Saturday, June 30, 2007

New to Me: Imogen Heap, Flight of the Conchords, The Pixies

I'll be the first to admit that music has never been something I'm on the cutting edge of. That usually means I "discover" artists long after they have attained a decent level of notoriety. However it does not diminish the joy of falling in love with "new" music--especially when it moves me.

Imogen Heap
Just yesterday, Ken's best friend Billy sent this video of Imogen Heap, a very talented musician from my favorite island nation, Great Britain. Just watch this clip of her vocalizing all her instrumentation and sampling herself in a live performance. Something about the combination of the song and the performance just moves me every time I watch it.





Flight of the Conchords
Tonight, Ken and I are going to a comedy performance and featured there will be the New Zealand comedy folk band, Flight of the Conchords. They currently have an HBO series and have been making appearances everywhere to promote it. This duo is so endearing and hilarious, I can't wait to see them live. Here are two of my favorite songs:

"Business Time"


Here the guys try to rap:



The Pixies
Known for inspiring Nirvana (the most influential band of the 90's), the Pixies rocked out in the mid-80's combining surfer rock sound and arresting lyrics. I had heard and loved "Wave of Mutilation" in the Pump up the Volume movie with Christian Slater but had no idea who was responsible for it. Then flash forward to 2003, I heard parts of their album Bossanova and loved the song Velouria by Pixies. I soon realized with a little Internet research that this was the same band. But to my chagrin, they had been broken up since 1993. Oddly enough they reunited in 2004 though I never did see them. Their music is solid, not over produced and a little odd which is probably why I like it. Here's the song that started it all Wave Of Mutilation by Pixies.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

On the way to the bus today...


Ever wonder what SPAM® thinks of the term "spam"?
Here's the answer (excerpt):

"Use of the term "spam" was adopted as a result of the Monty Python skit in which our SPAM meat product was featured. In this skit, a group of Vikings sang a chorus of "spam, spam, spam . . . " in an increasing crescendo, drowning out other conversation. Hence, the analogy applied because UCE (unsolicited commercial email), was drowning out normal discourse on the Internet.

We do not object to use of this slang term to describe UCE, although we do object to the use of the word "spam" as a trademark and to the use of our product image in association with that term. Also, if the term is to be used, it should be used in all lower-case letters to distinguish it from our trademark SPAM, which should be used with all uppercase letters."


http://spam.com/legal/spam/

Injure-Wii Report

Ever wonder how important decisions are made in our house?
(Click to enlarge)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Airlines are Definitely Sucking

The month of June has been unusually full of airline travel for the Moore-Sakai Household and likewise, it’s been unusually full of frustration. Everybody knows what a pain in the ass air travel is these days. If it’s not the abject humiliation of removing your shoes, displaying toiletries or being at the mercy of the TSA, you also have a good chance of being delayed due to mechanical issues or computer meltdowns or pilot problems.

Of course, no one wants to ride on a plane with mechanical issues--better to be safe than dead, right? But with life moving at the speed of the Internet and technology improving by leaps and bounds, how can this happen? Why are there so many “mechanical issues”? Is that a new code name for ineptitude and lack of preparation?

A sampling of our experiences:
(1) Our Return from Virginia: we were originally scheduled to fly from DC to Dallas to Seattle. But the American Airlines flight out of DC to Dallas was 2 hours delayed – “mechanical issues.” This would have caused us to miss our connection in Dallas so they scrapped our itinerary and re-routed us from DC to Chicago to Seattle. After a 2-hour wait in DC then a 5 hour layover in Chicago, a trip that was originally supposed to take 7 hours actually took 16.

(2) Ken’s Return from San Jose: Ken’s plane to bring him back to Seattle was enroute to San Jose but once airborne, the crew realized something was amiss and turned it back to Seattle. Again, “mechanical issues.” The mechanics worked on it and then the plane proceeded to San Jose but this delayed Ken by 4 hours, arriving home well after Midnight.

(3) Our Return from San Diego: We arrived at the airport only to find out our Alaska flight home was delayed 3 hours due to, you guessed it, “mechanical issues.”
When we did finally get on the plane, a flight attendant made the mistake of announcing to the cabin, “Please turn off your cell phones, we cannot push back from the gate until you do this. We’re already late…” A passenger four rows ahead of me piped up and yelled, “Because of you!”
(Once upon a time, every girl’s dream was to be a stewardess, wearing fabulous uniforms and jetting around the world. Now, being a flight attendant has all the glamour of a well-paid babysitter and requires the disposition of a cranky waitress.)

