Sunday, July 29, 2007

Running Men

Sean & Ken took on the Torchlight 8K Run last night in Seattle.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Birthday Laughs

Thursday, we and 10 of our favorite friends laughed into the night at Comedy Underground and celebrated Ken's birthday. They put us in a chained off area and it felt kinda cool to have a "chain" to keep out the riff-raff, but to our dismay, it initially deterred the roving drink waitress too. She served VERY expensive drinks, I might add.

But we were there to be entertained by some comedy. It started off a little shaky as we could tell the introducer or "comedy newbie" didn't quite have his timing right. It occurred to me that successful comedy is one part timing, one part story telling and one part confidence. Several other intermediate comedians hit the stage as we waited for the headliner Kermit Apio. (Yes, that's his actual name.) But one of the comedians stuck out not because of talent but because of sheer oddness. He/She was a transgender individual that feels the need to inflict his/her story on others by way of stand up comedy. Debatable whether it qualified as comedy because of the awkward shifting and looks of disbelief of the audience. But for all of the stories about how "icy" Seattlites are on the street or in crowds, its audiences are uber-tolerant and have an alarmingly high threshold for pain. I found his/her website. Aye.

The highlight and redemption of the show was Kermit himself. Immediately I sensed this was a performer who had polish, someone who is not only gifted at delivery but easy to relate to. The use of local humor was a bonus. In that way I do miss "Almost Live" and wish it was still on now that I live here and understand Seattle culture a bit better. (Check out this clip about Ballard Driving School.)

Anyway, I digress. After Kermit's outstanding performance, he let Ty Barnett, a finalist from Last Comic Standing, entertain us for a few minutes. He did this bit for us too....Hilarious!



After the show, we marched upstairs to the bar and had cupcakes from Morfey's Cake Shoppe.



Ken and I were commenting on the ride home and the next day how lucky we are to have such a great group of people in our lives. Sometimes it's hard to get together because everyone is busy living life but it is such a treat to have our favorite people together in one room. You never know what will happen.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Leos unite

Yes it's true, my husband and my mother share the same birthday. To make matters even more exciting, next year he turns 40 and she turns 60--and it all falls on a Saturday. Anyone have a suggestion on how to deal with this? Because unlike Santa, I cannot be in two places at once.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Thumbs out, it's your birthday!

Happy Birthday Ken!

To a guy who looks forever young and is always full of surprises...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Oh yes, they will pay

Do you live in Ballard? Then you live on a giant ant hill. This outbreak is largely my fault. I rinsed out my cereal bowl but some of the kibble didn't make it down the drain. And that small mistake spawned a stampede of tiny legs. If you are trying to get rid of ants, let me suggest Terro traps. It is less toxic than most ant killers and relatively safe around pets/children (it's syrup and Borax soap).

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Gardening 103: Maintenance

The yard has come a long way from its initial stages. While we helped define aspects of the design and pick some of the plants, most of the credit goes to Scott for how well the whole thing turned out. Last Year Post Planting: (Photos by Scott) Since he set this up last year, we became responsible for watering the garden and making sure things didn't die. We've been pretty good about the first duty but for some reason not so lucky on the second. As you may remember, the only foliage we saved from the previous garden was the Japanese maple and the Bay Leaf tree but they have since left this world. We were quite taken aback that we lost them because they seemed to do so well after they were transplanted. I guess that is the way of nature.

In their place, we have bought another Japanese Maple, an Emperor type with Red leaves this time, and a Ginkgo Biloba tree. Evidently these Ginkgos can survive an atomic blast, so we figure it should make it in our harsh backyard environment.

I shudder to think what our water bill will be this summer, especially during that hot week. But vigilantly we water the yard every other day and pay special attention to those recently planted in the the last few months.

Fellow Broadcasting grads: here's a practical application of your cable-over-undering skills. Marvin would be so proud.

*****

Like Scott says, it's all an investment and we need to take care of it. But I'm not any more of a green thumb than I used to be. I still feel like the reluctant gardener cursing the weeds and not wanting to get my hands getting dirty.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Emperor Has No Clothes

So, how was your weekend? Get some sun, did you? Seattle's getting pretty warm these days. What did we do this weekend? Nothing much. Oh, Ken ran a 5K today.

Naked.

The man was so determined to run a race this weekend that when his Saturday race in Kent got scrapped due to a conflict, he scoured the Internet for a race on Sunday. And what came up? The Bare Buns Fun Run in Issaquah hosted by the local nudist organization up there. I thought he was joking.

In most every race he's run, I have been there to support him and this would be no different. It wasn't until this morning when we were driving to Issaquah that I realized "this is really happening" and a mini-freak out hit me.

Thoughts in this order:
  1. We're going to be surrounded by naked people!
  2. And they're all running!
  3. No paint or bicycles!
  4. You've got to act like it's totally normal.
  5. Don't look down.
  6. Eyes...look in the eyes.

