Monday, December 31, 2007

Greetings New Salem, North Dakota



Denise's Aunt Chris made this girl's dream come true by representing the last remaining state in the nation to check in here at the Evidently... blog.
Chris says that the town she's from (New Salem) is famous for Salem Sue, the world's largest cow. Words cannot describe my excitement when I discovered that not only did we complete national domination by 2007 but that we now know where the largest cow in the world is located. How fun!



Thank you Jungbluths and thank you Chris!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Best Gift for a Cat (ever)

I heard about an irresistable must-have for cat owners on This American Life (Episode #154 which re-aired in late October). Video Catnip is "the world's best selling home video for cats" showing various shots of birds and squirrels with outdoor, ambient sound. I immediately thought our little fuzz ball must have his very own DVD copy for Christmas. At first, I thought I struck out because he wouldn't even look at the TV. I even stood up by the TV screen thinking maybe he'd look in my general direction and notice the nice juicy birds and squirrels, but no dice. I eventually gave up and trudged upstairs and left the DVD running. But after leaving him alone for 30 minutes, something changed. He seemed mesmerized by the images flickering across the screen. This is how we found him: Does this mean we now have to share the remote? Or just expect fierce competition for our evening TV programming?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Pics of Christmas Eve

Update on National Domination

Where you at North Dakota? Even though this screenshot was taken on December 19th, the story remains the same: every state in our great nation has checked in here at "Evidently..." except North Dakota. (Sigh) We've got 2 more days left in 2007. Come on ND, make this girl's dream come true.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Belated Christmas Y'all!

We've been down in Van/Port visiting family and friends since Saturday. Lovely Eve and Xmas dinners with mom's side of the family. Santa was good to me this year and more importantly, he made a surprise visit to Mom's Christmas Eve gathering. He brought presents specifically for Mom's friends' 6-year-old daughter who eyed Santa (my uncle Randy incognito) very suspiciously. But I think the art set and ornament softened her a bit. It's surprising how fun that is to propagate the myth of Santa. I've ruminated on if that is a cruel thing to do to a child but it sure is magical right up to the point when you figure it out or are told by some asshole kid on the playground.

I will remain here until Saturday but Ken needed to get back to Seattle to return to work. So I dropped him off at the Vancouver Amtrak Depot at 6pm this evening. I just got off the phone with him around 11pm to find out that he was still in-fact in Vancouver. Due to mechanical issues and other problems, they did not have a viable train until just moments ago. So instead of getting into Seattle at around 9:45pm as predicted, he'll get in sometime closer to 3am. I believe Mr. Ken will be writing a letter...

Sorry no pics, I neglected to pack a USB cable.
Thanks to Mother for letting me use her computer for this entry.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Coug BB Romp

Last night we enjoyed a non-conference ("exhibition") game showcasing the green and flat-footed Citadel team against our favorite, undefeated, #6-in-the-nation Cougs. Annihilation ensued. It was a GREAT night full of laughter and stories with old friends. I learned where Brett "Jo-Jo" Jungbluth got his nickname (from a pencil eraser) and that Hampel thus dubbed himself "Hasselhoffigon" over 10 years ago in a mythology class. (Even now, I am still learning something about these crazy guys.) And Jenny was the first person to introduce me to Phad Thai and here we were eating it together 13 years later. Ah the memories. Sam's brother, sister-in-law & baby nephew, Kavi, were able to join us from Balimore and Kavi seemed to enjoy himself after he got settled. A fabulous night all around. I think this will become one of our yearly traditions.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dave was here.

So this is Dave. He's an old friend of Ken's who paid us a visit for the last week here in cold, rainy Seattle. It was extra cold and extra rainy. Or so Dave thought. Over the course of the week, we had occasion to eat at Cedar's the best Indian restaurant in Seattle, sing karaoke in the basement, become "Pho Buddies," witness a pants-less Santa strolling down Market Street, eat at La Isla the best Puerto Rican restaurant in Seattle, derive "more hit-o" from mojito and rock out on X-Box's Rock Band at Ken's co-worker's house. And Ken and I managed to work too.
Oliver and Dave co-habitated our basement that whole time and grew quite fond of each other. So much so that Oliver has been despondently wandering the house as if to say, "Oh great, I have to deal with you people again? Bring back the funny guy."