This is for the Baggage Handlers: You’re working just fast enough not to get fired but slow enough to piss everyone off, aren’t you? I don’t ever remember waiting so long for bags. I think it’s been averaging close to 40 minutes from the time we step off the plane. And they never come out on the carousel listed on the board. All that rushing down to baggage claim to get a prime spot at the conveyer belt--wasted.

Do you ever stop to think about your tray table? When do you think the last time yours was sanitized? We eat off of them, work off of them and sometimes put our faces down on them. But have you ever seen a cleaning crew take the time to wipe them off?

That’s just a little something to think about in the security line while you are keeping an eye on the bin with your laptop as you hurriedly kick off your shoes, hand your Preparation H or Vagisil cream to Johnny TSA as he makes you go through the metal detector again, high on the power afforded to him by paranoia, regulation and karma.

Happy travels!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Happy 2nd Anniversary!

San Diego Weekend

During our weekend in San Diego, not only did we get to spend some quality time with Ed, Ken’s oldest brother, we also got up close and personal with some residents of the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park.

Ed and a new friend.

There were several different photo tours to pick from but the one I chose for us was adults only, not just because they served alcohol, but the theme of the evening was reproduction. The tour focused on the efforts of the park to assist captive animals to breed. Parks and zoos trade animals back and forth to get resident animals to reproduce. There is a lot of work that goes into managing the genetic lines of animals kept at zoos to make sure they are diverse. But just like in humans, sometimes the males and females don’t hit it off and they have to try other matches. According to our guide, the San Diego Zoo & Wild Animal Park trade around more animals than all the other zoos in America combined. With natural habitats shrinking, these parks seem to be the only way to ensure animals and humans can coexist. I’m saddened that these animals can’t be left alone by poachers and protected in their natural habitats but this is better than nothing and many species flourish under the vigilant eye of zoo keepers. When you think about it, what a life: these animals will be taken care of for the rest of their lives without fear of predation or poaching—and they can have all the sex they can handle.

What beautiful eyelashes you have....

Whatchu talkin' 'bout?

Why the long face?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Concert on the War Machine

I've been down in gorgeous San Diego the last 3 days attending the BREW 2007 Conference. By far, this has been the most well-orchestrated technical convention I've EVER been to. Every detail is planned, every need is attended to, every attendee is made to feel special and the parties---oh the parties. Don't get me wrong, I have also sat in a number of the business sessions/panels and gleaned some useful information about various aspects of our industry. But it's the informal meetings and spontaneous introductions that add a flair to the whole thing. Qualcomm, the host of the event, knows this and created some pretty awesome opportunities for socializing. The spectacular BREWfest Event on Thursday did not disappoint. Besides reserving the entire USS Midway, a decommissioned aircraft carrier docked in San Diego Bay, we ate, drank and admired the San Diego skyline at sunset, while listening to the Goo Goo Dolls perform. I'm not the biggest fan in the world but I like some of their songs. This is a part of their opening song and no one in the audience seems to know the words to it. Some lucky folks won the chance to arrive at the event via helicopter. One thing I didn't realize from the hundreds of times I've seen helicopters on TV is that when it hovers, it's so damn windy every bit of dust, debris--anything not nailed down becomes airborne and you better have eye protection or just squeeze them shut. Cocktail, anyone? Now on to the relaxing part of the trip. Ken joined me here late Friday and we'll spend the rest of the weekend hanging with Ken's brother who lives in San Diego. Right now the brothers are off mountain biking so this seems like a good time for me to---go shopping.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

An Open Letter to the Fremont Arts Council regarding the 2007 Fremont Solstice Parade

