Previous month:
June 2006
Next month:
August 2006

42 entries from July 2006

Vienna Teng at Chop Suey, Sat 07/29

Vienna Teng from her web-site gallery
Vienna Teng
Image from the gallery on her site
I’m reasonably sure everyone in Seattle conspired to make Sat 07/29 the most heavily activity– and event-scheduled day in the history of the world. I know this because it took Katharine and me just 20 minutes to get from the Thrashers Corner area of Bothell to the Stewart Street exit off I-5 southbound in Seattle via I-405 and the 520 bridge—20 or so miles—but then we spent nearly half an hour threading our way along the last couple of miles to Julie Anne’s Lower Queen Anne apartment via various side streets as we tried to navigate around the footraces and Seafair events and Seattle Center and everywhere else events that were crammed into downtown last night.

Vienna Teng’s show was a co-billing with Duncan Sheik, whom I know only from a couple of songs, one of which I’ve encountered solely because it was on a film soundtrack. Guy’s been around for years, has released several albums, is touring in support of his newest album, and my only experience of his music (that I knew outright was his, anyway) is Three to Tango, which featured his song “That Says it All,” and then separately his song “Barely Breathing” which I remember from when it got a lot of airplay in, what, must be 1996 or so. Otherwise, I know nothing about the man, so while there were two names on the show posters and on the tickets Julie Anne got for us, we were there for just one performer.

Continue reading "Vienna Teng at Chop Suey, Sat 07/29" »

Shweet, car’s done

Cool, just got a call from Blake at Brien Ford, Escape’s ready to go. The brake pulsing is noticeable, they said, but no unusual wear on the rotors etc. so nothing done quite yet—everything is well within tolerances still so replacing pads and such wouldn’t do much good. I’ll keep an eye on it and go back later if the pulsing gets any worse or if it starts pulling to one side or wobbling the steering wheel.

Off I go to pick up the car and to the rest of the day. Have a good weekend. :-)

Cool, a song from the new album on the in-store music

Starbucks logoThis Starbucks location has the Starbucks-branded XM Radio channel, Hear Music™, playing overhead (I imagine most, if not all, Starbucks locations do this now), and I just realized I’m hearing “Nothing Without You” from Vienna Teng’s newest, Dreaming Through the Noise.

XM Radio logoI can’t seem to find on the XM site a listing of what songs have most recently played, so I can’t see if they’ve had any other songs from the new album on their rotation. No matter, though; Teng’s site has several songs for stream play and you can also hear a few from the new album at her MySpace page.

Ah ha, there we go

That was cool. I was about to call Brien Ford and my phone rang as I was in the act of opening the flip to punch in the phone number.

OK then, it’s all set. The 07:00 is the Mon-Fri opening time, which I could have misheard when I spoke to the service scheduler. In any case, they’re checking into the brakes and performing the scheduled maintenance, should be a couple hours or so.

Time for more coffee, but probably decaf this round. ::twitch::

Inauspicious start

I bought my Escape in June 2005 from Harris Ford in Lynnwood. The sale experience was a bit annoying, but tolerable, and since I have maintenance coverage, I’d been going to their service center for scheduled maintenance and for a couple of minor mechanical concerns.

But I soon found out Harris Ford’s service department doesn’t accept scheduled appointments for regular maintenance activities. Scheduled-maintenance work is handled by walk-in only, which meant I’d sometimes have to be there for hours at a time to use the maintenance coverage benefit. No dice, since I have a job Mon-Fri and their Saturday service slots were always full.

Even though Saturn of Lynnwood annoyed me with their more-often-than-not inability to contact me promptly about service matters, they accepted scheduled appointments for anything. Never took more than a few minutes to stop in, explain again what I needed, sign the paperwork, hand over the keys, and I was off again.

So today I’m trying Brien Ford in Everett, because they do take scheduled appointments for scheduled-maintenance activities. Also I wanted my brakes checked because I’ve been getting some shimmy as the car slows.

I spoke to one of the service advisors Monday afternoon and scheduled the service appointment for today at 07:00, which he told me was the time their service department opens on Saturdays. But when I arrived today, I saw no lights on or other signs of activity in the building, and the hours listing on the door clearly shows Saturday hours of 08:00-17:00.

So I’m a bit torqued. I’d planned on going to this Starbucks just up the road anyway to wait while they do their thing, but I could’ve crawled out of bed at 07:00 instead of 06:00, which would have been nice since I didn’t get to bed until about 00:30.

