Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Navigating the treacherous

I can't recall a Christmas where weather has had such an effect on this region.

Ken and I took off from Seattle today at 10:30 am in our trusty Prius with borrowed chains in the trunk just in case. (Thanks Marcos!) There was some concern that the snow accumulation overnight might vex the progress of the recent warming trend and ruin our chances for a smooth journey. But little did we know what awaited....

We made it to Portland in record time. In 3 hours. We don't even make it down here that quickly in normal weather. There was light traffic and I-5 was just wet pavement. I was utterly amazed. One thing I did do was follow WDOT on Twitter and get updates on my phone of all the troubled spots. It's a good idea if you're traveling. Unfortunately Oregon isn't yet down with the Twittering but does have a comprehensive website.

One interesting thing is that Olympia has its own micro-climate and was colder than anywhere else. We got a little snow and the slightest bit of slush just south of Tumwater, but other than that--easy peezy. It rained a little then it was clear--but less eventful than our normal SEA-PTD drives.

Everything was easy until we neared the WA/OR border. The car's thermometer said outside temp on the WA side was 36, as soon as we hit the 205 bridge it was 32 and it stayed there as we drove. Mother has been house-bound for several days and requested that we go to the store and pick up some things once we hit Portland. I was razzing her a few days ago that she should get out and use the 4wd in her Subaru. I was thinking how bad can it be in Portland? I figured, the side streets are snowy here in Seattle but all main arterials are clear so it should be exactly the same in Portland. Well...we got off 205 and we immediately realized Portland has a little more thawing to do. Sandy Blvd which I assumed would be clear was slushy and the Safeway parking lot was ridiculously slippery. And getting down the 500 feet of mom's cul-de-sac in Portland was the most adventure we had the whole trip.

But my brother has a much more difficult route from Pullman to Portland. He's already traversed from Pullman to Tri-cities and will stay there overnight. But he's going to continue tomorrow which will take him through the Gorge--and from all indications that area is still sub-freezing during the day. He's got a back up plan and can stay overnight in any of the cities along the way but he wants to make it for Christmas. If any one can do it, it's him.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Insulation: overhead but not on your mind

Days like this....

(Ken in a Ballard park making snow boulders)

(Not our car but someone left a delightfully ironic message about the weather.)

make me glad we have insulation now. Everywhere we turned this past summer & fall, Puget Sound Energy or someone was encouraging homeowners to have good insulation for energy efficiency. We really had no idea how good or bad ours was. We were shocked and amazed to find out that prior to pumping a whole bunch of loose cellulose insulation into our attic that we only had an R-factor* of 8? You're supposed to have 38. Up until a few weeks ago, all that had been keeping our expensive oil-fired heat from floating off into space were 1930's newspapers and old rat droppings. Lovely.

Do you know how you can tell if someone has good or adequate insulation? I learned from an appraiser the other day if you look at roofs after it's snowed those with no snow or considerably less have poor insulation while the roofs with lots of snow signal good insulation. When you look around the neighborhood especially now in the PNW, you will know.

Now we notice that when we move from the back rooms to the front of the house, the air is the practically the same temperature. Before, it was noticeably colder in the front rooms (single pane windows don't help either). Yeah, windows are next year.

*R-Factor (Thermal Resistance Factor) - The National Commercial & Industrial Insulation Standards Manual defines R-Value as - a measure of the ability to retard heat flow rather than to transmit heat. The higher the "R", the higher (better) the insulating value. Source

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Put down the gloves and step away from the Wii-mote...

To celebrate the season and showcase how geek-o-rific things can get, Ken plays Santa is Coming to Town on the Wii Theremin. This is for a submission to NPR's National Caroling Party. If he makes it on, you can be assured it will be reported here. But for now, we have dismantled the Wii Theremin "studio" in the basement and hope to get back to less-geeky pursuits.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wii Theremin Revisited

You asked for it Internet and here is more of the magic: another installment of Ken's Wii Theremin antics...

This is the hot new "dance" cut of the Dr. Who theme.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

How to Manage Gift Giving This Season

The current economy poses a unique challenge to holiday gift giving this year. On one hand you want to be generous to beloved friends and family but on the other, you want to be sensible. Here are some gift-giving tips and ideas to keep your time and spending under control while you enjoy a fabulous holiday season.

• Plan your gift giving so you can get more creative and tailor the gift to your recipient.

• Budget what you are going to spend overall or even per person. (And stick to it!)

• Use a spreadsheet to keep track of what you’re getting for who and how much

• Avoid the malls to avoid impulse buying

• Don’t go into debt for gifts.

• Purchase online or from catalogs. You can shop any time and compare prices easily. My Favorite catalogs for selection, uniqueness and prices: Solutions, Restoration Hardware Gifts, Crate & Barrel, Harry & David.

Some examples of meaningful gift ideas:
  • Photo gifts! Maybe this year you had a family vacation, birthdays, milestone events or just some great snaps in general—photo gifts are one-of-a-kind and endearing.,,, are just a few places that can turn a digital photo into gift-giving gold.
  • If you don’t want to break the bank and can’t find that perfect gift, give the gift of time. In our busy lives, a special outing or a pledge to do an extra chore can be better than any physical gift. Make a special coupon or ticket to be redeemed at the receiver’s convenience.
  • Handmade or homemade gifts can be refreshingly unique and supportive to small and/or local businesses. Your area Farmers Market or sites like are great places to look.

(This is a piece was originally written for but was not published.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008

Down to "The Wire"

Everyone, and there is no exception, has raved about the HBO series, The Wire. We received the first disk from Netflix last week and invited Sean & Shannon to come behold the first few episodes of what some people call "the best show on television ever." If you live in a cave without cable or Internet or other people and have never heard of this show, it's about the Baltimore police department and the drug pushing community it polices. It's noteworthy for its "grit" and "reality." I had some reservations before even sitting down with this show, wondering if the hype would live up to what was actually on the screen.

The opening scene's dialogue did not sound like the characters were saying things as much as actors were reciting a script. Not a strong start if you ask me. But indeed it did get better and more interesting.

