have to consider a surgical option.

November 04, 2007

6 Days of Civilization

I arrived back in Boulder late Friday night. The drilling project I was on was put on hold due to logistical complexities, so I have until this Friday before I have to return to the far western reaches of Colorado. The chances seem slim that the drilling will be complete prior to Thanksgiving, so I'll insist on another break for "logistical complexities" so Ashley and I can make our planned road trip to Rolla, Missouri to visit Adam, Marci, and their daughter, Sophia over the Thanksgiving holiday.

As the new blog layout suggests, Ashley has become an official poster. She now has free reign to post at will, so look forward to some added spice from a feminine perspective. I tried to convince her to start her own blog, but she insisted that we would just duplicate everything the other said with only occasional exceptions. Guess who won that argument?