They didn't allow cameras up there so you're just going to have to imagine a camping hideaway in the Issaquah foothills containing a nude oasis with pools, a meeting house, gift shop, volleyball court and stretches of grass where everyone can frolic sans clothing and no one bats an eye. After a little sheepishness, Ken joined in and became one the 150 pairs of buns lined up at the start line, with nothing but his shoes, socks and a smile. Having been one of only 7 people with their clothes still on (not including the Red Cross paramedics who's nervous faces made me think this assignment was sprung on them), I kinda stuck out.

Gradually the shock of being there wore off and when the first runners finished, I imagined the Olympics back in Greece so many centuries ago when all the athletes competed naked and how normal that would have been. It sorta makes sense to celebrate the human body and see it in it's finest moments.

Ken said that the course was difficult because of the initial 800 ft. ascent but being naked did not affect his performance otherwise. There were some interesting characters around and there were more men than women (but more women than I would have expected). Ken finished 35th overall and did his usual collapse in the grass just after finishing. He had to lay on his back for a while to catch his breath and drink water before he could get up. Ken seemed quite pleased with himself that he'd overcome his modesty and embraced the spontaneity of the moment. He keeps me guessing, that's for sure.

We zoomed out of there not long after the race ended as the nudists were getting ready for a long afternoon in the sun. It seemed like we were intruding on a world we didn't quite belong in. About trying new "anti-rut" activities that push our comfort zones--I would say this was a big one.

(Final garden blog later this week)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Gardening 102: The Nuclear Option

From a recommendation from a neighbor, we enlisted the help of Scott Tuzzolino of Gardenmakers NW. He had a flair for native plants and a vision for making the backyard into an 'outdoor living room.' How do you make an outdoor living room? First eliminate all the riff-raff and start with a clean slate. This amounted to ripping out 95% of what was back there. Ken and I often surmise that the previous owners would hurl the stones at us from their crazy rock sculptures if they saw what we did to their herb garden & raspberries. But notice the Bay Leaf Tree and the Japanese Maple did make the cut.
Second rip out the lawn but make use of all the rocks present in the garden already. We wanted the space to be usable for entertaining so we installed in a flagstone patio. The whole area had to be leveled and the gravel/sand packed down with a machine. Third, make sure you have four walls. A cedar fence was installed on the north side to provide some privacy and add visual interest.

Scott says this is called 'hardscaping'. Tomorrow I'll show you the plants part. We asked for low maintenance--the opposite of me. Did we get our wish? You'll see.

(All photos by Scott Tuzzolino)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Gardening 101: The Beginning

Hey as long as we're talking about heat, let's talk about water. Particularly how much of it gets sprinkled on the vegetation surrounding our house, also known as "the gardens." You have to know that Ken and I are not gardeners. While we love the Earth and sometimes like to walk around in The Nature, we are well matched in our ambivalence about gardening. But our house came with a decent-sized yard that was fairly wild when we first got it.
Before #1: Before #2:

Pictures by Scott Tuzzolino of Gardenmakers NW

For two non-gardeners the untamed herb garden and crazy rock formations created as sense of mystery about the yard. Adding value were a beautiful Japanese Maple Tree and a Bay Leaf Tree that my mother b-lined to and admired upon her first visit. But an overgrown raspberry patch bordered the back fence and the neighbor's shrubs/weeds spilled over along a poorly defined property line. We had no idea what to do with the space or even where to start. Ken came to loathe the mowing and it was clear, we needed to consult a professional. And that we did... Tomorrow: details of the transformation.

It's Frickin' Hot in Herre, Mr. Bigglesworth

Aye, it's damn hot. The Seattle Times said it hit as high as 98 degrees at the airport today. Earlier, I was inside a cool office building but now I am sitting in our brick oven, I mean house. Many of us in the western PNW are in denial about getting air conditioning because there is really only a span of 2-3 weeks that are hot enough to warrant it. So we hedge our bets and hope for a mild summer.

But it could be much worse...we could have unbearable humidity. I actually didn't know what humidity was until I was 16 and spent a blazing summer in Japan. I'd take a shower and couldn't even get dry. But mostly it's that heavy feeling of pressure bearing down on every body part exposed to the air. Breathing becomes difficult and my will to live decreases. Because I also suffer the occasional migraine, I have a theory that heat combined with humidity is a trigger for them. The humidity thickens the blood, the heat slows me down and the arteries in my brain start to get jammed up, thereby causing stunning auras and excruciating headaches. To battle this I take low dose aspirin in high-humidity situations. I had to do this last month when we were in Virginia. They also say hormones are a factor in migraines---delightful. I think it's obvious for this and thousands of other high-maintenance reasons, I could never be on Survivor.

Hot In Herre

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Fourth of July: Smoke on the Water

Truly, is there any better way to spend 4th of July than on Lake Union in a sailboat with Karen, Court, Nadine, Lil B & Ken with gorgeous 84 degree Seattle weather, eating fruit and turkey franks? Not for this gal.

