32 entries categorized "Fun"

When Girl Scout skills don’t quite cut it

Julie Anne’s efforts to get a fire going in the chiminea met with... difficulty, shall we say:

Firestarter?
The several sheets of newspaper on the lower right was a full New York Times when she started

So I stepped in (at, for the record, her suggestion) with the charcoal lighter fluid.

FUEL TO THE FIRE bwahahahaha
Kids, don’t try this at home!

A couple minutes later we still had the roarin’ fire we sought. Cuz, science!

Flames a-leaping!
No eyebrows singed in the making of this inferno

Bruises I can’t explain, and other bits about last week

Last week was good! Fairly normal work week, random signs of injury I can’t recall, absolutely smashing good weekend!

So then.

I think it must have been... Tuesday? Wednesday, actually, now that I think about it. Anyway, when I noticed on my right forearm a large(ish) bruised area, maybe two inches wide. Hurt a bit when I pressed on it, that first day, but the second day nothing but discoloration.

This is one of those bruises I cannot for the life of me figure out how I got. I don’t recall slamming my arm into furniture or bouncing hard off any walls. Nothing fell on me or hit me within the last 10 days, and I haven’t been in a physical fight in well over a year. The bruise’s shape gives no clue to its origin—there are no faint outlines of baseball stitching or backward sports-equipment logo typography embedded in my arm.

But the highlight of the week was a weekend jaunt to San Francisco with Katharine and Julie Anne to attend a live-album recording show by my favorite singer/songwriter, Vienna Teng, and her frequent collaborator (and producer of her last album, Inland Territory), Alex Wong.

Fantastic time. We had VIP tickets for the Sunday evening early show at The Independent, got us some face time with the musicians while they were doing their sound checks. Also I’ve a newly signed poster I need to get framed at some point. It was a fascinating crowd, too, all ages (21+ only) and just about every type of person you could imagine, all clearly fans of the music and really into the show.

No idea when the album comes out, but I’m hoping to hear my voice among the whoops and hollers from the crowd. Maybe it’ll list where each track was recorded as well so I won’t be one of those fools who says, “That’s me clapping first,” only to be told that song was taken from a recording made in New York, where I’ve never been.

San Francisco was lovely otherwise. We flew in Saturday morning, took BART from SFO to Powell Street Station, checked into our hotel with no fuss (our rooms were available even though check-in time was still 4+ hours away), and were out wandering the city a little after 10:30. Spent the afternoon at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, marveling at the planetarium show and chuckling at the penguins’ antics and bemused by the free-flying butterflies in the rainforest globe. Beautiful building, they pack a lot into a relatively small space, but it isn’t at all claustrophobic—the exhibit spaces are thoughtfully laid out with plenty of room for people to move around, and the exhibits themselves are an engaging mix of old (dioramas, animal enclosures, blocks of descriptive text on wall signs) and new (Surface-style computer-driven information about the California coast and such, an all-digital planetarium with a 75-foot projection dome, a state-of-the-art living roof, the works).

We flew home this morning, allowed an hour for bag check and security screening and barely made it onto the plane for the 09:20 departure—and, as it turned out, only because the TSA agents handling the lengthy security lines were canvassing the crowds for departure times 40 or so minutes away at any given time. The bag-check agent had claimed a 45– to 60-minute wait in security; if we hadn’t jumped the line at the TSA agent’s behest, we would have missed our flight, and we had a bit over 60 minutes from bag-check finish to our entry into the security line.

The flight back to Seattle was packed tight. The Alaska Airlines check-in kiosk had even asked us if we would be willing to accept booking on a later flight (with a travel voucher to be used in the future) because our flight was overbooked, and the crowding aboard clearly indicated it would be a busy travel day all around. I think we ended up among the last half-dozen or so passengers to board, which meant that my laptop bag flew home overhead row 18 while our seats were in rows 23 and 24 (in a 27-row 737-400, oh joy).

We did get to enjoy the log-sawing stylings of the Western Conference Champion snorer. This guy could go pro, probably get taken high in the second or late in the first round. He had snorted himself awake five times before the plane was even off the runway at SFO, and several times during the flight—each time, his rowmates would all flinch with the surprise of it.

Sometime during this flight I also noticed the couple of bruises on my right upper arm, a couple of little quarter-inch dark spots on my biceps.

Seems parts of me were beaten senseless over the last several days and I’ve no memory of it.

Anywho. Back home now, all is good and I have a two-day work week because of the Christmas holiday—we get both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off, for some reason I absolutely am not questioning aloud but still wonder about frequently. Bag is unpacked, cats won’t leave me alone, the wind is rattling my balcony door, and the weather forecast calls for rain and chance of snow tonight and tomorrow.

Just as things should be for December in Seattle. :-)

So how was your week?


Happy “Someday”, Katharine :-D

So today’s The Big Day.

Happy 40th birthday! :-D

Julie Anne and I sneaked into your office last night and did some decoratin’, complete to photographic proof.

