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85 entries from February 2006

Links: Feb 28, 2006

No Summer Concert Series in 2006

Hmm, this disappoints me. I hadn’t seen a performance line-up or anything, and I only attended one show in last year’s series, but I’m sorry to see it won’t even be an option this year:

Seattle Times: One Reel cancels this year’s Summer Nights concert series

One Reel, the producers of the popular Summer Nights concert series, has canceled it for this year. The series, which was slated to be relocated to Seattle’s Gas Works Park this summer, had run into neighborhood opposition amid concerns about parking, traffic and restricted use of the park.

A neighborhood group, Friends of Gas Works Park, sued the city and One Reel, alleging that the city violated state law by bypassing an environmental review process.

A statement from One Reel official Sheila Hughes said that One Reel had run out of time to produce the series, and would try again to produce it at Gas Works in 2007.

The series took place at the downtown waterfront for 13 years, on Pier 62/63. It moved to South Lake Union last year.

Though I do understand and support the Gas Works area neighborhoods’ concerns about parking and traffic. Most of those streets are barely wide enough for the people who live there; adding a few thousand concertgoers into the mix a time or two per week and without planning adequately for it, well, that was just asking for trouble.

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things I want but don’t need

Haven’t done this one yet; saw verbatim’s entry on it, figured, what the hell.

In no particular order despite the numberating:

  1. Better cooking skill, and the wherewithal to use it
  2. New coffee maker
  3. Griddle
  4. The power of translocation (instant travel, baby!)
  5. Financial independence
  6. Mariners and Seahawks season tickets
  7. About six months off, starting three weeks ago
  8. A cell phone that combines the best of every phone I’ve owned with none of the annoyances
  9. A house I actually owned (though renting is fine in its own way)
  10. A desktop computer

Obviously I’m just not giving it enough thought

I don’t like Bob Costas, which is one reason I watched absolutely none of the recent 5,000 hours of prime-time coverage of the Torino 2006 XX Olympic Winter Games on NBC or its several dozen other networks. Also, the Games were in Italy, and I lived in Salt Lake for the 2002 Games, so I kinda didn’t care much this time around.

I’ve never liked Costas, anyway, but I always described him as “smarmy” or “snide” or similarly. My hatred hadn’t evoked such an overwhelming passion in my written communication; I could get up a pretty good froth about the man when I was discussing the Salt Lake 2002 coverage over a pint at Squatters, but when I wrote about it, shrug.

I see now from an entry posted today at that I simply wasn’t putting enough effort into written description of my level of my despite for the man:

It should be noted that not once during the entire two-week span of the Olympics did I spew my hatred for Bob Costas on this website (like I once did here and here and, um, here and over here). This gesture falls under one of my New Year’s Resolutions to try and put out good energy into the world so that good energy will eventually come back in this direction, and since Bob Costas is a human being—albeit a human being who deserves to have his balls folded in half with a hair barrette until they rot and fall off, someone who then deserves to have those rotted balls shoved into a blender and pulverized into a fine powder than can be mixed with arsenic and then served to him on top of a cookie—I’m going to treat him with respect.

This is me being a bigger person.

I need to work on my at-first-glance politely phrased vitriol, but first I have to stop laughing.

Links: Feb 27, 2006

Links: Feb 26, 2006

The trip home

Denver International Airport is, what, 25 miles? 30? shrug? by car from downtown Denver. Makes for a huge amount of land available to the airport—it covers some 53 square miles, making it the largest airport by area in the U.S.—but also means strained silence stretches the 30-minute drive into what seems like hours.

Got the car turned in at Hertz (today’s Courtesty Driver was Modibo; I didn’t see the Manager On Duty’s name) and took the courtesy shuttle to the terminal, the usual routine. I had to check in at Alaska Airlines—even though I booked through Delta, the flights were code-shares—and I decided I would, in fact, check my rolling carry-on when the ticket agent couldn’t tell me for sure if the seats in Row 6 on an Alaska 737-700 had any under-seat stowage space or not.

