Monday, December 31, 2007

Last post of the year (unless we do something goofy at midnight)

Live from the Chaco Canyon Cafe!

Just blogging and working and stuff. Ending the year off with miscellanea: a trip to Ballard for pho and Freddy's and Golden Gardens; a walk to the U- District; coffee-an' with O here at the Chaco.
Almost time to get ready for The Party up on Cap Hill tonight. Kewl.

Serious reflection tomorrow.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The penultimate day of the year

That would be today.

But yesterday (the pre-penultimate?) was also a day. Besides tea, it mostly comprised errand-running. Otis went to a family deal, and I was going to hang with Johnbai but that never really worked out, so I stayed home and worked on comics stuff.

Last night, Otis and I finally watched Hollywoodland. I was a bit underwhelmed; I thought the performances were fine, but that the film suffered from the lack of a strong thesis. Without taking a clear stand on the mystery of George Reeves's death, the movie seemed to have no core. I know I was supposed to care as much about the fictional detective as I did the real actor, but I just didn't: the real story was compelling enough, and all the attention paid to the imaginary character seemed more like a distraction.

The movie also played fast and loose with some of the facts. One bit rang a bell for me: toward the end of the movie, we see some footage that George Reeves supposedly shot to show some wrestling promoters that he was still in shape. There were in fact no wrestling promoters and he never really made such a home movie, but that section of the film looks awfully familiar to the after-breakfast section of this:

I remember seeing this short as a kid - clearly not as a first-run commercial, but probably in some other context - and just loving the judo business. I don't know why the filmmakers chose to adapt this into a sad swan-song, except that it made their drama better. As far as I'm concerned, I'm still waiting for them to make The George Reeves Movie.

Today Otis had a family lunch instead of a family dinner, and I did manage to hook up with Johnbai for some afternoon comic shop action. In the evening, we added Otis and Dingo to our band, and made our way to the Moonlight Cafe (in the Atlantic section of the Central District), where we were joined by Neds for a delightful faux-meat meal.

Johnbai and Dingo stayed on Cap Hill, Neds headed back to West Seattle, and Otis and I returned to the RD, all of us making schemes for the ultimate day of the year.

That would be tomorrow.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Tea, not coffee

I forgot to take a picture of Kuan Yin Teahouse yesterday, but I am back again this morning, so here we go:

It's a very pleasant and calming place, compared to the sometimes busy energy found in a Tully's. I was also struck by the contrast between this place and Remedy Teas up on Cap Hill. That place is all hip and modern, with digital timers and Star Trek tumblers and high-tech steeping cages. That's not how they roll here at Kuan Yin:

Quaint is the only word I can think of for this: china, egg timers, little pots. Very nice.

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, December 28, 2007

It was pretty good

Another day of work and play! I spent the morning at the Kuan Yin Teahouse in Wallingford, ironing out the last details of my syllabi while Otis had an appointment. I came home for some lunchy-leftovers, and then Otis and I walked back to the U district to stop at Half Price Books (Otis is selling off her CDs). We continued on to catch the matinée of The Golden Compass* at the Metro. We both liked it a lot. I don't think it deserves the "half-a-movie" tag that others have given it (and which I gave to the first Lord of the Rings installment); it has a full narrative arc and a satisfactory resolution to the immediate conflict. The action scenes are swell, the CGI is great, and I could even mostly stand Nicole Kidman. Good stuff, Maynard!

After the flick, we came home for dinner and TCB. Another uneventful day - I could get used to these.

Hey, if Soapy gets tired of the bus, maybe he can commute on one of these!

*Aside to Neds: Man, do they ever drive this repositioned title home with a sledgehammer!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

By the light of the silvery moon

I just finished a cuppa joe and a cranberry biscotto. Today has been a sleepy, lie-in sort of day, and I expect to be up for a while anyway.

The biscotto came courtesy of Dingo, who stopped by tonight to grace us with her presence and her holiday treats - the biscotti and some companion fudge! She stayed for some salad while we had dinner and sometime tea afterwards, and it all made for a very pleasant evening.

