Thursday, December 28, 2006
I have come to notice that there is a fine line between an interesting diary blog and a indulgent blathering of self-importance. I think a lot of blogs fall into the latter category and it pains me because I can see how one can slide into it. I know my entries have been sort of light lately. Things have been going on. Things at work (which is an off limits topic on this blog) and things personally which I will get to, if not tomorrow then by the weekend.
Readers, the reason I blog is simply to practice writing with a little performance pressure and to give something back to you: A nugget of information/observation and maybe a laugh if I can swing it. If you ever feel I'm not delivering, let me know and I'll try to do better.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Merry Christmas to you!
Ken is napping on the adjacent couch while Dad and Austin have gone to my cousin Larry’s Christmas Day dinner. I find myself battling a monster head cold and pondering the meaning of Christmas. I can’t help but notice how this could be any other night of the year except for all the boxes and bags strewn about the living room floor and that Burgerville is closed today.
Since I was raised observing Christmas from a secular point of view, the birth of Jesus and the religious aspect fell away, leaving more symbolic associations with the holiday. The small details became super important: a fresh tree for the smell, certain Christmas decorations displayed in a specific place every year, eating pizzelles and satsumas throughout December and going to Christmas Eve dinner at my Grandmother’s house to eat weird Italian food—all garnished by either pickles, olives or mandarin oranges. [My mother has taken over the dinner since my grandmother’s passing and while the garnishes are gone, there is always an “experimental” vegetable or hors d’ oeuvre somewhere on the table.]
Its funny how as a kid, I thought the pageantry and magic of this season would somehow erase all the disappointments in the year preceding it. The sheer build up to this day whipped me into a frenzy, because—at least until 8th grade—what I lacked in number of friends, the number of presents under the tree consoled me. (All of that changed once I had a high school boyfriend of course. Then only his present mattered.)
So what comes to mind when you think of the holidays and the word “expectation”? (Groan.) Everyone has a story about something that didn’t go as planned or someone who failed to live up to what they “should” have done. Rarely if ever, do expectations measure up to reality and that’s why I hate them. I’ve noticed holidays (and weddings) are times where hidden emotions and issues, explode onto center stage. For instance, 7 or 8 Christmases ago, my mother wanted my brother and me to show up at her house around and I guess we didn’t get there until . She was so upset which made me angry because neither my brother nor I realized the time was firm but really we were struggling to meet the “expectations” of our father and blended family who we promised to visit with as well. Mom’s strong reaction surprised me but my own resentment about having to run all over the place on Christmas Day surprised me more. Why couldn’t we just have one family and be in one location all day long? (See, not a Christmas issue.) After that, I have always made it very clear about schedules during the holidays.
And now, since marrying Ken there is the inclusion of all new traditions, ideals and... expectations.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
For the record, I have never been a fan of country music or the people who predominantly embrace it. This documentary showed the infamous moment that Natalie Maines said she was ashamed that the President was from Texas. The ensuing firestorm of hate and rejection from their once adoring fans captured in this documentary became ironic and ignorant with today's hindsight. The way the majority of the country audience turned their backs on such a beloved and popular group in 2003 after stating a quasi-joke/opinion can only be described as deeply chilling. The Dixie Chicks may have lost some of their fans but good riddance. I'm sure they didn't mean to stumble out into a political stage or become the poster children for the First Amendment but how they handled it impressed me immensely.
Count yourselves another fan.
It's always humbling to me to realize how dependant we are on energy and "civilized" life. Even when we went camping with the Vaslows, we had the comfort of a heated cabin and hot showers among many other things. These events are good reminders to be thankful for what conveniences we do enjoy.
Tangent: But there is a form of infrastructure upon which I've become most dependant on as the days pass. It pains me to think of a time before it's existence in my life. So let's take a moment to all thank God and/or the Universe for the Internet.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Due soley to my father's LP collection, I do know Seals and Croft, The Doobie Brothers, Chuck Mangione, George Benson and Cat Stevens from that era. But I don't get much credit for knowing these artists because Ken doesn't think highly of them.