That I checked my carry-on would turn into something of a flaming fiasco at the Seattle end. And the fun in Denver wasn’t over yet.

But those were part of a future I couldn’t see.

Continue reading "The trip home" »

Slight change in plans.

Originally I was returning from Denver Sunday night, but for various reasons I am now going home a day early.

It was easy enough to change my flight; I didn’t even get charged for it, despite my ticket’s supposedly non-refundable/non-changeable status. Of course the “non-changeable” part simply means “without a change fee,” but since I simply switched my ticket from a flight Sunday night to the same flight number and departure and arrival times Saturday, the ticket agent declared it something like “even across” and that was that.

I have a window seat on row 6, the first row of coach on the 737-700 that will be carrying this flight, so I’ll probably check my rolling carry-on since on the 737s I’ve flown before, the first row of the coach section didn’t have under-seat storage for the passengers of that row. The ticket agent said the flight was filling up rapidly, it was good I’d called when I did, and thus carry-on space would likely be at a premium. But she couldn’t tell me with certainty if the under-seat storage was available for row 6 or not, and I was tired and just starting to be hungover and physically ill anyway from the unbe-fucking-lievable events earlier in the evening, so I didn’t press the question.

I don’t mind checking bags for longer trips when I use a full-size suitcase, as opposed to one sized specifically for carrying on. When I’m only gone a few days, however, it annoys me a bit. I don’t even know if I’ll have to check the bag, in fact, but I’m leaning toward it because of the ticket agent’s declaration of the full flight. I’d rather check the bag when I receive my boarding pass at the ticket counter than have it checked on the tarmac and rely on the hope that it’s properly handled from the jetway into the airplane’s cargo space.

Until Seattle, then.

Links: Feb 24, 2006

Quiet town, this Denver

Once more I am struck by how uncrowded the downtown streets are on a business day. I’ve encountered no traffic by car or on foot as I’ve moved about the city.

Made a short jaunt up Curtis to Broadway, I-25 northbound, off at 58th Avenue to the Denver Merchandise Mart, and back to I-25 southbound for the return trip into downtown so I could wander the 16th Street Mall and other areas on foot. No traffic slowdowns at all, no gridlock or even heavy vehicle loads in the downtown streets, cars moving smoothly through the area.

Kinda strange. The Denver-Aurora metro area has about 2.8 million people but downtown Denver seems almost half ghost town, even midday.

Reminds me of Salt Lake that way, where “rush hour” lasts about 12 minutes and the heaviest traffic might mean delays of a few minutes here and there, presuming you can’t find an alternate route easily.

Hotel tomfoolery

Every time I’ve ever been to Denver, I’ve stayed downtown at the Embassy Suites at 18th and Curtis streets (Google Local map). This has the advantage of close proximity to the 16th Street Mall and to other downtown attractions, along with easy freeway access and large rooms blah blah blah.

Every time I’ve stayed at this Embassy Suites, they’ve managed to screw up the reservation somehow, and this trip is no exception.

I’m here with my mom—she’s here for a gift-shop industry trade show, I’m here for a relaxing weekend away from the usual grind of day-to-day existence—and she always reserves a smoking room. This time she reserved, and received confirmation of reservation for, a 2-bedroom/2-bath suite that allows smoking, which would put it on the hotel’s 4th floor (their only smoking floor).

She made the reservation online and never spoke to a person, nor did she ever call back about the reservation. She received the confirmation information by email and that was that. So imagine our surprise when, at check-in, the desk clerk informed us we had called their reservations center on Feb 17 to cancel the previous reservation request and instead reserve a single room with two double beds, non-smoking. The downtown Denver Embassy Suites manages to screw up the reservation every time.

We had a few minutes of “What the hell?” discussion with the clerk, whose system doesn’t say specifically who made a request, only that the alleged request was made through the toll-free reservations line. And on the 17th. The customer relations manager walked up at that point and took over the transaction, tried to figure out what had happened and give us the room type we’d originally reserved.