Dingo's visit was the highlight of the day. We waited around for the snow that never came to do some frolicking. At one point, we tried to take a walk, but the cold rain was pretty unpleasant, so we even cut that short. Just lots of TCB and napping - a good vacation day.

In the interest of pithiness in yesterday's post, I left out that we had dinner up at the Putnam Compound in LFP, extending the holiday revels into another day. I left for work in the morning and Otis headed out after lunch, and we met up in the northlands for the festivities.

When Otis had headed out, she left both cats inside; when we got back in late evening, Selkie was outside to greet us. He apparently made like an acrocat and got down from the second floor balcony. We'll see how this develops.

Fun stuff department:

I actually managed to get something off my creative projects list this break: Here is my spanking new Pirate Monkey Ninja Robot quiz. Which internet meme are you?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


So, yesterday was nice and mellow, just the way Isaac Newton's Birthday ought to be. Otis slept in until mid-morning, and then we made a splendid INBreakfast.

After breakfast came a brisk walk 'round the lake to visit Sage the cat. Just as we were returning, the snow started falling. It took a while to get really rolling, but then it turned into a nice little snowstorm for us to enjoy.

The snow wasn't enough to deter us from heading up to Cap Hill to join the Moveable Feast as it made its way from the apartment of Court2 to that of Eryk and Sylvio. We settled ourselves in among the gazillion plants to enjoy the shank of the day, from lemoncello shots to spicy corn chowder, with these fine folks and Johnbai, Dingo, and Yohanna. (Soapy and Stella (and my sister) joined in through the miracle of wireless telephony.)

After heading home (in the rain), we watched Spirited Away, a film that, while almost universally hailed as Miyazaki's masterpiece, left both Otis and I feeling pretty flat in regards to character motivation and identification. It was pretty trippy, though.


Today, I went to my office on campus to work on syllabi for next quarter. Humph.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Isaac Newton's Birthday!

I'm having tea and listening to the radio; Otis is enjoying a bit of a sleep-in, so I thought I'd jot a quick post.

We've been pretty much occupied with getting the house back into shape since the workshop. We took time out to watch the Night Gallery pilot (courtesy Yojimbo) Sunday night; it brought back fond memories fore me, but Otis is still undecided about the whole thing.

Yesterday was mostly cleaning and shopping and suchlike fussiness before heading off to a Christmas Eve dinner with the Putnam clan at Tamarind Tree. (And you know, those Tamarind Tree Rolls are always the best thing evar.) After dinner, we headed up to Wallingford to catch Sweeney Todd, a perfect holiday season movie. I liked it about as much as I did the stage production (which is to say a little, but not a lot) and thought Burton did a good job of translating the show to the screen (although I thought the character make-up was a little overdone).

Today should be a quiet day; we may join the Cap Hill gang for a meal later, and Stella may be cruising through on her way to and/or from Oregon, but otherwise we have no plans for anything terribly exciting. I hope your day is whatever you would like it to be.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Another day, another coffee shop

This time I am coming to you from World Cup, a coffee shop cum wine bar just down the street a piece here in the RD. Otis is off having day with visiting-from-SF brother, so I came down here to "get some stuff done" and "work on my syllabi." Heh.

Yesterday, Otis had her first-ever creativity workshop, and we'll put this one in the win column; Otis talks about it here. From my perspective, the event included a lot of disarray during the prep phase, so I left the house early to keep from sticking my OCD mitts in where they weren't needed.

I took off and did the cat-sitting thing (which involved actually sitting with a cat, as a matter of fact - we watched some TV together) and then stopped at the lube joint to get some windshield washer fluid, which either (a) they forgot to top off when I got my oil changed yesterday (as I and the manager thought) or (b) all drained out through a leak in less than 24 hours (which the service-guy said had happened). Oh-kay.

After that, I made the incredibly long journey all the way out to the wilds of West Seattle to see Neds. I thought I might be just popping in, but after my tiring trek, we sort of made an outing of it. The rain stopped, so we took a walk along the Lincoln Park beach trail, heading to the south end of the park and past the ferry slip, and to a place called Joe's for lunch (well, I had breakfast, but it was early afternoon, so split the difference). It was a good leg-stretch, after which we spent a bit of a lazy afternoon messing about with computers and telling lies to each other and looking at the great view of the water through the living room windows.