Don't get me wrong by episode 3, I can recognize that this is a great show--great characters, great story, great visualization. But in my old age, I don't have the stomach for all the tussling and the corruption and the backstabbing--of the Baltimore Police Department. There's a definite aspect of brutality and everyone smokes and cops drink alcohol in their squad cars on the duty then drive--it's now a pattern established in the first 3 shows. The drug pusher's world is intensely "gritty" and even more dire. I'm sure if I wasn't so hung up on these things, I'd enjoy the show more. But as I told Ken, every moment I watch it, I'm just waiting for someone to pull out a gun and shoot someone else. And I can't take that kind of anxiety. It's why we stopped watching Lost half-way through the first season--it was just too stressful. Perhaps if real life weren't so grim, I'd find this concept more "entertaining." But as it is...I don't know, maybe I'm just a big ole whiner.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Difference of Opinion

This is what the back patio looks like after all the plumbing repairs...

This is what Ken thinks it looks like... (click to enlarge)

That's me with the flower pot saying, "Let's just put a flower pot in front of it. No one will know."

Blog to check out for Moms

For all you mom's out there, I've discovered a very cool blog that may delight and interest you. It's called It's really a video blog of some of the more famous "mommy bloggers" (including my favorite Dooce) talking about an issue for about 6 minutes or less. It's got a great format, high production value and the responses are entertaining, thoughtful and informative. They tackle topics like "Is TV bad for kids," "How do you tell kids about the economy," "Balancing work and motherhood." Good stuff.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Thanksgiving Roundup

Thanksgiving this year was a West Coast affair. (No rapping unfortunately.) We drove down to Portland and stayed with Mom & Cindy. This was the first Thanksgiving and first major holiday in their new house. Having a lot more room was great and the food was notably fabulous. Usually you have a sampling of dishes that are good and some that are ok but everything this year was delicious. Nothing strayed too far from traditional but that's fine with me. They did 2 turkeys: one on the BBQ and one in the oven. The BBQ turkey was moist and smokey in flavor. The oven turkey provided the drippings for the gravy and had more of an herbal (rosemary) infusion--but less moist for some reason. Austin's mashed potatoes were suburb as always ("the way America used to taste...") and the apple pie my mom & brother made from my great-aunt's recipe turned out heavenly. My contribution to the meal was to bring some hummus from our farmers' market, help figure out the seating and table arrangements, warm up the peas and shoot lots and lots of video that culminates in this little retrospective... Friday afternoon, my cousin Angela and brother Austin came over and we made the traditional Italian Christmas cookies called pizzelles. We tend to do this every year now as it's an expected treat to have on hand around the holidays. (Yes, Joyce some are on their way to you!) Here is a short video of some of the lighter moments: Friday night we accompanied my father to a festive game-night party that his staff throws on a quarterly basis. The mandate this time was to wear a tacky Christmas sweater and bring really bad food. What showed up was beans & franks, twinkies, spam, mac & cheese, freezer pizza, rice krispie treats, cream puffs, hostess cupcakes and so forth. Not a healthy nor organic thing to be found--aye. We all split up into little groups and played board games. I learned how to play backgammon also. But the best part was toward the end during a game Ken and Austin were playing. It required players to finish an old saying and then determine which answer was actually correct. Austin, being the clever one that he is, graced the world with these treasures, his answers in italic. Better to be the head of a lizard than...the punella of Gary Coleman. Caress your dog and he will...roll over for the Nazis. The biggest nuts are...getting the most lovin'. In the weekend, we spent a fun morning with the Grimsruds, riding the fairly new OHSU Tram and running around on the skybridge. It's a very space-age looking set up and quite a fun time. I never thought going to the hospital would be a fun adventure but when it's turned into a ride--oh yes. Megan and Gunnar seemed to have a blast and it's always great to get some time with Sue. Here's some pics: During our stay, we also visited Burgerville twice and saw the movie Australia which is notable for trying to pack four movies into one really long one while maximizing the screen time of an oiled and often shirtless Hugh Jackman. Ahem. A fun-filled holiday with family and friends!

Monday, December 01, 2008

UPDATE: Wii-mote Hacking--More fun than you know

Going Viral over the weekend! Since this has never happened to us before, I thought I'd put as many links as I could find today. Ken's Star Trek theme video has over 50,000 views since it's unveiling 10 days ago. A co-worker of mine found his way to one of the links with no prior knowledge of the project. This is really cool. I'm just glad Ken is going viral for something creative and geekishly cool. (Because we've seen so many things on the internet go viral that are regrettable.) Yah Ken! -------------------------------------------------------------------------- I eluded to it before, but it bears a little more explanation. My inventive and quite-handy-with-a-soldering-gun husband embarked on a personal journey to create something that the world was sorely missing. Something that would inspire and delight. Something that would capture the imagination of those who saw it. That something is a Wii Theremin. I think it's quite clever what's he's accomplished. He's designed an interface that works with the Wii-mote and created a musical instrument that you don't touch. You can see, read and watch more about his Wii-mote Theremin on his blog. But what also happened today is that 2 major innovator blogs picked up on what he was doing and featured his videos and linked to his blog too. That's what you call "viral" on the internet. Here's some behind the scenes pics of the video shoot. As you can see, we improvised.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Portland Marathon Video -- Redux

As many of you know, I went to school for television production but this was before the days of non-linear editing. My colleages and I had to do it the "old school way" but now anyone with a computer & the right software can create a high powered editing suite--add YouTube and you have perfect distribution. I just got Ken's hand me down laptop which has Adobe's Premiere Pro on it and, can I tell you, I am in heaven.

This is the "vision" I had all along for Ken's Portland Marathon video--all of it in one package. There's new video, new photos and some "fancy" titling at the end.

Check it out!

Pineapple Classic

Today Ken, Sean, Sarah, Mika, Wilson & Briahna participated in the Winter Pineapple Classic a 5K team run benefiting blood cancer research with obsticles and the unique element of having to transport a pineapple from start to finish. Most participants dressed up and really got into the "aloha spirit". Sean & Ken ran as a 2-man team and the Wallers & Atteberrys ran as a 4-person team. Fun was had by all! Here's a video of the festivities edited with Adobe Premiere...I finally have decent editing software. Enjoy!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Does Grey's care about my feelings?

