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

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 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.

KUOW Pledge Drive

Last year at this time, I complained about how the KUOW Pledge Drive deprives us of our precious NPR goodness while the home team begs for money. As cloying as it is to hear local radio personalities ad-lib anecdotes about why we need to pledge, Ken and I thought about what we could do to end the insanity a little faster.

Our solution: we have volunteered to answer phones for the pledge drive on Saturday, October 13th between 10:30am-2pm. You know when you hear the telephones ringing in the background? Yes, that will be us.

So you local readers who are KUOW listeners, do pledge--you know you want to. And if you can stand waiting until then, call during our shift and you may get Ken or I. Won't that be awesome???

Call 206-543-9595 (local), Toll Free 866-677-5869

You can always just give money online:

It all helps get the world back to normal a little faster.

Monday, October 08, 2007


So what was that last post about?
Right before we went to sleep the other night, Ken and I decided to make up a story with each of us contributing every other word. As you can see, things can take a Bizarro turn. Try it today with your significant other, roommate, co-worker or bus driver. (And if that is all the same person for you--you get a cupcake).

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Thought of the Day

Whenever bunnies appear downwind of Reginald P. Spurtz, they spin upside-down on their tails through blackberry formations shaped like albatrosses flying backward and flugen pookas on acid.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota: Where are you?

Dear Friends, Family, Readers of the Blog,

On October 12th (next Friday), Evidently... Blog will celebrate it's one year anniversary! Hard to believe it's been a whole year already. And thanks to all of you who drop by my little sandbox, we've had visitors from all over the country and the world.

I endeavor to make next year even better with more stories, anecdotes, pictures, creative collaborations with Ken and other surprises.

A great 1st Anniversary goal would be to get a visitor from every state in the US by next Friday. According to Google Analytics (Blog Stats), only New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota are unaccounted for. So if you know someone in those states, please tell them how much I'd love to have them visit the blog and send them the link (

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Chinese Fable on Perspective

Ken told me this story today that really got me thinking. It is an old Chinese fable about having perspective on the good things and bad things that happen to us in life. I thought it was insightful, wise and important to share.

Here it is:

There once was a farmer. One day the farmer's only horse broke out of the corral and ran away. The farmer's neighbors, all hearing of the horse running away, came to the farmer's house to view the corral. As they stood there, the neighbors all said, "Oh what bad luck!" The farmer replied, "Perhaps."

About a week later, the horse returned, bringing with it a whole herd of wild horses, which the farmer and his son quickly corralled. The neighbors, hearing of the corralling of the horses, came to see for themselves. As they stood there looking at the corral filled with horses, the neighbors said, "Oh what good luck!" The farmer replied, "Perhaps."

A couple of weeks later, the farmer's son's leg was badly broken when he was thrown from a horse he was trying to break. A few days later the broken leg became infected and the son became delirious with fever. The neighbors, all hearing of the incident, came to see the son. As they stood there, the neighbors said, "Oh what bad luck!" The farmer replied, "Perhaps."

At that same time in China, a war broke out between two rival warlords. In need of more soldiers, a captain came to the village to conscript young men to fight in the war. When the captain came to take the farmer's son, he found the young man with a broken leg--delirious with fever. Knowing there was no way the son could fight, the captain left him there. A few days later, the son's fever broke. The neighbors, hearing of the son's not being taken to fight in the war and of his return to good health, all came to see him. As they stood there, each one said, "Oh what good luck!" The farmer replied, "Perhaps."

(I don't know who wrote this, otherwise I would attribute it.)

One way to look at this is: you have no way of knowing which way fate will go. But you do have control over how you react to it.

Another way to look at it is: being open to all possibilities gives you the most chance to ultimately get what you want.