Le sigh.

Bird Convention

Ken captured this bizarre phenomenon today: all the birds in the Seattle Metro area congregated on our front lawn. Why? Because it's Sunday and even birds need a day of rest.

Holiday Party Friday

Us'uns in fancy dress for the Google Holiday Party last Friday. Excellent party with great food, a roving magician (who impressed Ken--a hobbyist illusionist himself) and an ice sculpture (which are always impressive.) They had faux gambling too and I was up over a cool million on the craps table. Then I bet $750,000 on 11 in roulette. Lost it all and didn't bat an eye. To think some people do that for real...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wicked Whirlwind Weekend

Over the weekend, Ken and I battled various forms of sickness. I recovered from a head cold which slowly released its firm grip on my poor sinuses, while Ken jousted with feeling "on the verge" of being sick. But despite this, we kept our full social schedule and interacted with lots of children--because we're reckless like that. First up, Friday night...tired of looking at our sad, naked Christmas Tree, we pulled all the decorations out of the boxes and gave it a proper dressing. Here we are fussing with lighting options because the nuclear flash was much too harsh. Saturday, Dad came up on the train for a mere 5 hours to attend a demonstration/talk by our family friend and master wood worker Joel Shepard. We then showed him what heaven looks like and took him to Whole Foods in Bellevue. Then to kill more time we went to Uwajimaya over by the train station. It was Grocery Store Tour '07. (Why the hell not?) Then we got to meet Princess Hannah Vaslow (age 7 weeks). What a lovely little bean she is. And her parents are so happy and knowledgeable, despite being a little sleep deprived. Sunday, we celebrated Brendan Rich's 2nd birthday and oddly enough, I didn't digitally capture any of the hilarious tissue paper throwing, old-man dancing or other crazy hijinks that a room full of 2-year-olds can muster. By the time we left, I needed a nap but I did better than that and got a Mayan abdominal massage. It was much needed and much awesome. When I returned home, I made (gasp!) organic meatless chili from scratch since we are looking to put more bean protein in our diets. The whole house smelled like chili powder, fried onions and cooked tomatoes. Not a bad thing unless you're trying to fast for a cholesterol blood draw and can't eat anything starting at 8 pm until after 9 am the next day...but I survived. If you're wondering, the chili turned out well--so said Ken and his friend Dave of Salisbury, Maryland who is visiting us for a week during (the US leg of) his "Self-Introspection" tour. No rest for the wicked.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Dane Cook, a week later



(Photos by Juliana S.)

Back on Thursday November 29th, Ken and I went to see Dane Cook. The couple sitting next to us took some amazing pictures and forwarded them to me yesterday. Being so close (7th row)was just a thrill--we could see the whites of his eyes and his spittle as he enunciated or made sound effects. In concert, he is a constantly moving ball of frenetic energy. He did new material and some classics. I was so hoping for the "BK Lounge/Drive Thru" bit but no dice. He was great and I swore he looked right at us a few times.

I admit before the show started, I was a little nervous for 5 reasons:
1. The crowd was almost all early-20-somethings & college kids
2. I realized I am 10 years older than most college kids
3. I realized I cannot hang with college kids. I find them ridiculous.
4. Someone didn't plan their buzz very well and vomited in the next row before the show started. Smelled great.
5. The whole thing started an hour late because only half the arena showed up at time on the ticket (but at least there was no lame opener to sit through.)

But once Dane took the stage, everything was fine. The magic of Dane Cook brings people together. Oh, except for the psycho guy who jumped on stage during the performance and wanted to "trade shirts" with Dane. I'm like, 'where the hell is security?' Most of them just stood around not doing anything. Dane finally got this guy to the edge of the stage and then they realized they should do their job and hauled him out. What a night.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Wishes of Snow in Seattle

For those of you who wished for snow, stop your madness right now. I mean it.