Dear Fremont Arts Council, I usually regard your annual Solstice Parade as one of the most pure and enjoyable spectacles of Seattle. The feeling I have come away in the past is one of hope, joy and connectedness to my fellow Solstice-ites. And despite all the crazy stuff I've seen before, I have never once thought I would hesitate to bring a child to this parade--until now. So there we were on Saturday with Karen, Court and Little B in our lawn chairs eating bagels, sipping beverages and praising the perfect parade weather: not too hot, not too cold, slightly overcast with sun breaks. And let me tell you, there is nothing I look forward to more than some naked, painted bicyclists.... And it all started off splendidly with more naked, painted bicyclists then I have ever seen in my life. The police even left them alone as they patrolled the parade route. But Fremont Arts Council, you have rules: (1) No printed words or recognizable logos. (2) No live animals (except guide animals). (3) No motorized vehicles (except necessary wheelchairs). (4) No (real) weapons. And so do I. There is a line and it was crossed this weekend. Take a look at your audience lining the parade route. About half of them are children. Are you mindful of them? In the approved line up there were "Puff the Magic Dragon"--a group that encouraged the use of pot and "Your Friendly Neighborhood BBQ" featuring all participants dressed in Bondage S&M gear. What's up with that? What happened to the many samba and marching bands? What happened to the drill teams and dance groups? What happened to the giant puppets and stick walkers? What happened to that family friendly fare that inspires and delights? Instead we got a beat over the head with political statements and lifestyle choices. That's as offensive as printed words and recognizable logos--your rule number one. Mark my words, if there continues to be overt drug and sexual references, you'll lose a lot of spectators (even liberal-minded ones) who will put their children's best interest before a thinly-veiled romp of hedonism. There were some highlights of the parade: the Egyptian group- and the Ents-

But to be completely honest, the line-up was badly-spaced and underwhelming compared to year's passed. We contributed some money to next year's parade fund in hopes that this was just a off year. I really hope it was an anomaly. I really do. Sincerely, Kali

*****

Complete Photo Album Here:

Friday, June 15, 2007

Party to end all Parties

Yesterday GameHouse officially said goodbye to the 2 remaining founders: Garr & Ben. A great showing by all who have seen this little studio through its humble beginnings to commercial notoriety to corporate integration. GameHouse Staff/Alumni + Open Bar + Blow up Boxing Gloves = Hijinks of every sort Casualties of blow up glove boxing: More of my pictures HERE.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sabbatical ends, Back to work!

It's been an enlightening and much needed 38 days off. And now it's over.

By the numbers:
1 Funeral
2 Lost Pedometers
3 Scheduled Massages
4 Dinners out: Qube, Metropolitan Grill, Kabul & Icon Grill
5 Hours spent fussing with the sprinkler configuration in the backyard

I also spent time writing and of course traveling to the East Coast. But more than anything, I had the chance to get some perspective and hit the reset button. I think it's only natural that if you've worked in one place long enough, you start to carry around frustrations or hurts that happen to you over the years. It can start to weigh you down and affect your attitude. And that's what happened to me. No single event was catastrophic but as a collective, the injustice of it all started to take it's toll.
So the most important thing I did these last few weeks is shake free of this sticky ball of issues, amassed over the past 8 years. It's like I got to start again but this time, while my job is a part of me--it's not all of me. I now have other things to focus on and accomplish in life too. I return to my job with the aim of recommitting while not losing myself and at the same time, working with integrity while letting bygones be bygones.

East Coast Trip: Animal Pictures

A few random animal pics from our recent trip to Virginia:
Pooky the cat finds refuge in Ken's suitcase.
A Black snake the neighbor called Ken and Duke over to dispose of. The neighbor's dog upon seeing the Black snake.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Cat Finally Contributes

Oliver: the rat-killing, hyper-groomer
This morning, Ken found and disposed of a medium-sized dead rat that was wet & chewed (but whole, thank God) in what we now refer to as "Oliver's Lair of Doom" (a.k.a. the basement). This is rare behavior for our fuzzy friend since we've trained him to believe that food comes from an automatic electric dispenser and has nothing to do with "instincts" "hunting" or "one's place in the food chain" but everything to do with "is it 4 'o clock"? The only other time that we've found a small creature meeting tragic ends via Oliver is when our good friends Sean and Shannon visited this house for the first time. We were showing them around and as we descended into the basement, I said, "Over there is the entertainment center and karaoke machine. Over here is my Mulan movie poster. And, oh look a dead bird. In pieces."