Instead I had to fill out a night-drop envelope and stuff my car keys through a slot way too narrow for them (I think I shredded the envelope, but shit happens) and in 40 minutes or so I’ll be calling to find out where the confusion happened.

::yawn into coffee cup::

Links for 2006-07-29

Vienna Teng: Dreaming Through the Noise (2006)

I was going to wait to buy this album until we saw Vienna Teng’s performance tomorrow night at Chop Suey on Capitol Hill, but last night my iTunes Music Store credit balance winked at me a few times. So I relented and bought the album digitally, the better to put it on repeat shuffle on my iPod for the 40 or so hours before the show.

Yeah, I’m obsessive.

Vienna Teng: Dreaming Through the Noise
Click image for full-size view in pop-up window
Anyway, my first take on Dreaming Through the Noise after what I think must be about six full plays:

I love this album. Like Teng’s first two releases (Waking Hour and Warm Strangers), I really like most of the songs (even before I know the lyrics), find a song or two okay, and don’t really care for a song, but the album taken as a whole is enchanting.

For artists whose work I really like, I always buy a physical CD even if I already have the album electronically, so I’ll definitely buy a copy tomorrow night. Presuming they have them for sale, of course. I also figure buying directly from the artist’s performances is the best way to make sure she gets the money, or at least more of it than she might see based on the $9.99 cost through iTunes; but with the creative accounting practices in the entertainment industry, who knows.

Anyway, run out (ideally click out) and pick up a copy of this album if you like good music of a folk/pop/contemporary flair with intelligent lyrics that may or may not tell a story (depends on your interpretation, of course).


Apparently I’ve nothing better to do on my lunch break than scour verbatim for memes and post my own versions:


  • What is your salad dressing of choice?
    Honey mustard or ranch.

  • What is your favorite fast food restaurant?
    I’ll go to Wendy’s; the others, no.

  • What is your favorite sit-down restaurant?
    A few on such nearly equal footing, choosing just one isn’t worthwhile: Squatters, Red Rock Brewing Company, and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse in Salt Lake City; Bell Street Diner and Ray’s Café in the Seattle area.

  • On average, what size tip do you leave at a restaurant?
    About 20%, pre-tax.

  • What food could you eat every day for two weeks and not get sick of it?
    Cheese. I do this already.

  • Name three foods you detest above all others.
    Cauliflower (mainly because of the smell when it’s cooking); oysters; organ meats.

  • What is your favorite dish to order in a Chinese restaurant?
    Sweet and sour chicken or General Tso’s chicken.

  • What are your pizza toppings of choice?
    Mushrooms, olives, pepperoni.

  • What do you like to put on your toast?
    A little butter and some fresh raspberry jam.

  • What is your favorite type of chewing gum?
    Extra peppermint.

Three more sections after the jump.

Continue reading "MEME-OLOGY" »

The Friday Fiver: Jul 28, 2006

Saw this at verbatim, liked the questions, figured I’d answer them too.

Friday Fiver: Take Me Home

  1. Do you smoke?

  2. Are you more likely to be caught humming, whistling or singing to yourself?
    Singing; I do that all the time when there’s music playing and I’m at all familiar with it.

  3. Have you ever been to New Orleans?
    Yes, in 199 . . . 5, I think it was, when I was a Guide on AOL and there was a staff gathering there.

  4. When is the last time you saw the sun rise?
    Sunday morning.

  5. Can you swim?

My buddy Michael

Michael Manfredi strikes again: First here just after midnight PDT, then here a couple hours later.

This person has used two email addresses, both invalid, on his comments. No surprise there—like many people who leave comments that are critical of a web site, he puppies out and hides behind the lax identity requirements of the comment system.

He first used and a couple of comments later used, and since has interchanged them with no pattern I can discern. Of his (to date) 11 comments, he’s used the address on seven; the address seems to be an afterthought. His IP address changed after Jul 01, likely because his ISP did a regularly scheduled renewal of its pool addressees’ IP leases.

So I have no clue who this person is, nor have I delved much into the email/IP thing beyond using my site’s stats to determine the IP addresses are part of pool in Bremerton. And I haven’t bothered with requiring registration via TypeKey because I like the possibility of open commentary fostered by an email-address requirement even if the address is invalid. But when I can’t even communicate with a commenter who is as routinely and predictably stupid as Manfredi, I become amused and think it might be worthwhile to fire up the full registration requirement to see if this person will ever comment again when to do so he has to identify himself in some verifiable manner.