Nobody in this town can drive or remain calm while there's snow on the ground. People tend to think of snow so idyllically and get all romantic, "...it's just not Christmas without snow..." but let's break it down here for a second: During the month of December, more than any other time, you gotta be places. The Mall, parties, relative's house(s), Christmas tree lot, Starbucks, the therapist...wherever. Snow makes traffic 20x worse even if you can drive in it. And let's be honest, the novelty of snow lasts about 1 hour and then it's just annoying.

But there's nothing we can do about it, right? You may think it just falls randomly from the sky, but I think you wishers have something to do with it. This cold front mysteriously came out of nowhere. So if you have to wish for something cold & wet, why not think "ice cream." With a Lactaid or two, even I can get on board with that.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas already? Can I get an extension?

This may come as no surprise to some of you but it doesn't look like we'll be doing Christmas cards this year. I know, I know, you're crying into your pillow and cursing the universe. But really, why would you need a holiday newsletter summing up our year on one 8 x 11 page when you can just read the blog? Not the same?

Sorry friends and family. Nothing personal.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Apple Cup #100, Yah Cougs!

I'm rather sorry that we weren't in Seattle to celebrate this most excellent triumph of Washington State. Dad watched it on TV down in Vancouver and said it was a nailbiter to the end. Despite the losing record, it's always a good year when the Apple Cup swings our way. I noticed the Seattle press is hammering the Huskies specifically for this loss but I can't help but feel that they are extra hard on them because to them losing to the Cougars is worse than death. Maybe that's just my biased impression.
Anyway, Congratulations to the WSU Team and Alex Brink. I think I read somewhere that he is the best quarterback they've ever had who never went to a bowl. It isn't looking too good for Coach Doba. Evidently because there has been a bowl-shortage under his watch, the fans have been asking for his dismissal. Too bad he has a few more years to go on his contract that would cost a few million to buy out. How complicated these things get.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

More Thanksgiving Pictures

My pictures from Thanksgiving in Onancock, VA.

Thanksgiving -- East Coast Style

I have to tell you, this Thanksgiving was like no other I've ever experienced. First of all, it was 70 degrees here in Virginia which is at or near record breaking temps for this time of year. "Delightful" is all I can say because we all ate outside at one long table.

Second, Ken's folks hosted 31 people here at their Onancock home. Joyce, Ken's mom, deserves a great deal of credit for organizing and cooking a beautiful bird & ham for that many. Smartly, she made the event a potluck so everyone chipped in. The granddaughers did a stellar job at clean-up and Duke shucked pre-meal oysters/clams like a pro. I tried to help where I could, wiping out wine glasses and washing a second wave of dishes (sorry Mom, no pics of that). But when the gibblets were done & needed dicing for the gravy, I had to bolt. Dude, that's turkey organs. I'm not touching that.

A lot of the grandkids had boyfriends/girlfriends and one of the daughter-in-laws brought her mother so it was quite a group--festive and chaotic (the good kind).

(Click Picture for enlarged view.)

Third, Ken was designated to say grace. We decided to do a version that was completely audible and has a little more production value. All I can say is, he knocked it out of the park surprising all of us with this little diddy. And great support by cousin Thomas aka "THX Practical".

Click here for lyrics.

Here's a very short but audio fluctuating clip of Ken's actual T-Giving performance:

Happy Thanksgiving from the Eastern Shore of Virginia!

All photos by Kelly Shannahan.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Holiday Traveling -- as you might expect

Ken and I traveled across the country to Virginia this Thanksgiving to spend it with the fine people of the Moore-Richardson-Shannahan clans. But I dreaded traveling for Thanksgiving because air travel is already so much fun during the rest of the year. The terminal in which we landed at Dulles was exactly how I imagined traveling at this time of year: loud, hectic and lots of bodies but our flights were all on time. Typically we fly on Alaska Airlines but this time we took United, an airline that evidently doesn't settle for 2 hour delays. We even boarded early on our connection out of DC to Norfolk. (I guess this is how the grown-up airlines do it.)