News Flash: Dr. Burke, Dunzo

This is unfortuate:
'Grey's' Isaiah Washington Won't Be Back (ABC) / Washington Fired from "Grey's Anatomy" (TMZ.com)

I commented earlier about this and while I don't condone his actions, I am actually sorry to see him not coming back to the show next season. With the rehab & efforts to atone, I figured we could all move on. I guess not.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Dear Sir, You're Such An Idiot

Our friend Charly Grogan, a music teacher in Arizona, had another spectacular run-in with a Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud Scammer. Perhaps you remember his first impressive scammer smackdown? This new exchange is hilarious and will delight Star Wars fans. I don't know if this scammer really understood what was going on...but thankfully we do.
Blue=Nigerian Scammer
Green=Charly
(Spellings, phrasing and line breaks were left in original form. Published with permission.)

Good day to you over there, I need a tutor for my son (larry) for themonth of JUNE,I got your advert while surfing through the internet andi really want my child to be taught by you.he is 19 year old andeasily catch up.Although,i understand you are in (U.S} but i'vearranged with my FRIEND ASSOCAITE living there that my son is coming tostay with him for his period of tutoring and he has agreed with me,i am based in switzerland kindly get back to me with......
1.YOUR CHARGE FOR AN HOUR....
2.TOTAL CHARGES FOR 1 MONTH THAT HE
WILL BE TAUGHT 3 TIMES PER WEEK..
3.FULL NAME AND ADDRESS....
4.YOUR PHONE NUMBER..."
don't hesitate to e-mail with your total charges.regardadams


----------------------------------------------------------------
Hello Adams,

I am happy to provide this service for your son Larry. However, before we proceed you need to understand that I do not accept any payments from or to Nigeria.

Let me know if this is a problem.

Best regards,

Charles


----------------------------------------------------------------
hello gorgan,
Thanks for your mail....well i want to know the price of the lesson.....


----------------------------------------------------------------
My name is Grogan, not gorgan. Perhaps you are confsing me with a "gorgon" which is a hideous ancient mythological creature with snakes instead of hair. I do have snakes but I don't keep them in my hair. And I'm not hideous. Well...not very.

Anyway, for payment I'll accept $2000, plus $15,000 when we reach Alderaan.


----------------------------------------------------------------
Hello Charles Grogan,
Thanks for your mail....well.....which price is $2000, plus $15,000 ,
explain to me...
waiting to heat from you soonest.
regard
adams.....


----------------------------------------------------------------
Hello Adams,

It depends on how far you want to go. If you want to stay only at Mos Eisley then $2000 will do fine. You could probably get that amount just by selling your land speeder. However, if you want to go all of the way to Alderaan then it will cost you an extra $15,000. The reason for the price difference is to avoid any imperial entanglements. Further, if Alderaan happens to be completely blown away and we are pulled via tractor beam into a space station then I will have a bad feeling about it. That will certainly cost you extra. First of all there is the termination fee for the princess. And then there is the dry cleaning fee if we happen to be stuck in a filthy trash compactor. Adding more to the cost is if our Jedi master happens to be struck down by Darth Vader or any other Lord of the Sith. Yes, I realize that in the event that the Jedi master is struck down he will become more powerful that you can imagine but that doesn't entirely compensate for the loss of companionship, etc.

On the other hand, if you are able to provide a replacement Jedi master, say in the Dagobah system, then I will consider that adequate compensation. I will need transit to that system, though, and preferably in a craft that does not sink in swampy areas. So, in summary, I believe that $2000 will be adequate and look forward to meeting your son Larry. One thing you should be aware of in advance is that he may need to be addressed with a different name in keeping with Jedi customs. I hope that this will not cause undue stress on yourself or your son. Keep in mind that he will receive the best training possible and at the end of the month will receive a discount on any light sabers that he may want to purchase.

Best regards,

Charles (A.K.A. Master Whoa-be-gone)


----------------------------------------------------------------
Hello Charles Grogan ,
Thanks for your reply......Well .......i want to stay at Mos Eisley which is $2000.i am not going to Alderaan and i will need your address information for sending the payment to you and i will want you to tell me when the lesson start.

waiting to read from you soonest.
regard
adams......


----------------------------------------------------------------
Dear Adams,

Please, it is preferable that you refer to me as Master Whoa-be-gone. You stated that Larry would be here for the month of June so the sooner the better, seeing that June has already started. First we need to take care of some details:

1. At the end of the month no more training will he require.

2. They let us go, it's the only explanation for the ease of our escape.

3. I will be giving Larry information vital to the survival of the rebellion. It is imperative that he guard this information with the utmost secrecy.