Except they only have two suites of that type, and both were booked. Actually one was booked, the one on the smoking floor. The other was in “maintenance” status, so it can’t be rented out.

That’s when we found out this Embassy Suites is closing in a month or so, to be converted (according to scuttlebutt) into a Ritz-Carlton. There will be a downtown Embassy Suites opening sometime in the next year or so, the CR manager told us, and she knew they’d started remodeling some of the hotel’s floors already, and that’s what the “maintenance” hold on the suite was.

Odd, the hotel’s web site (linked above) doesn’t mention this closure at all, and in fact still shows room availability into and through March and April. I can imagine the unmitigated JOY! guests will experience when they arrive at the hotel and find it can’t accommodate their reservations because, gee, hmm, the hotel closed a few weeks ago! Golly!

But back to now.

The CR manager discovered, eventually, that there was another 2/2 suite on the 10th floor, and she booked us into that suite with a wink-and-a-nod approach to smoking within the suite. The “don’t ask, don’t tell” type of approach: “I can’t tell you to smoke in that room, but if you do smoke, ::wink nudge::....”

Et cetera.

It’s too bad I don’t smoke, we definitely could have got Mom’s money’s worth out of the CR manager’s chuckle/grin approach to fulfilling guests’ reservations at any cost.

Perhaps the new hotel will do better with reservations from the start. A lofty goal, perhaps, but an attainable one, I think.

Off to Denver for the weekend

Flying out this afternoon, returning Sunday evening. I’ll be at the Embassy Suites on Curtis Street, conveniently stumbling distance from the Rock Bottom Brewery at 16th and Curtis (on the 16th Street Mall).

Weather looks decent, 40s and 50s during the day (even into the 60s for Sunday) with 20s overnight. I broke out the full winter coat for the trip and realized I won’t need it for weather per se, but it offers quite good cold protection too. Also makes for a fun trip through airport security.

All of which is to say that I may not have much in the way of posting activity for the next few days. I’ve been such a chatterbox lately anyway that I doubt a few days’ silence would be in any way remarkable, but in case you wonder where I’ve gone, now you can find me easily.

Have a good weekend. :-)

Links: Feb 22, 2006

World records in my back yard

I live maybe a quarter-mile from House of Bread’s Mill Creek location. I buy bread there a time or two each month, walk past several times each month on my way to Starbucks or Central Market or the University Bookstore, inSpa, whatever.

I hadn’t heard about this at all until a story on KOMO 1000 this morning on my way to work, and then I saw this online:

Seattle Times: Bakery’s roll sets world record

Mill Creek House of Bread’s record-setting cinnamon roll
Mill Creek House of Bread staffers—from left, nutritionist Julia Ackerson; owners Anita Warren and Wayne Warren; head baker Amy Shay; roll roller Lisa Rosted; and baker Sarah Blau—stand with their world-record cinnamon roll. The bakery sold pieces of the roll for charity.
The Mill Creek House of Bread has risen to a Guinness world record.

Bakery co-owner Wayne Warren received a certificate Feb. 10 proclaiming the House of Bread a record holder with its 246½-pound cinnamon roll baked and served in October. Warren said there’s no guarantee Guinness will publish the record in its 2007 book. But he is hopeful because of an e-mail he received from Guinness last week asking for a photo for possible inclusion in the company’s book, he said.

“I’m excited about that,” he said.

Bakery workers plan to roll up their sleeves and bake another giant pastry July 8 for the Mill Creek Festival. This one won’t be documented for a record attempt, however.

“We served about 1,000 pieces of the record roll, so I figure we can do that again,” Warren said. “They’re certainly good.”

The bakery sold pieces of the record-setting roll and gave proceeds to Hopelink, a social-service agency that operates six food banks.

Though Warren doesn’t have immediate plans to seek another record, he said he would try to reclaim the cinnamon-roll record if somebody topped it.

Warren plans to mount the certificate and display it in the bakery with photos of the record-setting roll.