But on our initial leg from Seattle to DC, we sat in steerage (economy) and wedged ourselves into spaces that even a petite person would find small and just our luck, we ended up next to a plump mother with a 2-year-old child sitting on her lap. You should also know, she didn't bring one toy or book to occupy him with so he did was came naturally and threw the safety card around, grabbed for Ken's laptop, slammed the tray table closed repeatedly and when unhappy screamed at the top of his lungs. Thankfully, he slept for an hour or so and good that he did because I was in the middle seat next to them and having a really hard time keeping my cool. Of course she was saving herself at least $600 by having him on her lap. Those airlines--they get you. Ken and I talked about it and decided that coming out for Christmas allows more leeway and not everyone is flying the very same days to and from. I think that is what we will do going forward. Not that this Thanksgiving wasn't awesome. But more on that later.

Another thing about our flight I had a hard time with was the in-flight entertainment they showed. The first movie was called "Hot Rod" with the SNL Dick in a Box guy. Without sound, it looked stupid so I can only imagine. But it was appropriate for a Thankgiving crowd which included lots of kids. But the next movie was called "Shooter" with Mark Walberg. As you can imagine from the title, it contained lots and lots of gun violence. It was about a sniper in the military who gets strong-armed by government agents to assassinate a high powered official. I derived this without sound as well. I don't understand how United would have made such choice during flights with lots of children on them. Why couldn't have played "Ratatouille" or "Princess Bride" or anything remotely family oriented? I know, I sound old and cranky. But really, as a captive and uncomfortably seated audience, couldn't you at least play something for us that was uplifting?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Looking at Heathcare Options

Well it appears that the warming socks helped soothe, but not yet cure, my ear ache. I am anxious for this to subside and worried that flying could make it worse. According to some quick research on the Internets, if you have an ear ache for longer than 24 hours, you need to be seen as it could be a bad infection. So I have a short list of providers if I need to make a call tomorrow. While I was researching this, I stumbled across the revelation of not putting anything in your ears: like fingers, cotton swabs or paperclips. Paperclips? Now who does that?

Lately I've been doing my part at keeping our health care system alive and well. My new thing is a more natural approach to treatment and along with the naturopath, I have been doing acupuncture, abdominal massage and getting chiropractic sessions.

Contrary to the popular opinion that chiropractic treatment is all cracking and quackery, I have found a fantastic provider who has an amazing and gentle approach. From what she explained, chiropractic was based on facilitating body systems to heal themselves by removing "obstacles" which manifest as tension in the body. While it's generally thought that chiropractors focus on the back & spine, my gal says it's the nervous system with which she works on, freeing up tension with acupressure-like treatment. Serendipitously, both my naturopath and my friend, Tracy, recommended this same doctor.

Abdominal massage is a trip and if you have any issues with digestion, I recommend it. While not usually very common to get your abdomen massaged, when you do focus on it--wow. Obviously we have a sheath of muscles along our abdomen (but some of us no longer have a 6-pack) and under it are a bunch of organs. Like the East Coast states, I have a general idea of where my abdominal organs are but I wouldn't really be able to pinpoint their exact locations. My understanding is that abdominal is a massage specialty involving more training and expertise because of all the anatomy and organ work involved.
At one point last week, the masseuse was pressing down and it was tender.
So I asked her, "What is that?"
She said, "Your next bowel movement."
Fantastic! See how much you would learn about yourself? And it goes from there. A lot of tension and emotion is stored in our abdomens and of course our reproductive systems are down there too so there is a lot of benefit to give some attention to that area of the body, especially if you're a tense little monkey like me.

I have high hopes for these treatments and am starting to feel some benefits already. I would encourage anyone who is wanting a level of medical care that takes into account the body's own healing ability and connectedness with the cause/effects of stress to look into these types of treatments. If for nothing else, it's good to know you have options.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

November never liked me

Please excuse the long hiatus.