I think over all the decades of the 20th century, the 70's represented that awkward stage in life where you're between things. Can't quite commit to an ideology, can't quite cooridinate a wardrobe and can't quite use colors pleasant to the eye to decorate with.
I don't think I should be held responsible for stepping out of the seventies at age 6 with an unrefined palate for the likes of the musical "genius" that emerged from that decade. As a result, I'm constantly being told how young & naive I am when it comes to music. "It's as if you were born in 1980..." he'll say. Well I might as well have been.
It's true, I am a child of the 80's--the greatest decade ever. Seriously, who doesn't wax nostalgic about the decade that brought so many great cultural icons to the fore. That period of time launched the meteoric careers of Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, U2 and my all time favorite, Depeche Mode.
And Depeche Mode, dear reader, has been one constant and necessary thing in my life since riding the bus to school and hearing "Strangelove" on the radio in 1988 for the first time. Those were the days.
"You started off funny then you got all righteous toward the end."
"Oh you mean kinda like you?"
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Also if you would like to know how clever the Ninja are in general, go to www.askaninja.com.
Episodes you must see first:
Ask a Ninja: "Ninja Omnibus"
Ask a Ninja: "Pirates of the Caribbean"
Ask a Ninja: "Ninja Colds"
(Many thanks to Keith for the enlightenment.)
Saturday, December 02, 2006
For a PDF reader, go here.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
and from birth through age 23, your family's social calendar revolved around this,
and on your first day at college, your father personally introduced you to the WSU President, the Vice-Provost and Alumni Center Director so that if you screwed up he would know,
and that despite living in Seattle for 10 years, every time you see Husky Stadium you can't help but sneer.
Welcome to my Cougar-ific world.
Here's more on the Apple Cup...
Every Coug knows how bad it feels to lose a game that should be yours, especially to the Huskies, because it happens a lot. As a result, somebody came up with the term "to Coug it." (And, there is even a Wikipedia entry for it HERE.) The key concept: 'snatching defeat from the almost certain clutches of victory.' You'll know it when you see it. It begins innocently enough as a pin-prick of doubt, a tiny seed of insecurity that soon takes over and the team begins to fall apart. As the team misfires and the Huskies capitalize on mistakes, the mood of the crowd turns from elation & surety to unmistakable dread. The longest moments of your life can be spent watching the second half of the Apple Cup.
To find out more about why it's come to this, here's a little something about the Huskies. Their campus is unparallelled in showcasing the beauty of the region with views of mountains and waterways, anchored by a majestic fountain and dotted with nostalgic ivy-covered brick buildings. The metropolitan nature of Seattle attracts students looking for cultural offerings and a chance to experience the big city while in the safety of student life. With all the distractions, the students don't really have to interact with each other unless they are Greek (frat/soro). The alumni are usual wealthy and those who stay in Seattle go on to be tech-savvy nerd geniuses or golf-shirt-wearing sales people.
Pullman on the other hand boasts acres of wheat fields and a handful of mediocre restaurants. The nightlife completely revolves around the students, reaching the heights of sophistication with a keg of beer, a 5-disk CD changer and bowl of Doritos. The students don't let their renown music program marked by the Lionel Hampton Jazz Fest, their usually ranked women's sports teams & a to-die-for recreation center distract them. They have a lot of time on their hands and there's nothing like boredom and a desire for mischief to bring people together. But after they leave, WSU alumni top the list for percentage of contributing alumni for a public university (nationally).
But no question about it, the Apple Cup is about inferiority. It is an exercise in the mental gymnastics of worthiness. No matter how well the Cougs have done in the season leading up to this game, there is a gut-wrenching, fingernail-biting anguish surrounding this 3-hour bookend of potential glory. It is an event to replay and stew over for 8 months until the next football season starts. Not surprisingly, many WSU players say that this game means more to them than a bowl berth because of the legacy of redemption and the pride at stake.