In today’s Weird Product Samples Based On Previous Purchases

Book cover: ‘Why Employees Don’t Do What They’re Supposed To Do...’Katharine ordered Why Employees Don’t Do What They’re Supposed To Do and What To Do About It from and when the book arrived yesterday, it included a 0.5-ounce sample of Ultra Clear Degree for Men deodorant (warning: “CHECK OUT THE ACTION INSIDE—IF YOU DARE!” with motorcycle-action shot!!!).

The sample is packaged in a sealed plastic over-wrap depicting a stick of Degree deodorant with the cap raised above the product, supported by a beam of the product’s unbelievable effectiveness—this is depicted by a bright blue beam emanating from the top of the deodorant stick.

Within the blue beam is a legend that reads, typos and all:

For Risk Takers . . .
its the scent of telling your boss
he has not had an original idea
since the late 80's

Below and to the right of the stick-beam legend is a smaller platitude:

For men who do take risks,
it won’t let you down.

The back of the package includes a three-step set of DIRECTIONS FOR USE, because the stick has a cap to cover the product and also a mechanical dial that raises the product out of the stick proper. It’s important users know they have to twist the dial first, and replace the cap last.

They don’t tell you to remove the cap prior to twisting the dial. That part must be obvious; it’s the replacement that confounds users.

From this package, we may glean:

  1. Women don’t buy management-technique books for themselves. They buy these books for their husbands/boyfriends/male coworkers only.
  2. Men who do not take risks will be let down by Ultra Clear Degree for Men.
  3. Unilever needs better copy editors.

Today, just because

Awake at 04:39. No noises or otherwise startling experience this morning, just slowly became aware that I was not asleep and when I looked at the clock, it shone merrily across the land, its bright digits shouting silently:


I was smart, though, and set up my coffee maker to start automatically today. It’s not due to brew for another 90+ minutes, however, so shortly I’ll be wandering downstairs to start the thing manually once more.

I could set the brew cycle to start at 05:00 and keep the coffee warm for up to four hours. This would be nice because I like waking up to the smell of brewing coffee. However, my coffee maker is officially From Hell because it signals the end of the brew cycle with four tones sampled directly from the sound made by the banshees of Irish lore, and there is no way to turn off that signal short of creative snipping at the wires, which I am reluctant to do.

So it’s a trade-off. Slow summoning to wakefulness by the lovely aroma of hot liquid caffeine followed by a jolting BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP shortly after 05:00 and hoping I can drift off again until 07:00ish, or set th damned thing for 07:00 and turn it on manually anyway if I happen to wake earlier.

Tomorrow I’m off to Denver for the weekend; flight departs SEA midafternoon. I was kinda hoping that if I was going to wake absurdly early this week, it would be Thursday morning, so I could get to work by say 06:15 or 06:30 and still work most of a full 8-hour day anyway, but I see my internal clock isn’t cooperating.

More likely, though, it’s a preview of tomorrow morning. I should set the coffee maker for 05:00 tomorrow; that’ll pretty much guarantee that I’ll be out like a light until the HELL BEEPS signal cardiac arrest.

Recent PowerBook software updates

When I got home tonight my PowerBook had gone through its occasional Software Update check and found several updates that applied to my machine:

Mac OS X 10.4 box

It had been a few days since these updates were announced and I saw no problems at MacInTouch or other Mac news sites that led me to hold off any longer, so I repaired permissions and backed up my personal data and applied the updates. Twenty minutes and a reboot later, and all’s well; everything runs fine, the apps installed perfectly (I did another permissions repair after the updates too) and iPhoto in particular seems a bit snappier than it had been with my 4500-photo library.

I haven’t noticed any differences with iTunes yet, and I don’t use iDVD or iMovie much. I’ve played with iWeb a few times to see how it works but since I already maintain this site, I haven’t had much use for another site on an Apple-hosted server.

Another series of software updates I can add to the list of upgrades that caused me no problems, though as usual I’d never make such updates without backing up first.

Weirdness of a Tuesday morn

It’s 08:49 and I’ve been awake nearly four hours already.