Ever since we got back from California, there have been lots of things to do and attend to here. The sprint from Halloween to Thanksgiving is usually uneventful aside from the horrifying reminder in any store or public place that Christmas is coming. Aye, Christmas and it's commercialism. I've been doing shopping online and that makes me happy to know that I've avoided the throngs of insane shoppers and the aimless hunt for a parking space that can zap your will to live.

But November is always 'blah' for me. I associate bad things with November probably because the weather really switches over to rainy & windy (gives the song November Rain a little more meaning) and back in high school I got cheated on twice by my boyfriend in 2 successive Novembers. So November is not my favorite.

But two special ladies celebrate their birthdays this month, Sue & Karen--so I guess it's not all bad.

In other news, I've been seeing a naturopath these last few months and under the homeopathy regimen she has me on, I seriously could feel my immune system and digestive system working better. Normally, I'm a sickly little creature, always prone to catching things but up until a few days ago, I've felt great. But all good things do come to an end because I fell prey to some bug that has manifested itself as an earache with a slight sore throat. No mucus though (knock on wood).

This has me a tad panicked because we leave for Virginia (via plane) Wednesday and anyone who has flown with with compromised immunity knows that things can get very, very bad when you are pressurized and breathing recycled air of others who are in varied states of sickness and health. So aside from all the normal things one does to stave off an illness, I am doing something my ND calls "Warming Socks Treatment." (I guess it might be called different things by different NDs.) Anyway the gist of it is: soak your feet in hot water then put on wet cold cotton socks then put on dry wool socks then wrap yourself (& feet) in a blanket or get into bed. I am sitting at the computer wrapped like a mummy in some blankets. I probably should have waited until I was ready to go to bed and do this but I was excited to try it. What it's supposed to do is draw the body's energy in warming the feet and thus increasing circulation to the body and away from the head/sinus which is what inspires congestion/mucus. I'm not eager to load myself up with crazy drugs and stuff so I'm giving this naturopathic thing a try. Yes, my feet feel weird.

Hey, just in the time I've been writing this entry my ear ache has lessened. Amazing. No joke.

I'll pick this up tomorrow and tell you more exciting stories about my foray into alternative medicine.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monterey Bay Aquarium Makes my Sharky Dreams Come True

Remember me mentioning my deep and abiding interest in sharks? Last Saturday whilst still in the Bay area, we went to the one place (I know of) that has successfully kept Great Whites in captivity (for a short amounts of time) and wouldn't you know it, they just happened to have one right now... The Monterey Bay Aquarium, also known for appearing in Star Trek IV, is one of the premiere aquariums in the country, nay, the world. I have heard about this place for some time now and have very much wanted to visit it. In fact, Monterey was supposed to be our honeymoon destination until I realized we should go to Mexico and just relax. But now all is good in the universe: I have seen a Great White Shark with my own eyes. Here is my picture of him. I spent a very long time snapping pictures but this was as good as it got. He likes to cruise up near the surface of the tank, waiting for tasty salmon fillets:

Here's the professional picture of him that you can download off their website:

The website for the Great White Shark is fantastic to get some facts about him. He was accidentally snagged by a fishing line but still in good shape. They are rehabilitating and studying him in the meantime and intend to release him soon. They grow to be quite large and eat a lot so they don't really want to keep him indefinitely.

Their entire facility is perfect for gazing at the fishes and learning all about sea life. They also had otters, frogs, snakes and other animals whose daily existence depends on the watery world. Instrumental ambient music plays over the sound system as you gaze into the tanks. It's not only wondrous but relaxing at the same time. And they have the cleanest aquarium windows I've ever seen---the pics really look clear because of that. But I just don't understand why some people insist on taking flash photos against glass into a darkened aquarium. Luckily this Canon Power Shot SD800IS has an aquarium setting that slows the shutter down and changes the color balance a little. Some of the photos have been given some Photoshop help to remove odd reflections or to bring in a wee bit of color but, for the most part, the camera did a good job.