I'm afraid my second favorite show, Grey's Anatomy, is struggling to find itself right now. Last night's episode featured the ghost of Denny making out with Izzie, after the quick & unexplained departure of Erica (because she's a lesbian and ABC can't handle it) all the while Meredith, Derek & friends tried to save a homeless guy who was crushed beyond all recognition in a garbage truck. It's getting pretty nutty right now.

It's driven some people to vent on the Grey's writers' blog...
Rantings of a pissed off viewer.

Posted by: Mylene | November 14, 2008 at 08:30 AM

First of all, I want Mark and Callie not incestuous Mark and Lexie. I also want George and Lexie.

I want George and Izzie to be best friends again.

I want George to have more than 10 seconds of airtime every episode.

I want Sadie to go away and (s)top annoying me and taking his airtime.

I want Lexie and the stupid interns cutting themselves thing to stop right now.

I also want you to post my comments because I am tired of writing every single week just for you to not post any of what I write. It makes me feel like you couldn't care less about my feelings.

And really who wants to watch a show where the creator doesn't care about their feelings?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Update on the Basement Flooding Incident

We were lucky. The water seepage was caught before it could do major damage. But we certainly paid for it. I guess I can take heart that we stimulated the economy a little bit and we now have a new p-trap, a new external clean out for the sewer, new carpet pads and a dry basement, but nothing compares to the privilege of seeing the inside of one's sewer pipes.

In the second video, you witness us discovering another potential issue with our sewer connection. At 60 feet out, it's almost 50% blocked by some combination of a misaligned pipe and dirt. This is something we have to watch in the days/months to come. For the time being though, we're okay according to the plumber. (And no his name was not Joe) Though we still need to replace the baseboards in the basement, we'll wait a few weeks on that to make sure everything's still dry.

A note to all of you with older homes, it probably didn't occur to you (like it didn't to us) to scope your sewer line when you first bought it. It costs roughly $300 and it's a really good idea for to have it in the inspection when you buy a house. As I said before, converging storm drains and sewers are no longer code but many older houses still have this set up. If you get a blocked p-trap or another obstruction in your line, you can get sewer water coming in your lowest drain/toilet during a heavy, sustained downpour. I don't even want to imagine that.

Things I think about while commuting...

I can't help but see a striking similarity between people's hesitancy to spend money in the current economy and that scene in Jaws where people were reluctant to go swimming on the 4th of July with a giant shark in the water.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Emergency Home Repair Escapades

Those of you in Seattle might have noticed that it's been raining quite a bit lately. Normally this is not a cause for alarm, but today we have joined the ranks of those lucky homeowners who have water damage in their basement. Yesterday we noticed that the carpet along the west wall of the basement was wet. We immediately put towels down to soak up the water and Ken launched an investigation into the cause. What he found was that his valiant effort to clean the gutters a few months ago was rewarded by some of that debris going into the downspout and thus into the storm drain. Normally this is not an issue except for the fact that because of the building standards of the 1930's, our storm drain and sewer connection converge into one pipe right outside our bathroom window at the west wall of our basement. (BTW: This is no longer a current building practice.) Our combo storm drain/sewage outlet has a p-trap in line to eliminate sewer gas but it is prone to clog if it's passing waste plus leaves, needles and moss. The recent rains caused a lot of water in a short period of time to flow into our storm drain and because the p-trap blocked up (I saw the clog but didn't get a picture--darn it), the excess water just overflowed and seeped down along the foundation into the basement.
The plumbers have been here excavating this clogged p-trap. They will replace it with one that can be accessed from the surface. They will also provide a separate sewer hatch accessible from outside the house.
Conversation from this morning: Ken: "Didn't we did have a sewer access in our main floor bathroom?" Me: "Oh you mean the one we tiled over because we never thought we'd need to use it?" Last night, Ken shored up the downspout to make sure no additional water went down the storm drain. Take a look at how much water accumulated overnight... Makes a great case for a rain barrel.
As an added bonus, I have just been told by our trusty plumbers that concrete was the favorite type of pipe to use in the olden days but it can break down over time. Sure enough, they showed me where the mortar in the concrete pipe is mostly washed away and all that remains is the rocks. (Read: point of major system weakness & possible seepage issues.) So once they get the new p-trap installed, we are going to turn to technology and run a special camera through the sewer line to see if there are any other areas of concern. I assume with our system being 77 years old, we could find some very interesting shit--for lack of a better word.
Inside the house, we had water damage restorers come over and access the carpet, walls and baseboards. I guess there is nothing you can do when the pad underneath the carpet gets wet--you just have to cut it out and replace it. They had this neato hydrostick that when you push down into the carpet, it told you if it was wet or not. This is really important when trying to find the edge of the affected area. They pulled back the wet carpet and removed all the baseboards. Guess what they found? Moldy moulding.
They guess that this mold is a few days along and grew from the carpet side in rather than the drywall side out. That is a BIG relief that neither the drywall nor insulation is severely damaged and therefore can be dried out. We now have three loud industrial blowers going downstairs: one blowing into the wall, one blowing under the carpet and one blowing at the built-in cabinet baseboards which will run 24 hours a day until Monday. It's like being inside an airplane cruising at 30,000.
Clearly this is not our idea of a good time but I am sobered by the thought of the folks who lost their whole houses in the floods of Katrina and the Centralia/Chehelis area. If a little bit of water does this much damage, I can't even imagine.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Regarding the Obama Win

On this historic evening, the newscasters are trying to come up with profound musings about the momentousness of Obama's win. What I know is that its the first time I've personally felt inspired by this government--that perhaps our better selves can and will prevail. Obama mentioned "service & sacrifice" in the coming years and that's fine. I wouldn't expect to get something for nothing, but it's this odd sense of the rest of the country that I haven't felt before. A fledgling unity that will certainly be tested and could have been entered into begrudgingly by some. But a unity nonetheless which overwhelms me with it's resonance.