Cougs may be inconsistent in their football but they are loyal in their being. Take a close look at a Coug and you'll see a gleam in their eye hoping that next year could be the year to teach those Huskies a lesson. We just have to believe we deserve it.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
I was so nervous last night. Both Ken and I had our laptops up on CNN, refreshing the pages on the national and local races every few minutes as NPR live coverage blared over the living room speakers. I felt so invested in this election that I have a holdover migrane today from the suspense of it all. Aye.
As the results poured in last night, the numbers got better. And I felt a great sense of …relief. Relief that I am not crazy. When GW first got elected, I was annoyed but I thought, “How much harm can he do? He’s got Colin Powell and other smart people around him. They won’t let him mess up too much.” And as we all know, lots of shit went down. So when it came time for re-election, I thought, well now we can throw this bum out. But to my surprise, more people than not wanted to give him a second term.
For the first time in my life, I began to feel like I didn’t know my own country. Who were these brain-washed people portrayed in the media as Middle American, church-going, Walmart-shopping, mini-van driving, average citizens who believed this guy and his party were the ticket to run the most powerful nation in the world? I began to feel like a misfit and, you know, edging toward a Brad-Pitt-12-Monkeys brand of crazy. Meanwhile, the country was swinging toward intolerance, conservatism and fear-mongering. You know how sometimes you joke about moving to Canada? Well we actually started to talk about it. “Vancouver BC isn’t that far away,” I’d say.
I would lament how my great-grandparents immigrated to this country to give their families a better life. And how ironic that after all their sacrifice, I would now consider giving it all up. But today, I felt like this horrible nightmare that has been the Bush Administration & Republican Crusade for Absolute Power is over. It’s like everyone woke up from their apathy naps and decided to reclaim the country. I am proud of this country again.
You have to watch these politicians. They’re a different breed of person. Ken’s brother, Ed, who is a Republican (but we love him anyway) said the other night, “We may disagree politically, but I think we do agree that these races have gotten dirty and no one is untarnished.” It’s true, what kind of sane, smart person would submit themselves (and their families) to the level of scrutiny in the public eye? The reason can only be either: (1) someone who is dying to serve their country or (2) someone who is dying to get their hands on power and influence. The latter will always play a part because we are human. But it’s the former that gives me a little hope to hang on and see what’s next for America.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
I think it starts with the satisfaction that comes when people at the gas station ask what our miles per gallon are and I cheerfully reply "45 to 50." Or the affirmation of knowing that our contribution to carbon emissions (and therefore global warming) is less than regular cars. Or "sticking it" to Big Oil and the American car companies by choosing to put our money where our beliefs are. But most importantly, it proves that we are "champions of the environment."
But something has begun to bother me. I can't push away the inner voice that says: Is that all you can do? I now realize the glaring hypocrisy of considering myself an "environmentalist" strictly by what I drive. What about the rest of my life, not spent in the car? In our household, we don't compost or reuse ziplock sandwich bags. We throw lots of plastic things away and generate a full can of garbage every week. We leave lights on in rooms we aren't in and have an oil-burning furnace for heat. Within this year, we've taken enough airline flights to nullify the good we do by driving the Prius. (Figured HERE.)
For me, hybrid smugness has given way to considering my impact on the world. And it's something I can either live with or start to change. Driving a hybrid is a good step in dealing with the environmental problems of this planet but should not be considered the final one.
(Congrats to Dad for joining the hybrid nation. Welcome to the Smug Club.)
(UPDATE: And of course hats off to Duke who has owned a hybrid since 2001 and had "Insight" long before the rest of us to be kind to the Earth.)
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Thursday, November 02, 2006
There are certain moments in my life that kept ahold of me to the point where I didn't want to move on for awhile. I needed to make sure I didn't miss anything and had felt all the feelings before letting the moment slip too far into the past. Naturally, I felt this way about our wedding. I succumbed to a "postpartum depression" of sorts after eight solid months of planning and focus. For all that time, effort, attention, worry, cost, stress and expectation, five hours goes by much too fast. What helped me move on was to look at the pictures, watch the video, talk incessantly about it and get some media coverage.
Similar feelings have emerged around the Cable 8 Reunion. A moment so truly special, it surely will never happen again with the same people and the same youth-recapturing abandon. I just need a little more time to savor it. I've sorted and uploaded the pictures, written about the event in the blog, told friends and family all about it and of course, obtained some media coverage.