First the whiteboard:

Katharine’s 40th birthday: Office whiteboard

We had to range far and wide to find the right combo of dry-erase markers for the faux confetti effect. ;-)

And then the desktop:

Katharine’s 40th birthday: Office desktop

So here’s to the Big Four-Oh, and to many more.

I love you :-D

Everyone else: Go wish Katharine a happy birthday at all of her sites....


Of late

Been a while since I had a non-photo, non-posted-by-mobile something-to-say prattling. Figured I’d catch things up a bit, in no particular order.

:: • :: • :: • ::

Had my eyes examined twice in four days. Bright lights shone INTO MY EYEBALLS at various times, some after I had been given eye drops that would prevent my eyes’ normal response to bright light to safeguard my vision. Institutional evile, it is.

Eye exams are such an odd thing. A bunch of tests designed to safeguard and even enhance our visual acuity, each test resulting in its own odd killing of vision for a short time.

Today’s tests involved digital photos of my retinas. The pics were cool, blood vessels in a circular cut-out on the computer screen, but the method kinda blew. The technician had me watch for the little red blinky light, just focus on the light, she had to make some adjustments and get things just so, don't worry about blinking, just blink like you normally would and keep focused on the red light, almost there, keep watching the light, another slight adjus—ZORCH the camera flash detonated INSIDE MY EYEBALL, practically. Pretty photos, but I saw the flash afterimage for almost an hour.

And within that hour I got to take an extended field-of-vision exam—I stared at a little yellow light and pressed a button each time I saw, somewhere in my field of view, a little secondary spot of light appear briefly. At one point I got a little button-happy and they had to repeat the test for my left eye because I spotted roughly 12,000 non-existent light blips, but I think it was just the machine getting annoyed with my predictive capabilities.

All of that took only 26 minutes. I think that’s like the old cigarette thing, the one where they say each ciggie cuts something like, what, 7 minutes or 23 hours or 800 years off your life? Yeah, that 26 minutes of eye exam from hell cost me 100 hours of sensitivity to light.

Sometimes at night, when I close my eyes really hard, I can still see the spots.

:: • :: • :: • ::

In other news:

We had a thunderstorm over Seattle tonight. I was on the phone with my friend David, because I LAFF AT DEATH and ignore the old saw that you should never use the phone in a thunderstorm, and also I only have a cell phone so if I managed to get zapped by the phone lines, it would definitely be newsworthy. But anyway, I was chatting with David and gazing out over the city, watching the storm move across town and thinking, definitely a good night for Safeco Field to have a retractable roof, eh wot?, and there was a lightning strike atop the Space Needle.

The Needle is maybe 6 blocks from my apartment, so it was roughly, well, NO TIME AT ALL before the thunderclap sounded. But it was quieter than I expected, and though my usual thunderstorm freak-out nerves were jangling, I was fascinated to see a building strike so closely and so uneventfully. Right at that moment David was talking about his recent visit to Cotton Eyed Joe (WARNING: Flash site, loud audio), how crazy it was and how much fun he had, and I was doing all in my power not to run into my bedroom and shimmy under the bed if for no other reason than I will NOT appear that unmanly in front of my cats, both of whom sat at the balcony door watching the storm and didn’t even twitch when the thunder rumbled over us.

:: • :: • :: • ::

Speaking of phones:

My Verizon Wireless contract ended Saturday.

First time in my personal-cell-phone-having life—thanks to the miracle of Palm devices, I can tell you that’s been since March 11, 2000—that I’ve hit the twin milestones of

  1. Finishing a two-year cell contract without making changes to my service, and
  2. Keeping a single phone alive through the entire contract period.

See, I’m usually hell on phones. I’ve damaged or outright killed a couple myself, drops and bangs and general use-and-abuse, and then there was the time my RAZR got smacked out of my hands and shattered into pieces on the tile floor of a downtown restaurant when I was only, what, a month shy of the end of the cell contract I was on at the time. So my keeping alive for (so far) 2.5 years a device that’s both a phone and a PDA is something of achievement in my little world.

Even more than that, I’m not running right out to replace the phone. I’m sticking with the current plan on month-to-month for now, because it suits me and I have a couple of ideas on phones I may want to try, but I’m holding off until I know more about them.

I really hope this isn’t some hideous sign of maturity. I’m only 37, I can’t be grown up yet.

:: • :: • :: • ::

So then, what else?

Oh, I started a 3-person carpool a few weeks ago. Doesn’t matter so much on the drive to work—we use the SR 520 floating bridge to get to Redmond, and there’s no HOV advantage eastbound.

Westbound, however, the HOV lane between I-405 and the floating bridge on SR 520 is a 3+ lane, and we sail past all those fools in their 1– and 2-person cars as they sit in traffic, mostly idling but occasionally moving forward by a car length or two, and I have to discourage my carpoolers from laughing maniacally and pointing and otherwise possibly causing road-rage incidents even though I secretly want to laugh and point as well.