Where we've been all week: the Bay Area

Ken & I just got back Sunday night and boy am I glad to be back in my own house and own bed with my own pillows. Is intolerance of other sleeping situations a sign of getting old? On Tuesday night while still in San Francisco, I met with my dear friend Josh to have Burmese food. He is another standout American I met when schooling in London in 1994. Josh was extremely patient as I misjudged how long it would take me to get from Union Square to the Richmond District. Being that the cab lines were quite long, I struck out on foot to find a less crowded area to hail my own taxi. Well as I traversed Market Street, I spotted a bus going in the general direction I was heading and, being the fearless ninja that I am, hopped aboard. I started to get a little unsettled as we started making turns and were clearly in the Tenderloin District area. Winos and homeless people started to get on and I clearly was in over my head on this one. At a stop where I could see a fairly busy street in the distance, I got off and RAN several blocks to it, hellbent on getting the very next available taxi. Thankfully this gamble paid off and I was only 30 minutes late for dinner. (Sorry again, Josh) But I'm so glad he hung in there. We had a great dinner with fabulous conversation. Josh now has his own company called Language in Common that helps other companies with design, strategy, branding and all sorts of other creative tasks. Josh and his partner Axel wrote a few manifestos that approach how companies can change their thinking about creativity for the better. One that truly resonated with me is called "How to be a Better Lover" described as "a definitive sex manual for good business." A snippet from the Talk Dirty to Me section: "Imagine your in bed with your lover, who turns to you and says, "Baby, I'm gonna leverage our synergy tonight." Does that make you want to get it on? If you're like most of us, probably not. And there's the rub. Using cold language to woo warm bodies just doesn't work, but lots of companies use it anyway. They're stuck in the idea that it's better to be impressive then to be approachable, that big talk is better than pillow talk. These companies fail to see that they could get a lot more love by being a little more human." And really the whole thing is fun and funny but most of all true. What a great way to illustrate how businesses can connect with their customers. It's a great read I highly recommend it.

******

At the end of the week, I joined Ken who had already been down for a few days working in Mt. View and I got to see the Goog for myself. Let me just say---very impressive. Despite all the perks including the heated toilet seats + bidet and free food, it's really the vibe I found most enchanting. Within the hallways and offices you can feel the passion, intelligence and "well-meaningness" of it's devoted employees. I have never been in such a positive work environment. It is truly inspiring and stirs my own thoughts... Here are a few pics.

On campus posing with the T-Rex replica.

Heated toilet seats are heavenly. Note the control panel on the wall. Fabulous.

(This is the only indoor pic I took at the Goog.)

Vaslow, Party of 3--Week 1

While we were away, Princess Hannah Vaslow arrived. Today she is one week old. We are so excited for Dan & Jill and can't wait to meet Ms. Hannah this weekend.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

My friend Brad on Grey's Anatomy

On my most favorite show, Grey's Anatomy, in the 3rd season, I completely missed a brief but significant cameo by my old friend Brad Sachs. I saw this episode when it aired and was watching intently with baited breath, wondering what was wrong with George's father. But who would have ever thought the sonogram tech could possibly be Brad Sachs? But it was... I met Brad in 1994 while going to school in London. He was over for a quarter from New Jersey to get some English culture and to go on drunken rampages with us. Here's one of them in a downtown London pub (I think I'm about 20 years old in this picture). In wilder days...Brad, John, Josh, Anne, Me, Dave.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pumkin Carving Frenzy!

To get us in the spirit of Halloween, Ken and I had the chance, nay--the honor, to carve pumpkins with the amazing Sean & Shannon. They had books with lots of good ideas and special tools (including a drill) so we stepped it up a notch to make these masterpieces. Behold Shannon's amazing work at pumpkin bas-relief. Great subject matter, I might add.

Ken excelled at unique perspective and delightfully capturing a mood. Sean and I opted for the smaller canvases and kept it simpler. Lots of personality for Sean.

And mine, keeping it predictable with shark-art.

A great afternoon/evening with lots of laughs and creativity. Scary!