Election Coverage

1. Do not look at exit polls--only concentrate on official results.
2. Look for Indiana and Virginia to indicate how the night will go.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

From left to right, artist: Ken, Kali, Sean, Shannon, Brian & Michelle We carved these beauties a few weekends ago with our fellow "jack-o-lantern alumni," Sean and Shannon in their new home atop Queen Anne. Also joining in the fun was Shannon's workmate Brian and his wife Michelle. A fun, creative time had by all.
In the interest of science, Ken and I staged an experiment as to how to get the carved jack-o-lanterns to last for extended periods. Last year we noticed that wrapping them in plastic and putting them in the refrigerator until the night of Halloween kept the carving fresh and mold free. This year we did that for Ken's but to contrast simply doused mine in lemon juice and put it out on the side porch. Within a week mine started to decompose, while Ken's remains in the fridge at a stable 40 degrees--mold-free in plastic. So if you have the room and you need to sustain the life of your jack-o-lantern, use the fridge. And definitely do it from the beginning so there is no chance of any mold.
This year we're laying low, hanging out at the house and handing out candy. In years past we've gotten into the spirit of the holiday and dressed up but Ken has been banned from dressing up as The Undead Pimp--we found out that one doesn't go over well with the young children.

Cheek bones Guy Pierce would kill for.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

WA Polls

One of my favorite polling blogs, fivethirtyeight wrote about our fine state from a polling perspective, giving a very thoughtful rundown of the high drama gubernatorial race and the Burner/Reichert House race. But most notably, he unearthed the a major pet peeve of mine: the mispronunciation of our state's name by McCain and so many others.

"Worshington"--it makes my skin crawl every time.

But he also talks about the Seattle hipsters which you gotta love...
Hipsters. Lots and lots of them. They love Obama. They're educated, they
live in their same-sex households, they donate to Obama at a much higher clip
than most states, and they're going to wear ironic clothing and send in their
permanent absentee ballots for the Democratic candidate for president.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Vote and be grateful

Tonight I watched Iron Jawed Angels--an HBO movie about Alice Paul, one of the leaders in the women's suffrage movement. Her more brazen tactics of demonstrating and going on a hunger strike after her unconstitutional arrest/incarceration is a riveting story of determination, commitment and speaking truth to power. I guess women have only had the right to vote in America for about 90 years. (The amendment was added in 1920.)

I'm a little embarrassed to say that I didn't know much detail about this movement. It's pretty significant because while an effort to get women the vote had started well before 1920, it took the confluence of a few states independently granting the female vote, World War I and the highly publicized illegal detainment of Alice Paul & the suffrage demonstrators to get this amendment enacted.

I bet these ladies would be mortified that not only do many modern day women not know about the amount of resistance and sacrifice they endured, but that many citizens male & female take this right for granted. I then immediately wanted to know how many people have previously not voted in the 2004 Election.

Eligible to vote in 2004: 215,694,000
Voted in 2004: 125,736,000,
Did Not Vote in 2004: 89,958,000, 42%
Source: US Census

I know alot of people have felt removed from what goes on in politics, like they don't make a difference or that they are so busy living their lives that they don't have time learn about issues and candidates. Even though I have voted ever since I was 18, there were times I wasn't fully informed about what or who I was voting for. Sometimes I didn't want to bother myself with politics because it seemed like it didn't affect me or the things politicians talked about were tedious & stupid. When I look back on that, I can't help but feel a little ashamed because now I see what it means to have a vote, that you can't really be a full fledged citizen without one and if the last 8 years have shown us anything, it's that who we elect really does matter.

I simply don't understand why registering to vote in America isn't compulsory. I've heard other countries like Canada, send you a registration card as soon as you turn 18. It isn't a sign up--you just are registered. I think in the last 8 years especially we've seen what can happen when you leave the governing up to the politicians. When the media and the constituancy fall asleep at the switch. Just like assuming the banks would behave in their customers best interests, we know that even the most-seasoned politicians cannot be soley left to their own devices. I'm looking at you Ted Stevens.

So if you are American and of age, as your priviledge, right & duty of being a citizen, learn about the issues & candidates and go vote next Tuesday.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Plants are getting lazy

I've ruminated before on a common discussion point in our household around the technological takeover of humanity. While Ken & I are both quite fascinated by technological breakthroughs and experiencing new gadgets, software and innovations, we do have different motives. I tend to look at what technology can do to minimize the mundane aspects of life or what it can do to bring people together, like the Wii, blogs, the Google phone & Facebook. What I perceive of Ken's motives is that where ever possible implanting technology is preferable. Even when something can be done without the aid of computers or software, "wouldn't it be neat" to do it anyway? (Ken is welcome to dispute and clarify this position--at time of publish, he was not available for comment.) For example, take a look at this invention to help a plant get sunlight.

It's pretty neat and it's thoughtful to want to help our plants get the most sunlight they need but think about it... Plants can grow in the direction of the best sunlight and their leaves have evolved to make the most of the light they get. So while this is helping the plant in one way, it's circumventing adaptation and basic function in another. Over time, it stunts the plants ability to do what it does naturally. And how much "energy" is used to operate this contraption? Does it even net out?

Our cousin Thomas made a point when we were out visiting awhile ago that the Internet (and specifically Google) makes us lazy because as search becomes more and more optimized, it will start to anticipate and think for us. In trying to bring up the best correlations to a search term, it will make assumptions and apply its own logic--leaving us to hit enter, wait and drool.
I think like any powerful tool, there is a fine line between it helping advance our society and it crippling us. When I think about the major paradigm-shifting advances in the last 10 years, I only hope that in our exuberance to embrace technology, that we not only ask "can we?" but "should we?". The tenants of curiosity, practicality, efficiency and simplicity are the cornerstones of thoughtful people and they were around long before the Internet age. Sometimes I worry in the current atmosphere that these ideals may seem passe or quaint to the over-stimulated youth of today. But technology can't make moral decisions or value judgements nor can it take the place of thoughtful introspection. For all our sakes, I hope that will never go out of style.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Google Phone has Arrived!

The cell phone came into my life a little over ten years ago and now I can’t imagine a day without it. I’ve survived with a no-frills Nokia all this time, but today all that has changed. Hundreds of thousands of us will be upgrading to the “T-mobile G1 with Google” handset, simply known as the “Google Phone" or G1 for short. Read more about my impressions of the Google phone on

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Political Message for Washington Residents

"Remember what happened the last time you voted for a guy you'd like to have a beer with..." (Court Rich, Rich Marketing) Keep that in mind when voting for governor, Washingtonians.

"Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." ~GW Bush. ***** On November 4th, re-elect Christine Gregoire.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Star Trek should have consulted me for casting

Aggh! Aggh! Aggh! @$@%@#%$@$%@#$%@#$%@#$%@#$%@#$%@#$%!!!!!! Sylar from Heroes is going to be Spock in the new Star Trek movie! He is so creepy. Seriously, I can't make the leap to pretend that dude can be both the scary, psychotic, brain-consuming mutant AND one of the most iconic and inspiring Sci-Fi characters ever created. Nope.

Photograph by Jill Greenberg

Photograph by Entertainment Weekly

Photo by ILM

More coming on

Perhaps not a big deal but I did write a game review about the PC hit game, Dream Chronicles that just got posted. If you are looking for some escapist fun, check out that game. Coming this week on, I'll also be weighing in on the new Google phone due out this Wednesday. I'll link to it when it goes up.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Scavenging the Internet for Distraction

Check these websites out. Start your weekend with a laugh.

Daily Show's Jon Stewart Charlie Chaplin
see famous look-a-like faces

(Thanks Mom for sending!)

My favorite:

Also go click around on

And you are so special to me at

Oh and this.....

Sunday, October 12, 2008


After some sleuthing and re-watching of the 90's Grunge movie Singles,
I realized this:

Kiss on Manzanita Beach, 2008

reminded me of something I'd seen before...

Kiss by the Hotel de Ville, 1950 © Estate of Robert Doisneau

Highlights of the 2nd Year of Evidently...

Kitchen Remodel 1-4/2008

Creative Endeavors:
Thanksgiving Rap 11/2007
Sarah's Birthday Rap 4/2008
Ballard Basement Band 7/2008

Austin turns 30 5/2008
Sam & Suzanne Wed--Hindu / Western Ceremonies 6/2008
Angela Graduates from College 6/2008
Ken turns 40 7/2008
Ken runs Portland Marathon 10/2008

Nation & Politics:
Primary Voting 2/2008
Jon Stewart 4/2008
Hanging with the Gov 8/2008
Greed is Not Good 9/2008
Open Letter to Republican America 9/2008
More Jon Stewart 9/2008

Video Catnip, Part One 12/2007
Video Catnip, Part Two 1/2008
Teeth Brushing PSA 3/2008
Another Open Letter 5/2008
CSI-Cat Pee Investigations Unit 8/2008

Animal Encounters:
Monterey Bay Aquarium 10/2007
River Valley Ranch Photos, Video & Narrative 4/2008

Bay Area-Google 10/2007
East Coast Thanksgiving 11/2007
La Conner Getaway 5/2008
Arizona 5/2008
East Coast Summertime 7/2008
Oregon Coast Part One & Two 7/2008

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Contributing Writer on

I'm proud to announce that I'll be writing every now and then for a new entertainment website aimed at women called My first piece can be found HERE about one of my favorite shows, Grey's Anatomy.

Grey's Anatomy made me love Thursday nights again. Over the years, I've cheered and cried through the heartbreaks, triumphs and medical mysteries in this much beloved and diverse show. With the fifth season just starting, it looks to be another wild ride for our friends at Seattle Grace Hospital. So in honor of this new beginning, let's take a look back to some of the amazing things we've seen so far...

Monday, October 06, 2008

Marathon Madness: Multimedia Edition

1. Start this...

2. Then start this...

3. When the video ends, start this...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Marathon Madness

An amazing day at the Portland Marathon today that I'll need to spend more time detailing tomorrow. But Ken ran a great race and finished in the top 20% overall at 3hrs:47min:05sec. My family plus his mother, who flew out from the East Coast, were all here to cheer him on. We look forward to a restful night after a great day of physical triumph and celebration.
Photo by Cindy Hovind

Photo by Cindy Hovind

Photo by Angela Halsne, Sign by Sarah Waller

Friday, October 03, 2008

Getting ready to leave for the Race

We're gearing up to head down to Portland for the Marathon this weekend. Ken is looking and feeling good. I can't believe it's finally here. While I am not a runner nor have I trained with Ken, I've definitely taken note of what he's gone through. A lot of dedication and perseverance. While it seems like a form of exercise that is ultimately destructive to joints, being able to run lets you know you're still alive and reminds you that your body is capable of many amazing things. Next stop: Portland.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Countrywide Clowns

Yesterday I just lost my shit when Countrywide called up here an was all "Kah-l-eye Sue-key-a?" I'm all, dude, is it really that hard? Then when he asked me how I was doing, I told him "not so well since I learned your company allowed a disgruntled employee to sell my personal information and now it's out in the world for anyone to steal." He said and I quote," Anyone could get ahold of your personal information if they pay $30 and run a background check on you." Oh is that the official stance of Countrywide? Wow, I feel so secure that our mortgages are held by them and we have no say in the matter. What a bunch of clowns. No wonder they got in trouble and Bank of America had to buy them.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm Only Happy When It Rains

There is no denying it, summer up and left us here in Seattle. Of the two of us, Ken finds the weather change gloomy and I think he secretly wishes we lived in a sunnier climate. But having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, it doesn't really effect me. While it's not pleasant to have several overcast, rainy days strung together, when you finally get that break--it's just glorious. Sunny days here are like finding a 20 dollar bill in the pocket of your newly washed jeans.

If I can't have the sun, a good substition for sunshine is spending time with friends. And in that way the weekend was full of sun. Sean and Shannon introduced us to dim sum lunch at New Kowloon on Saturday. It's a huge place and when we first arrived it was mostly empty. But by time we left, both large dining rooms were almost full. I guess this town loves it's Dim Sum. Being that dim sum is a buffet on wheels, it's really easy to take too many things from the roving carts full of goodies. Because of the sheer volume and variety of foods, we all left completely stuffed. Afterwards I got to take a tour of the Testa's newly purchased home on Queen Anne. I believe if all goes well they are moving in this weekend--fingers crossed. And the house is roomy and has such neat period-correct touches. So exciting!