Woke shortly before 05:00 in an adrenaline rush, my reaction to a horrifically loud CRASH sound somewhere outside my bedroom window. I am reasonably certain the sound was real because my two cats were practically clinging to the ceiling, and I don’t think that was just because I jolted nearly out of bed in my own reacting to the noise.

Paine Field Airport logoI crawled out of bed and peered out the window. There were two people standing by the mailboxes, however, facing northwest and talking and pointing in the general direction of Everett and Paine Field, where Boeing does some test flights and whatnot. I wondered if there had been a plane crash there. But I saw no sign of smoke, fire, or other activity that would otherwise indicate the source of the sound.

But no more noise or signs of danger, and I was wide adrenalized awake, so I decided I’d get up to face the day. And at that moment, facing the day meant a trip to the kitchen to get the coffee started. Also I needed to synchronize and charge my PDA and my laptop was in the living room.

The PDA cradled, charging, and happily talking to the laptop, I ground the coffee and set up the coffee maker and stood there in a mild catatonic state watching as the fresh brew dripped into the carafe. It was mesmerizing, largely because I was coming off the adrenaline high and I needed something to replace it. I had carefully measured water into the coffee maker’s reservoir so I would have two cups brewed, though I used my large earthenware handleless mugs so in reality I made six cups according to the carafe’s scale. As soon as the brewed coffee reached the 4-cup mark, I yanked the carafe out to fill my mug and go upstairs to the shower, which was itself uneventful except that I broke the stall floor again.

Some weeks back I broke the stall floor the first time when I was shaving. I shave in the shower so I keep the shaving-cream can atop the stall door frame, and one morning I bobbled the can when I was putting it up after applying shaving lather to my face. The can fell to the floor and landed edge-wise and, I think because it was a new can and thus heavier, it left a crack in the floor. And a squishy spot under the floor, I think because a little water got under there and into whatever material fills the space behind the stall floor surface but above the upstairs-floor framing.

I had called the apartment manager and requested a service appointment to have the crack repaired, the better to prevent evile structural damage from water seeping through the crack and rotting away at the wood structure of the building. It wouldn’t do to be in the shower one morning and have the whole thing collapse through the floor into the kitchen and possibly through to the garage, Inspector Clouseau-style. So they dispatched a service minion who repaired the crack with some sort of caulk or whatever, exactly how I would have done it, and all was well.

Until this morning when I bobbled the shampoo bottle while I was trying (eyes closed) to place it back atop the wire rack, one of those hangs-over-the-shower-pipe numbers, and in falling to the floor and bouncing comically all over the place, it opened the crack again.

I didn’t realize until that moment that I had been standing directly over the drain in the center of the stall, my feet blocking the flow of water out of the shower. There was perhaps an inch of water in the stall at that moment. With the reopening of the crack much of that water spilled into the hidden structure of my house, leading me to make another service appointment request by voice mail within a minute or two of stepping out of the shower.

I think maybe I should use the tub/shower in the guest bathroom from now on, because it isn’t plastic and I think I would have more trouble breaking it when I drop things like I do all the damned time.

HandBrake iconSo I got dressed and went back downstairs and set up HandBrake to encode a couple of DVDs into smaller files for my upcoming weekend trip to Denver—better battery life if the DVD drive isn’t spinning all the time, you see, and the laptop can chew on that all day while I’m at work—and to make breakfast. Fired up the stove and made scrambled eggs with a little garlic and some Cheddar and jack cheese, delish, but I really wanted some bacon. Odd, because I’m much more partial to link sausage, but today bacon was the big craving.

And I had forgotten about my other mug of coffee. So I decided I would take it to work.

That’s when I remembered I lost my travel mug a couple months back when I took it to work, rinsed it out after use and left it in the drying rack in the break room, and never saw it again. So I had to figure out an alternative and I struck on using a 0.5L Diet Coke bottle I keep around for sippin’ water.

I drove to work with a Diet Coke bottle filled with a light brown and hotter-than-hell liquid, my coffee with a bit of flavoured creamer added. Got a couple weird looks from fellow commuters, I think mostly because when I picked up the bottle to take a sip, I did the “ouch hot yow” Dance of the Fingers bit, shifting my grip repeatedly and desperately so I wouldn’t burn myself.