More pictures HERE.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Children of the Corn

Today we journeyed to the far corners of Redmond with friends Sarah, Mika, Wilson and Briahna to meander through a corn maze and fondle pumpkins. It was the most delightful day, perfect for weaving through the stocks of corn and for finding the best decorative pumpkins/gourds possible. What a blast.
At dinner, we discussed the supposed prehensile merits of Sperm Whales, Gas Works Park, my improved esteem for a certain KUOW personality, rules for Sci-Fi convention attendees and musical greats such as David Bowie, Flight of the Conchords & early Genesis.

Here are pics of the fun.



Next weekend: More fall fun in the form of carving pumpkins with the Testas. We are very much excited about the prospect of using sharp objects to make pumpkin sculpture masterpieces.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fame intoxication

Fame. Who doesn't want to be famous in some small way? That feeling famous people give "unfamous" people when the two worlds collide? It's fluttery and awesome and embarrassing and illogical. And intoxicating.
Ladies & Gentlemen, Ira Glass.

Picture from http://pictures.spacebar.org/

Ira is one of our favorites. Maybe because he's so humble or so untypical of a celebrity. From the one time we saw him "perform" in Seattle and listening to him on the radio, he seems charming, relate-able but quite frankly, just doing his job. Still, Ira does possess "magic fame sparkles" that made an entire Seattle audience earlier this year downright giddy in his presence. Like we were all on a first date or something.

So this last weekend when we went to Pullman, Ira spoke in Portland to promote his new book and Mom & Cindy went to the show. Afterwards they stood in line for 30 minutes to get Cindy's copy signed. Once they got up to him, he chatted with them a bit then Mother told him that Ken & I are big fans and wondered if he would sign something for us. And he did.

In Mother's exact words, he was "an absolutely charming, engaging man." He asked for the exact spellings of our names and was very precise about getting it right. He even commented about Mom's deep voice and asked her if she'd ever smoked. (Indeed she once did.) The important thing though was that he was cordial, engaging and patient with my mom and nice enough to sign something to two people who weren't even there. It delighted me to find out just how nice he was. So often famous people can disappoint you, because after all, they're just people too. But Ira, you're aces. Thanks for that.

******

Earlier this summer, I got the chance to meet and watch one of the best female pool players in the world, Jeanette Lee. If you play pool at all or watch it on ESPN2, you'll probably recognize her. She was at a party King.com hosted during the Casual Games Conference in Seattle. I was thrilled to meet this woman who not only played incredible pool but had written a comprehensive book on succeeding in pool and in life. Very beautiful, talented & gracious. And of course I was glad because sometimes celebs can be, um, not beautiful, talented and gracious.

The Black Widow shows us how it's done

I'm sure it's difficult to live up to the expectations of a public that always wants something from you. But I hope that as an audience, we're keeping up our end of the bargain by validating your work, discipline and sacrifice with appreciation and interest that is good-natured and not creepy.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Pullman Fatigue

The problem with a weekend like this, is that everything after it becomes shrug-worthy. Last weekend's jaunt to the wheat fields for Homecoming lacked that certain something. Seeing Kate, Ian, Dad, Austin, Marvin and other folks was great--don't get me wrong. But, I can understand why many of the alumni chose to stay home this year--for one thing the Cougs are definitely sucking. Here is what happy ASU fans look like: Here is what sad WSU fans look like: Ken looks more sad than me. Bless his heart, he really gets into the games and has become a full-fledged Cougar fan without ever having to experience the joy of a Pullman winter. He was frustrated toward the end of the game as losing became inevitable. That's why I don't like to watch the games, if I can help it. It's just too emotional. This time we stayed in Moscow, Idaho--which was a first for me. So we did a lot of driving back a forth. Pullman is a bit less cosmopolitan than Moscow, funny enough. But with that super glassy asphalt being installed for the Moscow-Pullman highway, I predict lots of speeding tickets. That new road is going to be fast. Maybe we will pick a different game weekend to go back on next year. Or perhaps we will sit it out entirely. But as long as Austin is in school there, I feel more of a draw to go back and make sure all is well in the Palouse.