4. You must do what you feel is right, of course.

5. I can only take Larry as far as Anchorhead. From there he will have to get a transport to Mos Eisley.

6. He can waste time with his friends after his chores are done.

If these terms are amenable to you then send payment to:

Master Whoa-be-gone
1138 Tashi Station
Mos Eisley, AZ 100-100-1 SOS

Thank you, and may the farce be with you.

----------------------------------------------------------------
Hello Charles Grogan,
Thank you for the email, and more so i am glad the way you
have kept me posted on the (tutoring) and more so you have accepted
your offer and its okay by me, I will make contacts with my son
concerning the arrangement of the tutoring which he told me is ok by
him and i want you to know that i am going to pay for month which is
$2000. also i want you to know that my client who is in canada will be
sending you a check of $6,000 which i want you to know that the rest
of the money will be used to get accomodation beside your location
and any other arrangement for the lesson,as soon as you get the check
cash you will deduct cost of price of the lesson and send remaing
balance to my NANNY.

Regarding this kindly get back to me with your full information to
receive the check so that payment can be able to made out intime. hope
here is your address information :

Master Whoa-be-gone
1138 Tashi Station
Mos Eisley, AZ 100-100-1 SOS

add your phone number the address information.
regard
adams


----------------------------------------------------------------
Dear Adams,

You are probably the most stupid person I have ever met.

Good day to you.

Charles


----------------------------------------------------------------
hello charles,
Thanks for your mail.....you are not concerning with the money all
what you have to do is when you received the payment you will deduct
your money and the remaing money is larry to fined accommadation for
the lesson period.

waiting to hear goods news from you
regard
adams.....
----------------------------------------------------------------
Let me make myself clear:

1. Your name is NOT Adams Smith

2. You do NOT have a son named Larry.

3. You are a scammer.

4. I am NOT going to send money to a nanny.

5. Don't bother me any more.

Do you understand me now?

You're such an idiot.



THE END

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Crab-tastic

Pictures from this weekend's crab feast...

Mmmm!

Help me!

Making ice cream the old-fashioned way: with 2 pairs of clamp pliers and a bucket of rocksalt & ice. After the motorized churner broke down we took turns hand-turning the ice cream drum.

Duke rearranges the furniture.

Family resemblance?

An insane amount of crabs.

Ken has a chip on his shoulder.

Onancock Virginia & Tangier Island

Vacationing in Onancock, Virginia (where Ken's parents live) is like crossing over into the Land the Time Forgot--there is no need to wear a watch here. It's one of those folksy picture postcard small towns with tall leafy trees, grand homes, large sidewalks and a significant history dating back to the 1600's. Most everyone here waves to one another and the outside world seems far away. This little town has managed to keep its charm amid growing development and the recent approval to build of a Walmart nearby. If you mire yourself in the news of the world as I sometimes do, you forget that places like this still exist. Surely it is not without it's problems but it certainly lessens the weight of the world. We have a great time when we visit here. But I only have 2 summertime lamentations: the humidity and the bugs. I guess it doesn't help that I have an aversion to both sweating & itching.
******
But Ken and I have had some fun little excursions. Friday we ventured by boat to a Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay. Neighbors Russ & Anne were kind enough to take us.

We crossed very choppy water in the Bay.

That's Ken and his mom, Joyce. I sat up in the front since I was getting a little nauseous from the ride.

As you approach Tangier Island, you can see the water tower from far in the distance. It looks like giant white balloon. The only way to get to this island is by one's own boat, tourist ferry or helicopter. I was told they banned gas-powered vehicles on the island but once there we noticed a few gas-powered trucks & earth moving equipment. Mostly though, they use golf carts and bicycles to get around.

The industry of this island is crabbing. As we floated into the harbor, rows and rows of crab shacks lined the waterway and alongside them, rows and rows of crab pots.

For lunch, we had the best crab cakes EVER at a trailer-home-turned-diner on the island. We walked around a little bit but headed back soon after. It's a unique and rustic destination, but a rather serious and stark place due to it's dependence on the sea. A sea that is slowly rising and shrinking their land.