:: • :: • :: • :: • ::

I am ready for this day to be over already.

And damn, does it suck to be at work today

Nothing happening. Most of our clients are closed today, so while we likely will get a few samples in here and there, it’s mostly dead otherwise.

The highlight of my day will be a trek to SEA to pick up Katharine on her return from a long weekend away. This will be the highlight not just because it marks Kat’s return to the Puget Sound area, but also because it means I get to leave work a couple hours early.

Also, as per frequent practice when one of us travels, we’ll likely go from the airport to a restaurant for dinner and drinks and catching up on the weekend news and events. She gets in early enough, in fact, that it’ll be Happy Hour if we play our cards right.

Woo. At least there’s something fun going on today. :-)

My power went out last night

My cable went out first, and then my power went out a few minutes later.

No wind last night so I’ve no idea the cause. As usual, the moment the lights went out, my first thoughts were “I could do laundry”—I already was doing laundry, my cottons load was just about finished spinning out—but instead I stumbled around to find the lighter so I could fire up a couple candles. At first I thought this outage would be like the one Friday morning but when I was 30 minutes into it, I figured it was close enough to bedtime that I’d crawl into bed and wait for sleep to overtake me.

Power came back on as I was climbing the stairs. Waited a few minutes to see if things were stable before I started the washing machine to finish its spin and transfer the load to the dryer, the better to have dry sox for work today.

My cable was still out by the time I drifted off a little after midnight, and my Internet connection is being wonky even now—modem keeps losing its signal and taking a few minutes to re-sync, most annoying. I’m off to work shortly, however, so perhaps the signal will stabilize today whilst I’m not here to use it.

:: • :: • :: • :: • ::

So, yeah. Happy Presidents’ Day. Our next work holiday is Memorial Day, but at least I’ll have the advantage of almost no traffic on my commute today anyway.

Links: Feb 19, 2006

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

DVD cover: ‘Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit’What an absolute delight this movie was.

My first exposure to Aardman’s animation style was their 2000 full-length release Chicken Run (IMDb entry, Netflix rental info, DVD purchase info). I’d heard of Wallace & Gromit but because I thought they were characters most people thought were cool because, well, it was cool to say you thought they were cool, I had paid them no attention. Chicken Run’s quirky visual style and dry and pointed wit really appealed to me, however, so when I heard about a full-length Wallace & Gromit feature in late 2004, I was looking forward to it.

The story is simple enough: Wallace & Gromit are cashing in on the mania surrounding the town’s annual vegetable competition with their humane pest-control operation, Anti-Pesto. Business is so good, in fact, that they find themselves overloaded with captive rabbits, and suddenly the town’s vegetable gardens are being ravaged by a huge ravening beast with just days to go before the competition. Lady Tottington, the competition’s hostess, engages our heros to capture and control the beast, but her snobbish suitor Victor Quartermaine would like nothing better than to shoot the creature—he’d be a hero in the townsfolks’ eyes and he could secure Lady Tottington’s hand in marriage. But Victor’s actions could have dire consequences for everyone.

I was pleased when Curse of the Were-Rabbit was released to nearly universal critical acclaim, and I absolutely agree that the kudos are correct. The movie offers so many laughs and such a wide range of humor—puns, sight gags, pop-culture references—that there’s enough for two or three viewings, and you still won’t catch it all. I read through the trivia entries at IMDb and other places, so I knew what to look for, but I still missed some of it. And I used my DVD player’s “rewind” function many times as particularly amusing bits caught my fancy.

Absolutely worthwhile. One of the few titles I’ve rated 10 at IMDb and five stars at Netflix, and I’ll probably add it to my own DVD collection, it will stand up to repeated viewings so well.


Links: Feb 17, 2006

The 2006 Lab Safety Buddy Lists are out

This year I’m a Sweeper!