In the evening, Brett & Denise hosted an accurately named 'end of summer' BBQ at their Maple Leaf home. This was the first time we got to see their house and the finished basement they did all by themselves--and passed city inspection! This included tiling, plumbing, fixture installation, painting and wiring a bathroom, office and family room. I guess the dry wall was done by someone else but otherwise they learned how to do all that other stuff. I neglected to take any pictures but was very impressed.
We also got to meet many of their friends and there were children everywhere. One mom showed us a "revolutionary" way to carry around a baby with a "piece of cloth." Looks freaking awesome. You should have seen this gal put it on--it was like wrapping a sari. A bit complicated but once it was in place, the kid calmed down and couldn't get enough of it. I guess this is also better for your back than a Baby Bjorn. Fun times. The Coug game was on during the event and though the Cougs probably got their only win of the season, they suffered many injuries to their quarterback rotation. Hopefully they can recover. But most of us have written this off to a "building year."

Sunday I incorrectly assumed that because it was sort of drizzly that the Farmer's Market would be less crowded. WRONG. I think everyone else assumed that too. Well one lovely surprise was running into Wilson and Briahna and their cute dog Havana. I was picking out potatoes and Wilson pointed me to a better potato stand up the row. It's good to have friends who know things. After picking up a few more produce items, I trekked out to Lake Forest Park and spent the afternoon with Amy. I brought some Thai food because Amy loves to put soy sauce on Phad Thai and I love to marvel at how bizarre that is. Like us, Tim and Amy have the video game Rock Band so I asked Amy if she was any good at it and she's all "yeah, I'm pretty good." And I was like, "yeah, so am I." Luckily she's good on guitar and (I think) I'm good at drums. We played awhile and Amy IS good by the way but we were only having access to the first 14 songs. So I wondered if the unlock code on the Wii version would work on the Xbox 360 version and you know what---it did! So Amy suddenly got access to 30 songs she didn't know existed in the game. And it was like Christmas all over again! After playing through some of the new songs, it was time to go home.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Phantom of the Opera was never so Operatic

Okay I'm just going to say it. The performance of the Phantom of the Opera tonight just didn't live up to expectations. Sure they had the big chandelier, a jaw-dropping scene in the sewers of Paris and come flashy pyrotechnics. But when did insane operatic singing invade this musical? From the cast recording and the performance I attended back in 1995 in London, I do not remember people shooting for the vocal rafters. I also don't recall being unable to discern a single word during the Ensemble singing pieces. The sound was so muddy and resonating so much that you couldn't make sense of anything. We've seen Wicked and Spamalot at the Paramount over the last few years and I don't remember the sound being that bad. So this causes me to believe the audio levels were off and the performers were needlessly kicking it into overdrive. I also found the soprano particularly shrill. Who knows? Maybe this is the difference between a resident show in places like NY, LA, London, Las Vegas & a touring one.

This was Ken's first time seeing the Phantom and I thought of all the musicals, this would be one that consistently delivers--even the touring version. I suppose it didn't help that we had an understudy playing the role of the Phantom tonight. Tonight's Phantom was played as more of a character to pity rather than fear. But it's hard to see something not live up to it's legacy. I heard people talking about how they'd seen Phantom multiple times in multiple cities. I can't imagine. I'm hoping to see Lion King for the first time when it comes next year but I think I may steer clear of the "classic" musicals going forward and let them live on flawlessly in my memory.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Greed is not good

I've always been fascinated with economics, even though I never formally studied it. The closest thing was when I was in high school and I took a class that followed the stock market and introduced the tenants of investing. We all competed with each other over who's stock picks would gain the most. But ever since then I've been keen to know about investing, 401k's, mortgages, interest rates, credit scores and so on. You can't know too much or be too careful when it comes to finances.

Like the other day, when we received a letter from Countrywide (the company that holds our mortgages) saying they endured a security breach. One of their ex-employees may have sold our information (along with 2 million other people's) for profit and nefarious purposes. This employee allegedly exploited a security loophole in their computer system and got a hold of "client files, which includes names, addresses, mortgage loan numbers and social security numbers." Well that's just excellent.

Not only are mortgage lenders in a world of hurt because of decreasing access to credit and lots of bad debt due to defaulted loans, but they can't turn their backs on their own people for fear that a disgruntled employee will bring them down from the inside. I have made such a fuss about trying to keep our info secure by shredding financial docs and not giving out my social security number needlessly. But when the people who are supposed to have it can't be trusted either--that's a quandary. I was telling Ken the other day that we're getting to the point where mandatory biometric identification will be the only way to properly identify ourselves: retina scans, fingerprints, saliva DNA...

And then there is today's scandal and intrigue: Lehman Bros. filed for bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch sold for half its value to Bank of America and the stock market plunged 500 points. I think everyone has cause to be worried. Naturally for the impact on the price of goods, accessibility to credit and our stance in the world economy. But more than that, the average person should also be concerned with how we got to this point.

The intrigue of a mystery gets your attention but the details reveal people's innermost desires, what motivates them. And the mystery of how the economy got this way qualifies as a bonafide whodunit. But you might be thinking, 'this is all so complicated and over my head,' right? Well, not really. Do yourself a favor and listen to this streaming episode on This American Life called "Giant Pool of Money." It's quite possibly the best primer for a layperson to grasp the in's and out's of the financial turmoil we now find ourselves in. You will feel so smart after hearing it. And then, as in my case, you might feel a mix of indignation and disgust.

Why? Because it seems that no matter how evolved, sophisticated, enlightened and indulged we humans become, greed shows up and tempts our lesser selves. Greed causes people to make bad, short-term, destructive decisions. Greed urges people to buy houses they know they can't afford, lenders to qualify those people for outlandish mortgage amounts and employees at that mortgage lender to raid customer information for profit. And when you look at other issues we have, like why did we start an unprovoked war with a Middle Eastern nation flush with oil, why didn't car companies start the electric car revolution a whole decade earlier when they had the technology or why do products today feel largely disposable and not made very well, it again comes back to greed.

