Thursday, July 21, 2011

Running, Application Limbo and Good Reads

Today, like the past week of days in the midwest, it was hot outside. I'd estimate around 90-94 Fahrenheit. I had decided yesterday that I wanted to go for a run, and I followed through, much to the incredulity of Nicole. I ran what I thought had to be three miles, but sadly, it was only two. That's pretty much shameful for someone my age and body type. Yes, the heat and humidity take a huge toll on a runner, but I'm definitely out of shape. I haven't run regularly in months, and I was feeling it. I'll admit it - I had to walk THREE TIMES. Terrible.

The good news is that this is a low point! I'll only get better from here - and I'd better. Nicole and I are going with several other couples on a backpacking trip to Lake of the Clouds in Michigan's upper peninsula in just a couple of weeks. We'll probably be averaging around 7 miles a day with fully loaded packs, and unless the weather takes a dramatic change for August, it's going to be pretty hot. I need all the endurance training I can get.

On the medical school application front, things are kind of at an awkward standstill. My application status online has been "Verified - Ready for Review" for a couple weeks now, and it turns out it may stay that way for several more. The application gets verified once you've submitted it AND AMCAS receives your transcripts from all involved schools. Basically, it stays that way until they get around to tallying up all your grade points, reviewing your essays and biographical information, and getting it out to schools. I wasn't planning on such a long wait between submitting the app and having schools actually receive it, but the bright side shows some nice down time for me!

I've had one request for a secondary application from Pritzker - definitely automated, given that it came 23 hours after submitting the primary app for review. I've gotten pretty close to finishing those essays, just because I'm not one to passively sit while something like that hangs over my head. I like knowing I've done all I can instead of scrambling at the last minute. I don't always follow that instinct as well as I have this time, but I always feel it.

With all the free time I've had lately, I've been doing a lot of reading. I have a subscription to Popular Science (thanks, Nicole!), and devoured the most recent issue in about 30 minutes. The most interesting article this month is about a guy named Bill Andrews who hopes to extend peoples' lifespans to 150+ years by the time he dies. The scientific community is pretty divided over his ideas; some thing he's a quack job with no chance, others give him generous helpings of the geneticist-equivalent of street cred, saying if anyone could do it, he could.

You should give the above article a read, but the basics are this: Our chromosomes are capped by repeating sequences of adenine, thymine and guanine bases. These caps are called telomeres, and their purpose is to prevent the loss of DNA when cells divide. Cell division results in chromosomal shortening. If the telomeres weren't there, then every time a cell divided, the chromosomes left in the two daughter cells would be shorter, missing possibly essential DNA. Cells would quickly (if not immediately) become somatic - they would lose the ability to divide - and the organism would die. There is an enzyme called telomerase that participates in cell division to add telomeres to copied DNA during replication. The problem is, it doesn't add enough to completely counteract the shortening effect. The theory is that this is why we age; eventually, the time clock runs out, and we get old and die. Bill Andrews' idea is to synthesize a compound that activates telomerase to increase its production of telomeres during DNA replication, causing it to do a better job of rebuilding the lost telomere length. He's a workaholic, and seems to have a huge opinion of himself, but the story about him and his work is pretty interesting. I don't know which side of the fence I'd step to if I had to make a choice right now; I'd have to do more reading in the field than this one PopSci article before deciding, but it's at least interesting to think about.

In other fronts, Nicole and I have been going through The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I was skeptical about it at first. It seemed awfully presumptuous to think that you could break all of the possible and preferred methods of interaction between married couples into five categories and have it really be comprehensive, and I was partly right. It's not necessarily perfect (it was just written by this human guy, after all), but there's some worth to it. I'd recommend it for anyone in a relationship, even if you're not married, or if things are going great. Our marriage is awesome and strong, but there are always areas in which we can improve if we understand each other better.

I just finished reading Something for the Pain: Compassion and Burnout in the ER: Compassion and Burnout in the ER by Paul Austin. It's a sometimes-shocking account of what life is like for an ER doctor. This was an incredibly interesting read to me for a lot of reasons. Of all of my clinical experience, the vast majority was in the Emergency Department at my local hospital. I volunteered for 150+ hours and shadowed a doc for 28, so it was easy for me to picture the environment and equipment mentioned by the author. I am very seriously considering emergency medicine as my specialty, but that (and my reasons for it) is for another post. The author was a non-traditional medical student that married a nurse and pursued a career as a doctor. Sound familiar? If you want insight into what life is like for an ER doc and don't get too bothered when things get graphic (linguistically and descriptively), I'd recommend this read.