For my group of five buddies, I’m the person charged with ensuring we’re all out of the building safely, and/or with accounting for anyone who may be out of the building already on a lunch break or on a day off or whatever!

It was such a thrill even to be considered, but I’m beyond honoured to win the designation!

(Now is when the music should start playing to cue me the hell off the stage)

Easy way to publish a news story quickly

Borrow the script from the radio newskiddies and run it up the web site unedited:

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Gusty winds knock out power in Puget Sound area

SEATTLE—Utility crews are making progress in restoring electrical service after gusty winds this morning knocked out power in the Puget Sound region.

A Snohomish County P-U-D spokesman says it’s down to a handful of outages from a peak of 22,000.

Sue Veseth (VEE-seth) with Tacoma Power says it has 13,000 outages because of continuing winds knocking tree limbs into power lines, even as others are repaired.

Puget Sound Energy reports 14,000 customer out of service.

In the Sumner area two trees crashed into a home. No one injured.

A power outage in Eastern Washington was caused by a downed B-P-A transmission line. The Benton R-E-A had thousands of customers out of service from Benton City to Grandview.

(with information from KIRO Radio)

Friday-morning randomness

If Sleep Country USA’s annual radio advertisements are to be believed, the only thing that changes from year to year in the mattress industry is the fabric coverings, so why pay more?

I’m wondering why the mattress industry bothers to claim model years if it’s true they only change fabrics.

That’d be like La-Z-Boy declaring a new model year each time they changed the upholstery.

I wonder, for that matter, if recliners even have model years.

:: • :: • :: • :: • ::

I have decided that Starbucks’ sippy lids are not intended specifically to contain the beverage and make for controlled sips while you are driving or walking or otherwise engaged in activity that makes holding a cup of coffee remotely dangerous.

No, these lids with their small sippy holes are really meant to create more powerful streams of steaming hot beverage when you bobble the cup slightly as you climb into your car.

I actually got Starbucks on my car’s ceiling this morning.

:: • :: • :: • :: • ::

My power went out for five minutes this morning. At 06:27 there was this odd screeching sound and the lights and clocks and everything else went out immediately. The cats perked up and rushed to the window, and a few seconds later there was another screech-from-hell, which noise caused both cats to revert to FLIGHT MODE!!! and bound backward out of the room.

Lights back on with absolutely no fanfare at 06:32, and all the clocks (stove, microwave, coffee maker, alarm clock, bedroom stereo) starting their plaintive blinking:

12:00 --:-- 12:00 --:-- 12:00 --:-- . . . .

I’m glad I hadn’t set the coffee maker to start automatically this morning. Otherwise I might have been denied the chance to spritz my car’s ceiling with triple grande non-fat no-whip white chocolate mocha.

:: • :: • :: • :: • ::

It’s windy and cold here, and just like in summer how people start bursting into flames if the temperature rises above 75°, they flash-freeze when it gets below 40°. The news is endless wind-chill this and record-cold that and oh my God don’t let your pets freeze because it might actually be in the 20s or low 30s tonight. Oh, and there isn’t much moisture in this front that’s moving down from Alberta, but there is ever so slightly a chance of snow flurries, and several of the school districts have actually announced that they will not close because of the cold. Unless it snows.

The way weather gets news coverage here, you’d think everyone grew up in a sterile temperature-controlled bubble in a laboratory somewhere.

Links: Feb 16, 2006

Links: Feb 15, 2006

Also, the earworm

Annie Lennox - DivaI cannot get “Precious” by Annie Lennox (from her album Diva) out of my head. I realized I was humming something as I stepped out of the shower a little while ago. Took me a little while to figure out just what the hell it was, and several times since I’ve caught myself at it again.

The last time I remember hearing that song was when the album was a new release, and that was, what, 1992? 3? somewhere way back when. I guess maybe it played recently in iTunes in the big Full Library Shuffle or something, and for whatever reason has taken up semi-permanent residence in my brain today.

I am going INSANE.


Sasha told Katharine yesterday that one of the children who was about during the move Sunday has chickenpox, and had we both had it because if not we were going to get it.