And specifically greed of money. Isn't it stupid that something as simple as that is at the heart of what is causing all this suffering? Professionals who crunch numbers, assess risk and balance budgets for a living, ignored common sense and succumbed to a tide of quick profits. It honestly makes me lose faith in human beings a little bit. But then I think perhaps it's lessons like these that teach us what is truly valuable. Quick profits are especially not valuable when it comes at the expense of our country's sovereignty. Guess who now owns a lot of our collective debt? Hint: They just hosted the Olympics and they have lots of drummers.

The troubled economy is not someone else's problem--it's all of ours.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

WA Republicans, shame on you

Hey Washington State Republicans & Luke Esser,

Shame on you for propagating this crap!

You very well know that that this "lipstick on a pig" comment was not uttered by Obama in regards to Sarah Palin. You are making asses of yourselves by trying to use these cheap, inflammatory, out of context quotes to get people riled up. You must not think much of your base if you have to resort to this tactic.

Don't you have anything substantial to tell your people about your candidate?
Or do you have to stoop to blatant manipulation of sound bites to get donations?

This is a spam that went out to registered Republicans today. (Thanks to S for sending this to me.)

The Obama-Gregoire Smear Machine
Despite promises to run a “different kind of campaign,” Barack Obama yesterday uttered one of the most sleazy and shameful smears ever spoken by a presidential candidate.
In a clear reference to Sarah Palin’s convention speech where she said of herself that the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull is lipstick, Barack Obama said, "you can put lipstick on a pig … it's still a pig."
(Click here to play the video)

This personal attack on Gov. Palin by Obama is the most offensive so far, but it is hardly the first. For weeks now the Obama-Gregoire Smear Machine has been telling lie after lie about Gov. Palin and Dino Rossi because they are desperate to hide the truth of their radical, left-wing agendas.

What these attacks make clear is that Barack Obama and Christine Gregoire will say or do anything to get elected—and during the next two months until Election Day they’ll only get more desperate in their efforts.

We know that all too well right here in Washington, where Christine Gregoire and her political operatives have used smear tactics similar to Obama’s. You’ll recall the State Democrats’ racist video attacking Rossi's Italian heritage. And when Michelle Obama visited Seattle to raise money for our Democrat Governor, Christine Gregoire went so low as to even attack Dino's dog (who his kids named “Dubya”).

We need your help to focus this campaign on the issues, and to take on the desperate and offensive attacks by the Obama-Gregoire Smear Machine.

Will you help us fight these attacks and tell the truth about the far-left agenda of Obama and Gregoire by making a secure online contribution of $10, $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can afford to the Washington State Republican Party?

Together, we can defeat the Obama-Gregoire Smear Machine, and bring the right kind of change to our nation’s capital and Olympia this November!


Chairman Luke Esser
Washington State Republican Party

P.S. Help us set the record straight and refute the attacks on Sarah Palin, Dino Rossi and all our Republican candidates by making a secure online contribution of $10, $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can afford today. Thank you!

As a matter of fact, I am.

"I know I'm wearing a t-shirt with a cylon unicorn on it, but you need to take me seriously."

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Letter to Republican America

On Thursday I published a scathing rant in response to my growing frustration with this nation's politics, particularly those in the conservative Republican camp. It was promptly taken down after some heart-felt discussion about exactly what I was trying to accomplish and what unintended consequences could come from it. So let's try this another way...

Dear Republican America,
All this recent RNC hoopla with Sarah Palin and the realization that the Republican ticket is unabashedly buoying the ultra conservative right scares the crap out of me.

I realize the United States was initially settled by religious extremists (the Puritans) and that the founding fathers moved to create laws that protect religious worship. But I'm just amazed that in 2008, despite all we've been through, despite our stature in the world, by our actions and deeds and leadership we are regressing into conservative Christian territory. Us. America. Land of the Free. Sounds ridiculous doesn't it? We seem to be allowing our diverse, melting-pot-of-a-country to be steered into a less tolerant direction that plays on people's fears and distrust of others not like us.

What I learned about Republicanism in school does not necessarily match what it is today. As I recall, it was the party that supported less governmental interference, individual success, fiscal responsibility, state's rights and lower taxes. And yes, it leaned to conservative social values but I don't remember it being so fused with religious evangelicals.

The RNC galvanized behind Sarah Palin mostly because of her social conservatism, her Obama bashing skills and lesser qualifications (let's face it--she's pretty and younger). I know there are smart people in the Republican party and that just because you are a Republican doesn't mean you subscribe to all of what's said. But how can smart Republicans still be party to a group that is so obviously being commandeered by the conservative Christian movement? Weren't Republicans the ones who didn't want government so involved in your life?

We have an energy problem, foreign policy issues, massive debt, growing inequity of class/education/health care access. Now why wouldn't you want the smartest, most educated & eloquent person running this nation as opposed to the most dogmatic? I find it really confusing when instead of tackling the big problems, Republicans get really excited about making an amendment to ban gay marriage. Comparatively, that just seems like the least of this country's "problems".

But with the polls running Obama & McCain almost 50/50 now, I can only conclude that we are truly at a crossroads. And one more thing, with two or three Supreme Court justices due to retire in the next few years, this next President will set the tone for how law is interpreted for the next generation. With these being lifetime appointments, you really want a balance on the court and lest we forget, we just got two new conservative justices. A President is for 4 years but a Justice is for their lifetime. Keep that in mind as you vote this November too.


Twice the Fun on Rock Band

Two of our favorite little 3-year old friends, Owen and Stella, came over for visiting and dinner last night. (And they even brought their parents Tracy & Joe along too.)

We have so much fun with this family and have had the pleasure of seeing the children grow up through their various stages. This was the first time the family had been over to our house not in the context of a larger party or BBQ. Ken and I wondered how fun our house would be to 3-year-olds but I remembered I had a big container of Legos and Star Wars action figures so I pulled those out. Believe it or not though, the carpeted stairs to the basement were an unexpected big hit too. It was good times.

But the best part was when we turned on the Wii and played a little Rock Band. The kids really wanted to sing, so I turned to Tracy and said, "Can the kids read?" Uproarious laughter proceeded by, "Kali they're only 3..." (What do I know?) So Tracy would sing and Owen would repeat. Everyone seemed to have a great time and to think only a few years ago this kind of game/entertainment didn't exist. How we've suffered until now.

Owen Sings!

Stella blew us out of the water with her wicked drum solo and Owen tried to eat the microphone...