Lastly, I started an old classic that I've wanted to read for a long time. It's free on iBooks, so I just dove in: The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It's so old, I don't get some of the vocabulary, but it's crazy to see how much of the language and slang is still in our speech today. It's also fun to be more challenged as I read simple descriptions or conversations; I feel like I'm broadening my vocabulary even more. Unless you've really got a passion for reading (or Boggle) you might not get into it as much as I have.

All right, this post is huge now. Congratulations if you made it this far! If someone else had written a post this weak in entertainment clout, I'd have given up four paragraphs back. Lots of word vomit. I have some coffee-flavored chocolates that a coworker gave me that she got from her German foreign exchange student. Germans make great chocolate. I'm gonna go eat them now.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Walmart is Awesome (sarcasm)

I'm going to tell you an awesome story about Walmart, but first you need the back story.

I'm in the process of converting my mountain bike into an electric bike. Well, I've actually completely finished the conversion, but I've been waiting weeks and weeks for the battery to arrive. It finally got here last week, but it won't charge. At first my supplier thought it was the charger, so he sent me a new one. That one got here yesterday, but it won't charge the battery either. The symptoms (I won't go into them here) point toward it being the chargers. However, two separate chargers being faulty in the exact same way seems to be pushing the odds. It seems more likely that something is wrong with the battery. Occam's Razor dictates that when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras. To figure out if I'm dealing with horses (the battery) or the much-less-likely double-defective chargers (zebras), I needed a digital multimeter. The one I have got fried a while back, so I figured I'd get a new one since they're not very expensive.

On my break at work, I decided to give Walmart a call and see if they carry them. I was about 90% sure they'd have them. The phone rang about 20 times, with no message or answering service kicking in. Where I work is only a few minutes' drive from Walmart, so I thought, "Ehh, I'll just head out and if they tell me on my way that they don't have them, I'll just keep going and hit Lowe's up or something."

I was in my car when someone finally answered the phone. The woman's bored monotone crackled in my ear, but the conversation was quick:

"Hello Walmart how may I direct your call?"

"Hi, I just wanted to know if you guys carry digital multimeters."

"Hang on one second, I'll transfer your to Automotive."

"Thanks very much."

The phone rang for several minutes - about as long as it took me to hit the traffic light near Walmart's entrance. The ring pattern abruptly changed, and the same woman as before answered again:

"Hello Walmart how may I direct your call?"

"Hi, you transferred me to Automotive a couple minutes ago, but nobody answered so it must have just kicked me back to you."

"Okay, I'll transfer you again."


The phone kept ringing, and I pulled into Walmart's parking lot. As I entered the building and the cool wash of air conditioning made my skin pebble, the ring pattern changed again. The same woman picked up a third time, answering as before:

"Hello Walmart how may I direct your call?"

"Hi, yeah, this is the third time; I'm still trying to talk to someone about whether or not you carry digital multimeters."

At this point, I was walking toward the Automotive and Do It Yourself sections of the store, thinking "wouldn't it be ironic if I found it before they could even tell me that they carry it? I was also thinking, man, it would really suck if I come all this way only to find out that they don't have them.

To her credit, she was embarrassed and frustrated. After all, it wasn't her fault that the automotive department wasn't answering their phone.

"Hold on, I'm going to just put you on hold and go find someone that can answer your question."

"All right, thanks."

I found the aisle with electronic accessories like cable ties, extension cords and the like. After a little perusing, lo and behold, I found the digital multimeters! They had analogue ones too, but those always break way too easily, and it's worth the extra $5.00 to have the accuracy and dependability of the digital ones. They look like this:

About that time, I was thinking about hanging up the phone, especially now that I had the product I was looking for in my hand. As luck would have it, a couple seconds after pulling the meter off its hook, her voice popped back through my phone:

"Hi, sir? What was it you were looking for again?" (I think she was wanting to confirm that she had picked up the right line. At least, I really hope she hadn't completely forgotten what she was supposed to be asking about...)