I had chickenpox when I was in first or second grade. Mine was a fairly mild case; I know I was out of school for several days and I remember taking several baths in oatmeal and being rubbed down many times with calamine lotion to relieve the itching. That was about the extent of it for me.

But my mom had not been exposed to chickenpox at sufficient levels to contract the disease in childhood, and she contracted a raging case as mine was winding down. We have photographs of her face with small chickenpox sores of such quantity that the sores had their own sores. She was miserable and still glares at me when we remember with some humor the horror of those days when the itching and the sores and general malaise just would not stop for her.

Of course I’m chuckling as I write this. I should find the one classic photo of her in the depths of the suffering, because nearly 30 years later it offers much humor after the ducking to avoid the hitting.

Anyway, I mention this because purely by happenstance I noticed yesterday morning that I was in the initial stages of what I hope will be a mild and rapidly passing cold. I know this isn’t chickenpox because it’s so rare for anyone to get that disease more than once, and I’m not worried about shingles. Also if I was just exposed on Sunday, I’d still be nearly a week and a half away from frank symptoms, and while sore throat is one symptom of chickenpox, I don’t have a fever nor am I feeling generally sick. All I’ve had so far is the mild throat twinge and I experienced several spates of sneezing, and last night my right nostril was completely congested.

Usually when just one side of my face feels congested I sleep terribly, but that wasn’t the case overnight; I woke up feeling pretty good. Throat’s still a bit tender but whatever this is, I hereby declare it to be mild and short-lived. This is largely because I may be on an airplane late next week and I do NOT want to fly with any illness leaking off me. Flying is annoying enough; no need to add soreness or sneezeness or whatever infirmity to it.


Turns out I received an alert about this dangerous possible snowfall at 03:39. Just think, I could’ve been FREAKING OUT!!! for nearly four hours by now if I’d thought to check my email at oh-dark-hundred:

338 AM PST TUE FEB 14 2006






The radio newsies are rattling off lengthy lists of schools, mainly in Snohomish County, that are delaying their starts by 90 minutes or more because of the tremendous blizzard that blew through overnight.

This is such a wtf? metro area when the snow flies.

Links: Feb 13, 2006

Links: Feb 12, 2006

Quick move

Sasha’s move went very well. The large number of people and several vehicles available to us made it go rapidly too. The weather cooperated beautifully, too—sun, no clouds, 53°.

Here it is a little before 16:00 and I feel like it should be 20:00 or later because we moved someone, and that usually takes much longer than the three hours we needed today.

I like slow days like this. Leaves me plenty of time for laundry and other amusements at home.

Trivia: Feb 12, 2006

Links: Feb 11, 2006

The Transporter (2002)

DVD cover: The Transporter (2002)About 10 minutes in and I love this flick. Absolutely mindless entertainment, just what I want after a quiet day to myself and an evening at the brew pub....


Yes, absolutely mindless. Silly action sequences, the type where the bad guys suddenly lose the ability to shoot/kick/hit/see straight because it’s important Our Hero succeed. And succeed he does, with some of the most improbably stunts and driving and fight scenes, all of which keep the action moving along admirably.

I nearly laughed a few times when the action got particularly lame, improbable-wise, but overall I enjoyed this movie.


Trivia: Feb 11, 2006

  • Today in history: 1847 Thomas Alva Edison born—1945 Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Josef Stalin signed Yalta Agreement

  • News of the weird: NEW YORK, NY—Fortune cookies with XXX-rated messages were mistakenly served at a political fund-raising dinner. (AP)

  • Strange fact: The average salary in the NBA is $4.2 million; in the NFL, $1.4 million.

  • Daily quote: Having someone wonder where you are when you don’t come home at night is a very old human need.Margaret Mead

  • Daily word: detach—to separate one part from a larger form, to remove

  • Daily trivia: Former NFL MVP Kurt Warner of the St. Louis Rams played for what college? (Northern Iowa)

  • Celebrity birthdays: Sheryl Crow (42)—Jennifer Aniston (36)—Brandy (26)