I think I will do that, in fact. I’ve been waiting for a couple weeks now for Manfredi’s supervisor to bitch-slap me (or whatever was supposedly going to happen) with content and editing suggestions after Manfredi’s claim that it’s his job to view my site and leave the comments he does, but so far no joy.

Since I have a small reader base and most of the people who have left comments are already TypePad users and/or already have TypeKey profiles, I think I’ll turn on comment registration for a while, maybe a month or two, and see where it leads. More telling than if he’s silent will be if he reappears when I set registration back to optional.

So, Michael—Mikey, Mickey, Mick, Dipshit, whatever you like to be called (or will answer)—will you reveal yourself?

Links for 2006-07-28

iPods supposed to last 4 years?

According to a posting at AppleInsider, which in turn links to a Chicago Tribune story (registration required), Apple builds iPods to last four years and their overall failure rate is a “fairly low” five percent.

iPod, fifth generationThe iPod was introduced in October 2001; we’re rapidly approaching the five-year mark. In those five years, I’ve owned four iPods, only two of which are still alive. One of those is a first-generation 5GB iPod I passed to a friend a couple years ago—and it’s still alive; the other is a fifth-generation 60GB model I got in June.

The dead ones, a 30GB model I received in 2003 and a 1GB shuffle from February 2005, each gave up the ghost in the 15- to 18-month range of ownership.

Certainly my experience isn’t indicative of the overall quality of the iPod, but here’s hoping there was a blip in the middle—the first-generation 5GB is still kicking, so I’m expecting the fifth-generation 60GB to be around until 2011.

UPDATE Fri 07/28/06 11:58: Gizmodo has updated their posting on this to indicate a correction (yet to be made by the Chicago Tribune) about how the Apple spokesentity was misquoted; she actually said iPods are built to last “for years.”

UPDATE Fri 07/28/06 12:33: And now AppleInsider posts their update with the “for years” correction.

Links for 2006-07-26

Paul Simon: Surprise (2006)

I’ve been a fan of Paul Simon’s almost entirely from his solo releases. There are some Simon & Garfunkel songs I like but the solo works made the bigger impressions.

The first song I heard from Simon’s 1986 release Graceland was “You Can Call Me Al,” back when it was getting a ton of airplay on the radio in Salt Lake City. I bought the CD based on my familiarity with that one song (I’ve done that many times with different artists, in fact) and the CD immediately became one of my favorites, to the point that by repetition I could recite (very roughly) much of the African chanting in songs like “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” and “Homeless.”

Paul Simon: Surprise: CD cover
Paul Simon: Surprise ( product page)
A few years later, Simon released The Rhythm of the Saints. The first song I encountered from that album was “The Obvious Child,” and in fact I first heard it when I saw the video on VH1 (back when MTV and VH1 actually had, you know, music videos among their programming). The visual of the opening drum line was arresting and once again I bought an album based mostly on a single song. In this case, however, I quickly grew to like the songs “The Coast” and “Born at the Right Time” even better, one of the few cases where other songs grew to make more of an impression on me with repeated listenings.

So when Julie Anne told me she’d heard Paul Simon had a new CD coming out, and then she told me she’d pre-ordered it, and then that it had arrived, it was called Surprise and she LOVED it, I asked if I could borrow it to determine if I’d want to buy it.

I listened to it at work today while I was up to my eyebrows in some database work (I really hate cross-reference tables for the various electronic-data formats we produce) and I can sum up my initial and continuing impression in one word:


I was utterly unimpressed by this album. None of the songs stuck with me at all, I didn’t tap my feet to any of the rhythms nor did the lyrics or tunes catch my attention. Sure I was working on things with fairly strong concentration, all the more reason to know that a new album that fails to catch my attention away from the tasks at hand stands little to no chance of achieving repeated plays in my iTunes shuffle lists.

I’m disappointed. Based on my previous experience with Simon’s solo works, I really wanted to like Surprise. Right now, I doubt I’ll listen to it again except by its songs’ occasional rotations through my “haven’t listened to this song in 6 months” playlists.

I could’ve taken today off

Except I no longer live in Utah, where they celebrate observe Pioneer Day on July 24 each year and there’s a parade and fireworks and various other activities for Utahns to commemorate the Mormon pioneers’ arrival in the Salt Lake valley in 1847.

I’d venture a guess that most Utahns don’t actually know what “Days of ’47” means. I’d bet most of them think it refers solely to the rodeo they have at this time every year, and the events surrounding that.