Alaska Airlines is celebrating it's 75th anniversary by inviting customers to share warm and fuzzy stories about experiences on Alaska/Horizon. Behold the shamelessness!
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Sunday, October 29, 2006
(1) Keith Olbermann on Habeas Corpus (a.k.a. determining whether or not a person is imprisoned lawfully and whether they should be released from custody). Why does this matter to me as a law abiding and legal citizen of this country? Listen for a mention about Japanese-Americans. That didn't just happen to "other" people.
(2) A new approach to episodic entertainment: the internet soap opera "Sam Has 7 Friends." Written and directed by four gentlemen from LA, two of them Cougs (Chris Hampel & Doug Cheney). Produced by Mr. Marcus and crewed by many other talented and fabulous WSU alumni.
Check out: www.samhas7friends.com
(3) Dove's short film "Evolution of a Model" --an eye opening look how beauty is made. (Thanks to Anne for sending this).
(4) My favorite South Park character, even though I'm lactose intolerant.
(5) Robot Chicken shows what really happened after the Death Star blew up...
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Many girlfriends say to me when wearing leg contorting, stride altering foot fashion, "...but these are really comfortable." Yeah, well I don't believe you. I know you want to think they are. But you never thought you'd actually pay that much for an impared ability to walk and pain like that. It's not hard to guess why models look so angst-ridden. Besides not eating, they have to walk around in uncomfortable shoes all day while everyone's looking at them.
But let's get one thing straight, I am not a proponent of Birkenstocks or Crocs. My mother staged a psyche-scarring event one Christmas when she placed a gift of mine in a Birkenstocks box but weighted it like there were Birks in there and wrapped it. (Mother, I will exact my revenge one day, mark my words.) What's my beef? Birks are hideous and Crocs can be washed in the dishwasher. Which brings up issues of sanitation. But that's another topic...
Back at Nordstrom, there were so many people trying on shoes last Saturday, you had to weave through the boxes and the bodies with ace precision for fear of bumping into someone strutting around in 4 inch heels. Did you know that Jessica Simpson has her own ...how do I say... "ghetto fabulous" line of shoes? Definitely a sign of the coming apocalypse. This day also marks the first time I got to inspect Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo shoes for myself. I'm sorry ladies, I know I sound like a traitor to all of woman-kind but what's the big deal? Six hundred dollars for a pair of strappy festive heels?
It's all about priorities I guess.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Monday, October 16, 2006
Though we stayed in heated cabins, we did have to go outside to cook and use the centralized shower/bathroom. Without a doubt, Dan & Jill took very good care of us. There seems to be a camping equivalent to everything you can find in the kitchen: a free-standing propane stove with griddle, a rack to prop bread over the propane burner aka "a toaster," headlamps, coolers, pans and so forth.
Dan introduced us to a cookie with embedded dark chocolate so that when making smores we didn't have to precariously balance, squeeze and break them. Brilliant! Now, washing dishes in the wilderness is not that easy either--especially sanitization. How do you accomplish this when you're scrubbing pans, rinsing from a cold water spigot and setting them on the dirty, dirty ground? Jill came up with a excellent solution: once they were washed at the cold tap, she filled a plastic tub with boiled water then soaked them. It's like a Japanese-style bath for the dishes. That Dan & Jill--such resourceful people.
Another cool thing to do in nature is make music as Dan and Ken discovered when they assembled a driftwood marimba shown here:
It made an unexpectedly rich sound and the guys jammed for a long time on it, leaving Ken with two well-earned blisters. But the fact they made something out of stuff lying around made me think about people from a much earlier time...
How did the Native Americans survive back then without things like plastic tubs, baggies, tupperware and water bottles? Things I take for granted like food preparation, going to the bathroom, saying warm and finding shelter were all basic survival concerns for them. It caused me to reflect throughout the weekend and ask myself when feeling inept, "What would the Native Americans Do?"