"A digital multimeter - you know, the small device that you would use to measure the voltage of a battery or the current through a circuit."

"Okay, right. Yeah, they said that we don't carry those."

Pause. I looked at the product in my hand. Here's the title on the package:

"So, I waited on hold for more than eight minutes for you to tell me that you definitely do not carry any products called a digital multimeter?"

"I'm so sorry sir, but that's correct. I just spoke with them, and we do not carry those."

Now I had a choice. I knew it wasn't her fault; she just answered the phone and passed along questions, so I didn't want to give her a hard time. It was possible that she hadn't asked anyone, and it was possible that whoever she had asked had just blown her off by telling her that Walmart doesn't carry the item. Either way, I figured the best option would be to talk to someone face to face. Either way, someone isn't doing their job well and is just being a nuisance.

I went to the automotive counter and asked to speak to a manager. I wasn't upset at all; I was actually kind of elated. This is the stuff you always hear about happening to someone else, told by someone who heard it third-hand. Ridiculous companies! Ridiculous errors! When the employee at the counter asked why I wanted to speak with a manager, the tale was practically bursting from my lips. They busted out laughing, and gladly called the manager.

The manager's reaction was quite a bit different. Her face went immediately red, she apologized profusely and offered me a 10% discount. I told her I really didn't need a discount; I just thought she might like to know that somewhere along the line, at least one employee was neglecting their job. If I hadn't just happened to find the product before they told me they didn't carry them, I would have taken their word for it and they would have lost the sale. I mean, I had asked for a "digital multimeter" and the product is called "Digital Multimeter." One simple inventory search would have easily found it.

She expressed further regret, offering now a 20% discount, stating how ridiculous and embarrassing it was. I gladly accepted the discount, paid, and went on my merry way. Justin: 1. Walmart: 0.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Company Picnic & Secondary Brainstorming

My time today was hogged by two very different activities:

  • Brainstorming Topics for my Pritzker Essays
There are two central essay questions for Pritzker's secondary application. One focuses on their mission statement and how you are a good fit for their school. The other asks you to focus on a difficult situation in your past, the coping mechanisms you employed as you worked through it, and the support people that you relied on throughout. I have a meeting with my advisor on Monday and am currently drafting preliminary responses to review with her that morning.

  • Company Picnic at John Ball Zoological Park
Today was my company's annual summer picnic. This year it was at the zoo, which was great! We had upwards of 3,000 employees and family members (and most likely a few against-the-rules friends) show up, and a great time was had by all. Free food (I loved me some BBQ chicken!) , a day-long pass to the zoo, live music by a local band and a great raffle combined to form an awesome night. I hoped to visit my sister- and brother-in-law that live five minutes (if that) from the zoo, but the festivities ended a bit on the later side for barging in on a family with three kids under the age of 5. The picnic was fun, but I was mostly there (alone) as the photographer, since my wife Nicole was busy poking Josh Groban in the back, touching him on the arm and offering to go canoeing with him. She hasn't posted about it yet, but now she has to...

I just finished editing about 1/5 of the photos from the company picnic, and it's time for a shower, some Battlestar Galactica (please don't stereotypify or judge me too harshly... and yes, I know, "Bears. Beets. BATTLESTAR GALACTICA!) and bed.

Mini-update on my electric bike: It's built! One small snaffoo though - the charger that came with my battery is defective. How do I know? It doesn't charge the battery and smells as though someone put burnt hair inside it. So, I got about 4 miles of blissfully ignorant mileage out of my battery (thinking it was full, since the charger told me it was) before it pooped out on the test run. I'm going to put up a much more detailed post on this, my newest invention, once it is actually up, running, and videoable.

Yep, videoable is now a word. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

HP & the Deathly Hallows Part 2 - Costume Photos

Nicole with her overly-excited face, me with my overly cocky/non-plussed face.
We didn't get dressed up. We were lame. We still had an awesome time.

Weeks ago, when I was still in the throes of writing my personal statement, Nicole bought tickets for us to go see the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (in 3D, hence the awesome Harry Potter-themed glasses we're wearing above) on opening night, which was technically this morning. We are fans, mostly because we liked the books, but I wouldn't call us fanatics. Is a "fan" by definition also a "fanatic?" They seem like they're probably etymologically related... Regardless, I was excited, though not nearly as much as she was. I thought there would be two or three people dressed up, but not really anything big.