Adding to the excitement of the night, we survived an attack of a Giant Moth.

Ken gave Owen some Guitar Lessons while Stella did what she does best.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

What I think of her nomination

These two clips pretty much hit it on the head...

Women on Palin

Palin's reception

Something to get you ready for what's coming up...

Monday, September 01, 2008

Coug Game @ Qwest Field

The Cougs had problems and Euge was not pleased.

But Jenny & Ted were there...

As were Sybil & Joel...

Don't forget soon-to-be homeowners Sean & Shannon...

So it wasn't all bad.

But what a sad start. Poor Cougs.

Murrow College

While I mentioned earlier that the Murrow School of Communication would become the Murrow College of Communication, it did not take effect until July 1st. So we finally celebrated it last Thursday when members of the staff and alumni got together at KING TV. It was also the night of Obama's acceptance speech and like the historic democratic party candidate, we cheered the beginning of our new status and took responsibility for our increased influence over the constituency of Comm grads and grads-to-be. (Pushing it for the metaphor, aren't I?) No event like this is complete without food (& drinking). While buffet appetizers were served at KING, we moved on to Tutta Bella for Italian gourmet pizza. Glenn Johnson was impressed by the various toppings. There was no pepperoni or Canadian bacon in sight. We thought it would be nice for the Eastsiders to get out and live a little.

And while I was responsible for planning this little gathering, I wished I would have used Evite. It can be a little challenging to get everyone coordinated but even though we exceeded our head count, everyone brought cash just like I asked them. See, Communication majors, they can follow (some) direction. I would also like to say that it is always a pleasure to spend time with my fellow alumni. Not since this crazy weekend in '06 have I had the pleasure to sit and chit-chat with Karen, Marcus, Scott, Jamie & Pat all together. I also found out that several of those folks are readers of this very blog, which warms my heart in a special way. I also met some other Murrow alumni who graduated after me who I look forward to hanging out with again at the next Murrow event.

Afterwards more partying at the Two Bells with special guest star, Sean Mantooth. He was in town coincidentally to work at the Penny Arcade Convention for his company.

More pics from that night...

CSI Ballard -- Cat Pee Investigations, Part Deux

Nothing to see really more than last time, but that little s**t has been busy upstairs as well. Many a guest who has been at our house in the last two weeks has witnessed me stop in mid-sentence like a crazy person and ask if they smell cat pee. Well the black light doesn't lie and Oliver has been in our bedroom (the one room off limits to him) and has marked up the closet doors. Boggles the mind. All this after we went to Petco tonight and bought him special treats. The irony--it kills me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Soundgarden Reunion?

This riveting story found here.

Soundgarden Inadvertently Reunites At Area Cinnabon

August 8, 2008

SEATTLE—Members of the popular 1990s grunge band Soundgarden shocked critics and fans alike Tuesday, appearing together publicly for the first time in more than a decade after accidentally running into one another at the Northgate Mall Cinnabon.

The former bandmates come out for an encore of Chillattas.

The unplanned 15-minute reunion was the result of a number of unrelated events, including lead singer Chris Cornell stopping by the baked-goods franchise to buy a Caramel Pecanbon, drummer Matt Cameron taking a break from shopping at the nearby Banana Republic, bass player Ben Shepherd walking by and noticing his one-time bandmates in the food court, and former guitarist and Cinnabon daytime supervisor Kim Thayil working the 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. shift.

According to those in attendance at the packed fast-food venue, the highlight of the incidental Soundgarden reunion came when the rockers reconciled their differences and teamed up for the first time in years to finish off an order of Cinnabon Stix.

"At first it was pretty awkward and none of them seemed like they were really into it," said Al Helbling, 30, a Northgate Mall Sam Goody employee and Soundgarden fan. "But then the drummer comes in and right after that the bass player comes in, and it was like, 'Yes, Soundgarden is back.' It was so intense."

The former members of Soundgarden, who have not released an album together since 1996's Down On The Upside, reported that it was initially difficult to find common ground, but once they began exchanging ideas and riffing on which sugar-filled dessert they were going to order, the chemistry felt "as strong as ever."

While Shepherd told reporters he enjoyed seeing his old bandmates, he admitted to experiencing some last-minute doubts about going through with the encounter.

"I got all the way there, but then I just didn't know if I could do it," Shepherd said. "I had a huge lunch that day. And Cinnabon, that's some really sugary stuff, even if you have a sweet tooth like me."

Thayil, who joined the band shortly after it was formed in 1984, said some tension arose between himself and former front man Chris Cornell early on in the reunion, after Thayil scolded Cornell for entering the cinnamon-bun snack purveyor without a shirt.

"Honestly, I didn't even recognize Chris at first," Thayil said. "All I saw was this bare-chested guy entering the store, and that's unacceptable in the food-service industry. I hate to be the enforcer, but just because we were in a band together doesn't mean I can allow him to create an unhygienic environment."

The heated situation was quickly settled, however, when Thayil offered Cornell a complimentary 12-oz. CarmeLatta Chill. In turn, the 44-year-old lead singer responded by serenading Thayil with a version of the group's hit song "Black Hole Sun" in which he replaced the titular phrase with the word "Cinnabon." Cornell, former singer for the now-defunct group Audioslave, then stuffed his pockets with napkins, saying he needed them for a later solo project.

The two soon moved to a back table, where they joined Shepherd and drummer Matt Cameron, the latter of whom said he was overjoyed to see his old bandmates, since he had to "kill some time" before Pearl Jam practice.

Although Tuesday marked the first time the group has fully reunited, the members of Soundgarden have had a few near-misses in the past 10 years. In August 2000, all four members were seen entering Seattle-area Arby's restaurants, but the reunion never materialized: Cornell and Cameron visited the Meridian Avenue location, while Thayil and Shepherd decided to visit the Michigan Street franchise. The afternoon did, however, mark the largest Temple of the Dog reunion to date, when Cornell and Cameron ran into the rest of the supergroup's members in the restroom.

After the success of the Cinnabon reunion, Soundgarden is reportedly planning a tour of the Sunglass Hut and Piercing Pagoda.


I couldn't stop laughing when I read this. Good times.