Speaking of rodeo: A few weeks ago I had dinner at Bonefish Grill on a quiet Sunday evening. The televisions over the bar were showing bull-riding, which always seemed to me an astoundingly odd way to make a living. But that night, I was utterly enthralled by it. So I can completely understand how in 2006 most folks’ understanding of an obscure 1847 reference would be entirely wrapped around their knowledge of the rodeo held every year under that title.

But back to now.

It was a busy weekend. Julie Anne’s brother Jimmy flew in Friday afternoon. He lives in Utah, so he could take a four-day weekend and only require one day off work. The three of us went to Port Orchard to visit JA and Jimmy’s brother David, sister-in-law Kristen, and nephew John, and we barbecued (well, David did) burgers and brats and enjoyed a casual evening on the sweltering Kitsap Peninsula. Once the sun went down, the temp dipped a precipitous 1.9°, so we returned to Seattle via the Southworth/Fauntleroy (West Seattle) ferry where we ran to the bow and enjoyed the even cooler-over-water breeze during the 20-minute crossing.

Saturday was Safeco Day for the Seattle Mariners’ home game versus the Boston Red Sox. Jimmy is a huge Red Sox fan and we had a connection for free game tickets, so we had our Saturday event plans set up a few weeks ago. We went to Pyramid at 10:45 for lunch before the game. Julie Anne and I ended up staying at Pyramid until the final minutes of the game, in fact, which meant that for much of the midday hours on Saturday, I drank beer and sipped water—by 19:00 I was radically run down. Fortunately I was home and could just relax, which I did so well that I was out like a light from, oh, about 19:30 until 23:30, when I woke up and stayed awake for 90 minutes or so. When I dozed off again, I slept fitfully until 04:21 Sunday, and I was so immediately wide awake that I actually got up at that absurd hour.

I managed to watch two DVDs from Netflix and do my laundry before 09:00. On a Sunday morning, no less.

Yesterday afternoon we all met at Julie Anne’s apartment on Lower Queen Anne for another barbecue. Kabobs this time, which meant we all got to play with our food as we put our kabobs together. I kept track of whose kabobs were whose so we could identify them after cooking, but as soon as I turned Grillmaster I promptly forgot the skewer line-up. We figured it out after a bit of sleuthing after the kabobs came off the grill. Damn, it was hot yesterday afternoon on that third-floor balcony.

It was strange to arrive home around 19:45 and have nothing to do for the several hours remaining on a Sunday night. Usually I still have a load or two of laundry I want to finish, or I need to vacuum or put away dishes or whatever other household stuff I may have ignored the rest of the weekend, but since I was up before the goddamned roosters yesterday morning I’d finished all that with plenty of time to spare. I was at loose ends so I opened all the doors and windows and enjoyed the bit of a breeze that was blowing along Main Street, and before I knew it, my living room was down to a relatively chilly 83°.

We’re supposed to cool back to our more normal temperature range of middle 70s to low 80s over the next few days, which will bring welcome respite from the local media’s endless barrage of “it’s another day of record-setting heat!!!” ratings pandering.

I still firmly believe that if the media never reported what the temperature was, most people would never feel hot in this climate.

Links for 2006-07-22

On Seattle weather

Don (10:34:15): Holy shit.. it’s only 73 degrees outside our office right now and everyone's bitching about how “so so hot” it is.

Julie Anne (10:35:07): It’s because they have been listening to Steve *&^%$#& Pool and they know it’s gonna be Hot, Hot, Hot today.

Julie Anne (10:39:09): Can these people that are complaining tell the difference between 85 and 90 without the media telling them?

Don (10:40:33): There are actually only three temperatures in Seattle: “Cold,” 67°, and “Hot.”

Julie Anne (10:41:24): It was 67 when I got on the bus at 06:30 this morning and the guy across from me said, “It’s already hot, it’s gonna be miserable today.”

Links for 2006-07-14

Random candy moment

I offered my coworker Sandra an Original Swedish Fish and she asked me if I’d ever seen the giant gummy snakes, called “Hissy Fit” or something similar.

I had not.

Katharine, who was standing right there nibbling an Original Swedish Fish, suggested I Google it. And how glad I am that I did, for otherwise I might have gone to my death not knowing of the magic:

Hissee Fit Giant Gummy SnakesHissee Fit Giant Gummy Snakes: 12CT Bag

Giant Snakes! Over 36 inches of slithering gummy snake is coiled in each package, waiting to strike your tongue with sweet venom!