But I was one of those non-HOV fools until earlier this month. Now I’m routinely home less than 40 minutes after I leave the office, and that includes dropping two people off when I’m driving.

Nice to be home by 5 each day, especially when there are still 3 or 4 hours of daylight to go.

:: • :: • :: • ::

Saw two movies in cinema the weekend before last: Star Trek, which I loved, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which I kinda liked.

I always want to type Wolvering. Have to correct it every time.

Anyway, two movies at the cinema in one weekend is a lot for me. Usually I’ll see two movies at the cinema in a span of several months, and I’ve realized why. It isn’t the opening-day (or even –weekend) crowds, or the occasionally shoddy projection or the sometimes uncomfy seats or whatever. It’s the people sitting immediately around me who act like they’re in their personal living-room THX auditoriums with the talking and the crinkling plastic and the God knows what other noises are emanating, to say nothing of the occasional dipshit who didn’t silence the cell phone.

I’d usually rather wait for Netflix to deliver the film experience in my own living room, where I know when I’m going to make crinkling noises and I can ignore myself easily.

But yeah. Loved loved Star Trek. I saw it courtesy my friend Matt, who turns 27 tomorrow. (Had to get that in there, of course.) He was dying to see the movie, already had tickets to an IMAX showing on the weekend, but he scored us seats at the 7pm showing on Thursday, May 7th, because he just couldn’t wait two more days for the IMAX showing on the 9th. Good loud visually exciting popcorn movie I’m sure I’ll see at least once more in the theaters and then at least once more on DVD, if I don’t end up owning it.

WolveringWolverine entertained me but didn’t wow me, or even strike me as a very compelling story. Hugh Jackman was good, he’s made the part his own, but I couldn’t buy Liev Schreiber as Sabretooth. Something just didn’t ring true, and in a summer blockbuster of mutants with retractable metal claws and sharp fangs and the like, if you can’t buy an actor in a part, something’s just not right there.

And if I never see Will Ferrell again, it’ll be too soon. They showed the fucking trailer for Land of the Lost FOUR TIMES in those two movies, and I’m sure all the remotely funny bits were in the trailer.

FOUR. TIMES.

:: • :: • :: • ::

OK, I’m done for tonight.

Have a good Wednesday, everyone.


And now, the rest of the story

Back a little while ago from the birthday festivities. Had a SPECTACULAR evening with Katharine and Julie Anne.

I had planned to slip out a little early so Julie Anne and I could play some pool and have a beer or two before we met Katharine for dinner tonight, but ended up leaving work right at my usual time when Julie Anne picked me up. We headed into Bellevue for a few rounds of pool at The Parlor Billiards & Spirits in Lincoln Square. Place has been open for a few years now but somehow we’d never tried it, a shocking oversight. They have something like 20 pool tables arranged to allow plenty of space on each side so players won’t encroach on other games (very often, anyway), and an extensive bar and food menu to keep you fueled up while you scratch your way through a few games of pool.

While we were playing, Julie Anne, who was vibrating in joyous anticipation at the gift she had arranged for me, suddenly could take it no longer and insisted I open her birthday card. Inside were two concert tickets for Vienna Teng on December 13.

My first thought was: How in the world could I have missed a Vienna Teng concert date in Seattle? I have the tour-dates feed in my regular reader, the last time Vienna Teng was in town I had tickets 12 minutes after the concert date was posted to the feed!

Then I kept looking at the tickets and two things struck me:

Continue reading "And now, the rest of the story" »


The day so far:

So I’m 37 today, which doesn’t faze me in the least because in my brain I’m still maybe 23 or 25 at most and that means I won’t be a grown-up for, what, 10 years at least?

Halfway through, then, here’s how the day has shaped up:

  1. Actually got some sleep, glorious sleep! I’ve a mild cold and the biggest problem I experience with such things is sleeplessness, but I managed almost 7 hours last night. This despite the fact that
  2. I woke up half an hour early so I could ferry Katharine to work so she in turn wouldn’t have to worry about her car during the fabulous Spa Day she would be enjoying courtesy Julie Anne’s gift for Kat’s own birthday 3 days ago. So I picked up Julie Anne and we headed north to Bothell, picked up Katharine, and
  3. Stopped at Starbucks for caffeination. I ordered my usual, a triple grande non-fat no-whip white chocolate mocha (yeah, I am “that guy in line at the coffee shop who places an order with way the fuck too many syllables”—but I knows what I wants and I speaks their language!), which they got entirely right except for the “white mocha” part—I received a standard mocha. But I didn’t much care because we had already left the drive-thru lane and I was already starting to twitch from the caffeine. And then we were off
  4. At work, with the caffeine and a slighly slow day making things tolerable, and now I’m waiting for
  5. Julie Anne to pick me up for a couple hours of billiards and a beer or two at The Parlor in Bellevue.

Woo birthday!