Other highlights of the day were teaching Nadine how to row the dingy, seeing Ken become a bona fide member of the "anchor team" (and I don't mean news) & witnessing a boat full of porno-destined chicky babes dancing around in bikini bottoms and pasties while being followed by boatloads of buzzed, horny men in speed boats. Yeah, just another day at the lake.

From my observations of being out on the boat several times with the Riches, the hardest thing to do is anchor, especially in close quarters with hundreds of other boats around. It usually takes several attempts to get your placement right so that you are secure but not drifting into your neighbor. I also learned yesterday that full chain anchors are more stable and need less length than chain-rope combinations. In our case, we had the chain-rope and even though the anchor team did a great job of setting anchor at 4pm, by 9:45 the wind shifted and we started to drift behind a much bigger boat so that we couldn't see the fireworks. At times we got so close that Court & Ken had to use poles to push off from the other boat. It was a constant struggle that started just as the fireworks show began. But for a good 70% of the time we could see and there is nothing like being there on the lake with the works of fire exploding overhead.

Also, when trying to take pictures of fireworks on the boat, it's never going to look right because with an open shutter, ever speck of light is going to look like electric sperm or tracers.

Photo Album:




This entry also marks my first foray into You Tube video posts. The following video was taken by me. Fireworks are better in person but they are still cool no matter what. Check out more fireworks videos on my video channel.

"Boxes Woohoo!"

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Response from the Fremont Arts Council about Solstice Parade

Last month, I wrote an open letter to the Fremont Arts Council about the sub par experience at this year's Fremont Solstice Parade. I felt compelled to say something because this year included some participants to were not very family-friendly and in general the parade didn't seem very organized compared to past years. Here is their response:


Dear Kali,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for your support of the Solstice Parade over the years.

We appreciate that you took the time to write and that you were kind enough to include some great pictures. The Fremont Arts Council is forever reinventing ourselves and input from people like you is information that helps guide our progress.

I'm sorry that you didn't like the Parade order. I promise I won't be the person to do that next year and therefore it will be done differently.

I can't promise that there won't be distasteful ensembles in the Parade. We don't preview the art that goes in the Parade and every year there's at least one ensemble that offends someone and sometimes it's one we never would have suspected before hand.

We will also always be a forum for political expression, even of controversial ideas such as the legalization of drugs. While that particular group (which was in the Parade last year as well, by the way) may or may not be in the Parade next year, rest assured there will be controversial ideas in the Parade every year unless we overhaul the entire philosophy behind the Parade.
I have forwarded your message to the Arts Council Board so that they can have the benefit of your input as they plan out the future of the Solstice Parade.

Enjoy your summer! See you next year!

Lars Henrikson
Ex-Solstice Director 2007

***********

Is it me or is that the most politically correct and extremely polite way of saying "thanks very much but we're going to do whatever we want"?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Seattle hearts Flight of the Conchords

The Flight of the Conchords show in Seattle last night exceeded expectations. How amazing is it that a sold out crowd hung on every word of these 2 humbly funny Kiwi dudes with guitars? The fresh and unassuming banter between Jemaine and Bret is worth seeing by itself. In everything they do, they come across as guys you'd root for but more importantly, guys you'd like to be friends with.

Their minimalist presentation puts all the focus on their music, their quirky personalities and the relationship between the two guys. Since they are a duo and gaining more notoriety, they must have to spend an awful lot of time together. I sincerely hope they are pleased with the growing success and attention they are receiving. And I sincerely hope they like spending that much time with one another.

I think it was Bret who said that was the largest audience they'd ever played live to (2000+). Also they commented on the strangeness of the airport-runway-like lights lining the ceiling of McCaw Hall. Having never looked up in that venue, I have to agree--it is a little intimidating. At one point between songs, the guys decided they were too far back on stage and moved their equipment: mics, monitors, cords forward--only there wasn't enough cord so they played without the benefit of their monitors which was not ideal. Being that close to the edge of the stage also put them in front of the speakers for the audience which resulted in occasional funky feedback. Bret seem to fiddle with the microphone stand A LOT which made me think he was either nervous or truly having a problem with the stability of the stand.

They played my favorites: Business Time, I'm Not Crying, Beautiful Girl. My husband loved the Robot song/Humans Are Dead. I didn't keep track of their set list unfortunately. But I hope the HBO One Night Stand Show comes out on DVD-- the same feeling/intimacy from that show came across in person. I was hoping to hear the Hiphopapotamus v Rhymenocerous but they ended the show with Albie the Racist Dragon (not one of my favs). They did not get the opportunity to do an encore--because (I assume) with the 2 other opening acts and the whole show going 3 hours, they wanted to party before 'last call' which happens around 1:30am in this early to bed town.

Ah well. A great night to see these guys do their thing.