I was wrong.

I'd never been to the opening of any big cult-followed movie before. I knew that bigger theaters tend to attract the huge crowds (I can only imagine the outfits that showed up when the remade Star Wars move hit theaters a few years ago), but I didn't really think that very many would dress up to come to the smaller theater we went to.

What I found when we arrived two hours before showtime was a very excited, authentic crowd. Lots of people had shirts made for the event, others dressed up as characters from the movie, or simply in robes meant to represent those of a Hogwarts student. One guy dressed up as Captain Jack Sparrow and posed for his picture by lying facedown on the ground (see pics below)... There were wands everywhere, lightning bolt forehead scars, and striped ties galore. I give an A+ to the girl dressed up as the Golden Snitch, as well as the woman dressed up as a convincing Bellatrix Lestrange. There was even a guy (unfortunately not caught in a picture) who brought a broomstick and a homemade Quidditch bat that he ran around with, pretending to chase a Golden Snitch. Fanatic to say the least, but definitely entertaining!

Nicole and I decided we should have dressed her up as an awesome Cho and me as an inordinately tall Harry. The guy next to me kept making comments during the movie, though for once they didn't bother me, as he was pretty funny. One of my favorites was when, at the exactly perfect moment, he blurted out, "Wow, Harry Potter is really short!" He's right! Daniel Radcliffe is wicked short. While we waited in line, Nicole pulled up this blog post of some other random person, which gives a really interesting look at how all of the actors aged over the ten years of producing the movies.

Speaking of which, the movie was exactly what I expected - awesomely entertaining, but not very close to a strict following of the book. That's totally fine, and in some ways made it more interesting, since I couldn't predict exactly what would come next. There were several awkward moments that I think were meant to be serious but just came across as hilarious. One was when, after one of his Hoarcruxes got destroyed, Voldemort gave a bit of a grunt. It was probably meant to be a grunt of pain or something, but it sounded like a noise that a 400-pound, frustrated infant who's had his tongue cut out might make. That alone might not be funny, but when the camera just kind of lagged on his snake face for several more seconds without anything else happening, the whole theater just busted up laughing. Another was when Voldemort hugged Malfoy. He kind of gave the hug to Malfoy's shoulder, and it lasted way too long to seem natural and just came across as *sniff...* awkward.

The best part may have been when Harry was talking to his dead parents and the girl a couple rows behind us and to our right began to sob in earnest. I don't mean a couple of little sniffles, I mean heartfelt, gut-wrenching sobs of deep, suffering anguish. She was really feeling it. When I looked over my shoulder in an attempt to stare at her, I had to struggle to not laugh really loudly (it was a quiet scene) when I saw the row of boys behind her thrashing in their seats as they struggled (and failed) to contain their incredulous and joyful laughter from bubbling over at her over-the-top reaction. It was several moments before Nicole and I could control out laughter. Man, that was awesome... I suppose I could have expected something like that, but still... Just one more unique experience at the hands of Harry Potter fans, I suppose.

Unfortunately, since I wasn't expecting such an interesting crowd, I forgot to bring my Nikon and had to settle for the camera in my iPad. This left much to be desired and for that reason, I apologize for the terrible quality of the pics. Thanks to everyone who agreed to have their picture taken and appear on my blog! Hopefully these pics will help everyone else catch some of the excitement that buzzed around the room while we waited for the doors to open. Enjoy!

Here's Bellatrix Lestrange. At first, I was expecting her to smile, then she whipped out this pose and kind of freaked me out...

Captain Jack Sparrow doing a faceplant. I think he explained the significance of this pose, but I missed it in all the hubbub.

Some were very serious, striking dramatic poses.

Nicole mentioned how she wishes that stuff like this had been coming out when we were in high school. She DEFINITELY would have been in one of these groups.

Here's the Golden Snitch! She opens at the close... Hmmm. I'll leave that one alone, I think.

Hermione Granger, I believe. Very serious stuff. When I saw her wand, it made me wonder - did everyone have all this stuff hanging up in their closet, or did they go get it all in preparation for that evening? Hmmm...

There's one of the light-up wands I mentioned! Lumos!