Only $3.30 per snake!

Links for 2006-07-12

I wondered when the racial-discrimination card might be played

Hoping it wouldn’t, because when I first saw photos and video clips of the three coaches involved, their skin color didn’t register on me at all.

Seattle Times: Ex-Sealth coaches sue to get jobs back

Three former Chief Sealth High School girls basketball coaches are asking a judge to reinstate their jobs after they were dismissed for recruiting girls to the nationally ranked team.

Head coach Ray Willis and assistant coaches Laura Fuller and Amos Walters filed lawsuits in King County Superior Court, claiming that racial discrimination and an inadequate investigation played a role in their dismissals. All three coaches are African-American.

The coaches lost their jobs in May after a Seattle School District investigation determined they had recruited girls to play for their team, which won state championships in 2005 and 2006.

New feed

I recently killed my previous feed and redid it, so if you have any trouble with the syndicated entries, that’s probably why.

The new feed link:

It should redirect you, but my RSS reader couldn’t find it initially. Took a few days before it finally wised up to the change.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about and/or you don’t use Bloglines or Google Reader or NewsFire or NewsGator or something similar, don’t worry about it.

Beer and wine and strangers’ weddings: Nine days on the road in Oregon and northern California

Got back from the nine-day road trip a couple hours ago and I realized the many sets of notes I’d made as we reached each destination are all in “draft” form, not ready for publication yet. The photos I sent from my camera phone are here, however.

Over the next few days I’ll be polishing up the stories and publishing them at the original date and time I drafted each set of notes. So check back for changes to the trip summary (it’s my full “Road trips” category) as I finish and publish additional anecdotes, photos, tall tales, and wine-tasting and restaurant notes.

:: • :: • :: • :: • ::

I’ve now driven nearly 4,000 miles since Jun 21. I think the car needs a break—I know I certainly do.

Have a good weekend. :-)

Weird loads

We’re heading back to Seattle today and we just passed a tractor/trailer flatbed with what looked like two inflatable rubber bladders of some kind, and it reminded me of a couple of other odd loads we’ve seen:

  • Flatbed with roofing tiles, and a Honda
  • Helicopter parts and a fiberglass hot tub

The magic of less-than-truckload shipping!

Links for 2006-07-07

Do Don’s cats miss him?

Towels1_1This is what I found when I dropped by Don's to check on his cats. The location is the living room between the couch and a chair. When I found it it was on its side with bits all around. I’m not sure, but I think Flex might miss him. I picked the pieces up the best I could without a vacuum and moved it into the kitchen.

Towels2_3Then I took a look and found myself laughing a bit and snapped another picture. I thought about ripping all of the little bits off, but then I decided that I would leave it as an art form for Don. Plus I didn’t want to waste any of the towels.

Flex also has torn out the center of a circular scratch pad and flung its bits all around. There are various types of paper bits all over Don’s apartment.

Annie doesn’t tear things up, but when you visit she gets on your lap and purrs and kneads. This is very cute except that she kneads deeply with her claws and you find that you have little red punture wounds all over your body.

I hope he brings his cats a gift...

Wandering downtown St. Helena, Beringer Vineyards, Silverado Brewing Co., and the first night in Napa

Flickr photo sharing: The Flag
The Flag
Flickr: Don Nunn

Small-town patriotism flapping in the mild breeze before a storefront along Main St. (Hwy 29) in St. Helena.
I didn’t go to bed until just before 01:00, and I still woke up just after 07:00. These rhythms kinda blow—come on, body, I’m on vacation here!

Ah well. The early waking got us out of the Hilton fairly early as well, so we arrived in downtown St. Helena in time for a leisurely cup of coffee and a pastry (though I wasn’t very hungry) at The Model Bakery (map) right on St. Helena’s main drag, appropriately named Main Street. We scored rock-star parking just steps away, in fact, so the day started out well all around.

After breakfast we wandered up and down Main Street, looking in shop windows and at restaurant menus and enjoying the small-town feel of the place. It was a gorgeous day too, perfect temperature with bright sun but not yet warm, just right for a casual stroll of a mile or two up Main Street and back. The only plans we had for the day involved eventually checking into our Napa hotel, River Terrace Inn, and possibly meeting up with Julie Anne’s parents for a winery tour or perhaps for cocktails and dinner, but nothing set in stone; we were entirely unscheduled.

Continue reading "Wandering downtown St. Helena, Beringer Vineyards, Silverado Brewing Co., and the first night in Napa" »