My answer: I'm really not sure, but in the grand scope of things, it's got to amount to more than just tribal casinos & firework stands.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
1. watching Cougar Football,
6. and of course, hanging out with some of the coolest people on the planet.
F.A.Q. What is Cable 8? A student run cable network at Washington State University that produces programming and is structured like a real-world cable broadcast station. Students volunteer to direct, produce, crew and cast shows ranging from entertainment, sports, news magazine, long-form, soap opera, reality-based, etc. The productions are overseen by an advisor (currently Marvin Marcelo, originally Neal Robison) and a student elected board of directors.
When I attended WSU, I was a show director for Coug Stew & the ASWSU Debates my junior year and the Executive VP of the board my senior year.
Why is it significant? In a nutshell: Hands on training for real world TV production and friends for life.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
When we traveled to the East Coast last June and rented a car, I was immediately flipping through the dial to find the NPR-esque "directed tone of voice." Is it the rich, throaty microphones that make them sounds so smart?
I remember being exposed to NPR in my 20's since I worked for the Public TV station KWSU which was right next to NW Public Radio in Pullman. But it didn't matter to me then. No, at that time, I would be happy sitting though 5 minutes of annoying commercials to hear Pearl Jam with static. As you mature, tastes change but maturity doesn't stop me from making lists.
Favorite show: This American Life
Favorite NPR personality: Kai Ryssdal of Marketplace & Ira Glass of This American Life
Favorite KUOW personalities: John Moe & Ruby de Luna
To be fair and balanced:
Least favorite show: Prairie Home Companion (Broadcasted from Pullman last week)
Least favorite NPR personality: Diane Rehm of Diane Rehm Show
Least favorite KUOW personality: Steve Scher of Weekday
Who doesn't love Kai & Ira? Or Ika & Rai. But Prairie Home Companion---what is going on in that show? Ken and Mom seem to like it but....why?
If you are also NPR fans, you know what time of year it is. Time to pay the fiddler. Time to groan with disdain as the usually articulate on-air personalities ad-lib and crack jokes for 20 minutes an hour so you will PLEDGE some money. When you are an addict of the sweet NPR goodness, the interruption of the content is excrutiating.
I've been on the other side of this when I worked at KWSU along with Karen, Ian, Marvin & Mantooth. I understand that half the operating budget comes from the pledge drive but oh, the humanity. Of course, Ken & I will pledge some money like we always do. But the other night I was telling Ken, "If we had a load of money, I would call up those clowns on the first day and say 'how much would it take for you to shut up and resume normal programming?' Because I would write them a check and drive it over myself. Seriously."
On another note, we are leaving for Pullman tomorrow to attend the Cable 8 Reunion. Looking forward to seeing all the Comm Cougs!
There was a time in my life (early 20's) when I had to go through experiences myself to realize anything. Cautionary tales were never enough, because invariably I thought I could succeed where others failed. More often than not though, this involved "relationships" and tell-tale actions/words that predicted impending doom. The scraped knees and ego bruises were always necessary to made it real. As I crossed over into the self-affirming, relieved-to-escape-the-twenties 30's, I now find I'm all about gathering information of other people's experiences and chewing on them like a wad of Bubblicious. I'm all, "tell me everything, I want to know every single thing and everything about it...." I have learned from my avid reading of Dooce.com that you never, ever write about your workplace or your co-workers on your blog. It can get you fired. So I'm not gonna do that.
But how about another workplace in the news, namely Big Fish Games and today's layoff drama unfolding in the comment section of this Seattle PI blog. Do yourself a favor and read all of those comments. I have been hitting refresh on that page all day--it's incredulously fascinating. Evidently, there is a great disparity between the management's official explanation of what went down & the comments coming in from (supposed) former employees. If the uglier side of this is true (people being let go days before their stock options vest, employees being falsely assured their jobs were safe, no warning about the impending layoff), it certainly doesn't speak well for BFG or employee rights in general.
Update: From feedback I've been receiving about this entry, it seems that I may have insinuated that I work for Big Fish. I have never been affiliated with them but wanted you to know that no matter what, I will not be talking about my work on this blog.