Harry Potter and Cho Chang!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bloody Wall Hotel - UPDATE

A while back I wrote a post about the disastrous little trip that my wife Nicole and I took for our second anniversary (aka our third Honeymoon). For those of you that don't remember the details of the trip, the SparkNotes version would include the hotel double-booking us and giving us the shaft with a smaller-than-promised room; a jacuzzi very unlike the heart-shaped, clean and romantic variety we expected and much more like sulfurous, gorge-triggering, "1-hour needed to dribble its way full" renditions you might expect to find in the stained, orange-tiled bathroom of a former Bachelorette contestant; a rude and unsympathetic staff member named CHRIS (not Dave, as I named him when I was still making an attempt at circumspection); champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries being delivered late (during which time the jacuzzi water cooled and had to be refreshed) and with lipstick-stained champagne glasses and dirty napkins; and discovering NASTY SCABBED BLOOD on the wall of the hotel room that had to be scrubbed off while the strawberries' chocolate cooled into a congealed blob.

For obvious reasons, I dubbed that place the Bloody Wall Hotel. At the end of my post, I mentioned the fact that to top everything off, we had accidentally left a pair of my khaki dress pants and a nice shirt in the closet. I called to let them know what happened and to ask if they found the clothes. They said that the housekeeper had found a shirt and pants, but had forgotten to write down what room they were in. They would need to speak with the housekeeper and we would have to call back the next day to speak with a manager. I forgot to call the following day (when I wrote the last post) but remembered the day after that.

When I called back in, they said that they had no record of anyone calling to claim the clothing. I spoke with the same woman, but she magically couldn't remember the conversation. I gave her the benefit of the doubt, asking if I could simply identify the clothing, and she said yes - she had them right in front of her. After correctly identifying it, she said she would drop it in the mail for me in the morning and just bill the credit card that they had on file for the shipping charges.

After a week, I still had not been charged for shipping.

I called back, and this time CHRIS answered the phone. Chris is the unhelpful and poorly-skilled communicator that had the fortune of being the owner's cousin. He put me on hold while he went to "check see," then came back ten minutes later and told me that he would call me right back. I waited four hours, then called again. He answered the phone. That conversation went like this:

Me: "Hi Chris. I called four hours ago and you told me you would call me right back after checking into the situation of my missing clothes."

Chris: "Oh, ah, yes, I forg-"

Me: "Chris? Please transfer me to Judy." Judy's not her real name, but she's Chris' manager. After I filled her in on the situation and its backstory, Judy happily put me on hold while she chewed Chris out. When she got back on the phone, she actually said, "Ok, I just got done yelling at him, and I think we've got it figured out." I think this was the first time that I actually felt better after knowing someone had been yelled at since I was three years old and my mother walked into the room where my older brother was making me stare at a bright light bulb as he said "Keep looking... Keep looookinnnnggg..." Either that, or the time slightly later that he convinced me it was cool to put the playground's pea gravel in my mouth, then after I had packed my cheeks full he told me that little bugs lived in the rocks that would come out and kill me if they got wet with spit. Come to think of it, I have a bone to pick with you, Tyler...

Anyway, Judy told me the clothes were there in front of her and they would be sent out right away.

I waited another week with no results. I called again and was told that they had accidentally mailed my clothing to the wrong address. Apparently, it had gone out to the same address as a bunch of other packages, and had just recently been returned to them. They explained that they had sent it out again, this time with the correct address, just the previous day. We could expect it to arrive in the next three or four days. When I asked why I had not been charged for the shipping cost, the reason they gave didn't make sense to me.

They said that they had decided not to charge my card because of the shipping mixup and the delay it had caused. However, they said that initially, they had shipped it out more than week before - more than enough time for a shipping charge to appear on my online statement from when they thought they were shipping it out in a timely manner. They wouldn't have known the address was wrong and that this would cause a delay when they sent it out; they would have just charged me like normal, if they ACTUALLY sent it out when they claimed. I smelled a coverup, but at this point I just wanted my clothes back, so I gritted my teeth and said nothing.

That was all on June 28th.

It is now July 11th.

I still do not have my clothes.

To recap: We stayed there on May 29th. I have made probably 15 phone calls (most of which weren't productive ("I'm sorry, she's not in today, can you call back tomorrow?") or interesting enough to describe on here) trying to get my clothes back. They're not incredibly expensive clothes, but I don't want to buy new ones when I could just have those back. It has now been 43 days, and no sign of my clothes. I'm thinking this may be a lost cause...

I now see no reason to keep the name of the hotel a secret. It was the Houghton Lake Michigan Resort and Hotel - Comfort Suites Lakeside. It looks nice, right? Of course! That's why I tried it in the first place. However, if you're ever thinking of staying somewhere around Houghton Lake, MI and you want my input - I think my story speaks for itself.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Primary Application DONE / How I Chose My School List

I took the plunge this morning, paying $622.00 to submit the AMCAS application after more painstaking detail checking and revising than I would have thought possible. I had a small moment of panic about three minutes after the point of no return when, after a couple of exchanged comments with my wife I convinced myself that I had forgotten to include a period at the end of one of my experience descriptions. Naturally, I had shut my computer down after submitting the application, thinking, "I'm DONE! I won't need to get back on this any time soon." It had quietly mentioned that it was in need of a software update, so I thought Why not? and told it to do its thing. Three minutes later realized that the only way to confirm whether or not I had made a mistake would be to check the final version of the app, but my computer was now updating! After ten minutes of waiting, it finally finished so I could start it up and confirm that WHEW - I hadn't made the glaring error of failing to punctuate correctly.

I'm debating whether or not I should share my final personal statement on here. Are there any pros or cons to sharing something like that publicly? There's not really any incredibly personal information, other than that I divulge that I did terribly in Quantum Theory during my undergrad studies... I'll have to think this over and come back to it later.

That being said, I applied to 15 schools. For those that don't know, I'm a nontraditional student. That wasn't a huge factor in which schools I chose, though something tells me I went about the process a little differently than many undergraduates. I considered several criteria: number of students accepted from my undergraduate institution in the past decade, location, in-state vs. out-of-state acceptance rates, national ranking, and average MCAT scores of accepted individuals.

My undergraduate institution (Hope College) has kept tabs on how many graduates have been accepted to the various medical schools over the past 10 years, and they're kind enough to share this information with me. That was sort of my starting point, since I thought my chances would be highest with institutions that had heard of my alma mater. Naturally, given that Hope is in Michigan, most of the schools that had accepted more students from Hope were in the midwest, so this coincided well with the location priority.

Next, I looked at what percentage of out-of-state applicants were actually given interviews and accepted to the institution. This was a big weed-out factor, and ended up just honing my school list even more to med schools that are relatively close by. It's really not worth my time applying somewhere if they accept 13 out-of-state applicants from a pool of 8,000. My advisor loaned me a book (for my LIFE I can't remember the title) that shared all the stats involved, and I made a huge spreadsheet out of the data. Nerdy? Incredibly so. Helpful? You BET.

Lastly, I considered national ranking and the average MCAT scores of accepted individuals for each institution. Nobody gets in everywhere, so the point is being smart about it and not pinning all my hopes on ONLY the most competitive and prestigious schools. As my advisor says, there are no bad medical schools in the United States. They're all good, they just don't all have the top rankings. To share another quote from a doctor I shadowed regularly, "Even the worst medical student at the lowest-ranked school is a doctor after graduation." Granted, I don't plan that to be me, but the principle is the same.

That selection process began months ago, and while I believe you can apply to schools after submitting the primary application the first time, I think I included all of the schools I wanted to in the following (alphabetically ordered) list:

Indiana University School of Medicine
Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine
Medical College of Wisconsin
Michigan State University College of Human Medicine
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine
Ohio State University College of Medicine
Rush Medical College
University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
University of Illinois at Chicago - College of Medicine
University of Michigan Medical School
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
University of Toledo College of Medicine
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine
Wayne State University School of Medicine

Monday, July 4, 2011

Backpacking with Josh

I went for a quick four-mile hike with Josh the other day. I would have linked to his blog right there so you could have seen his awesome photos (he's a really good photographer), but HE DOESN'T HAVE ONE YET. We loaded up our packs to start conditioning ourselves for our Lake of the Clouds trip with the wives (Nicole and Jamie) and a few other couples in August. On this short trip, we just decided to hit a little of the Chief Noonday trail near Gun Lake. Not too long of a drive, and definitely worth it. I've included some of my favorite shots from the day down below. Enjoy!

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