I headed back north and got home in time to take Otis for a celebratory dinner after the workshop. A couple burritos and a few coronas later, we weaved (wove?) our way back home, and the rest of the evening is pretty blurry. I know there was music on, and some comics blogging happened, and some other stuff, and we didn't get to bed until after midnight. Good times!

A Sci Fi Sounds Quiz: Identify sounds from science fiction movies and TV. Yojimbo has already gotten the first three right and he hasn't even clicked the link yet.

Isn't this cool?

Here's the website of Evil Mad Scientist, the guy what done this.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Big day/just like old times

Wow, this was the kind of day to have! Up early, getting active, having brekkies, hanging about. A little jaunt to the U-district for lunch and Kinko's. Out and about in the world while Otis worked - TCB, car stuff, some fun (new CD player!), some not (oil change). Comic book store! Then, a visit from the Sugar Cookie King - aka Farmer Scott (in his seasonal identity). Up to Shoreline to join Dingo, Eryk, Sylvio, and Johnbai for the evening showing of Lars and the Real Girl (a surprisingly affecting story about the power of kindness). Down to 3PB/R for coffees and convo.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Another new venue

We are coming to you live (at 7:37 PM PDT) from Gula, a bubble tea, espresso, and snack emporium in University Village (the neighborhood, not the shopping center). Lots of outlets and it's open until midnight!

Fall quarter is officially over - all my assessments have been submitted and I have clapped the erasers. Now, on to Winter 2008 - and I'm glad I haven't done too much prep work yet, because it looks like my classes may be changing a bit. The hybrids don't seem to be filling, so I may be back in a F2F class instead. We'll see how that goes.

Besides finishing the assessments today, I didn't get much done of consequence. Otis and I took a walk, and we started get the house ready for her workshop on Saturday, and I had a nice iChat with Wheylona (even though her camera still wasn't working, so I couldn't see her smiling face). I continued to do computer clean-up, turning this machine into my main workstation and relegating the old one to photo album / weather report duty. Jon of Monmouth turned me on to NeoOffice, an OSX-open source software suite that looks to free me from MS Office. I've downloaded it and it seems to be working just swell. And how man words do you know that contain the sequence of letters 00ff?* Yay!

You may notice a new banner in the sidebar there. That site so accurately captures my feelings about this time of year that I felt I needed to highlight it, and here's another link to the Christmas Resistance Movement just for good measure. Join the movement!

In that vein, here's the trailer for Morgan Spurlock's latest, What Would Jesus Buy?:

Happy Holidays!

*Here's a real quiz for ya: what common word contains the letter sequence ookkee?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Now there's something unexpected

Teddy Grahams Justice League Unlimited Graham Snacks come in the shape of belly-shirt Supergirl. Hunh.

Got all my assessments but one finished today; I will finish that one and upload them all tomorrow morning, about 36 hours ahead of deadline, so I couldn't have procrastinated all that much, eh?

We had our new dishwasher installed today. It was a simple process that took less than a half-hour; now there's one more glowing light in the darkness of the room.

Otis got a burst of inspiration today and has been cleaning up her creative messes right and left.

I had a nice video chat with Jon of Monmouth, who was looking as well as a man can who's pining for his sons who are on holiday with their mother.

I was in two different Fred Meyerses today, and drove past a third. Those are almost toxic levels, no?

Sage the cat looks just like Selkie the cat coated in cinnamon. We will be watching her this weekend (elsewhere).

Things are afoot!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Rainy day recess

Well, this is more like it! After that November that came from who knows where -- San Diego? someplace sunny, anyway -- December has settled nicely into a more expected meteorological pattern: rainy, cold, and gray. Hooray for consistency!

Had a nice evening yesterday, meeting Soapy for pho in Ballard on the eve of his new gig. After dinner, we braved the wilds of the east side so Otis could get some supplies for her art workshop this weekend. It actually wasn't too bad, even though we had to follow our noses to the particular store: traffic, both vehicular and consumer, was only moderately heavy.

Today was low key. Otis had a couple of appointments; I stayed home, but real quiet-like, working on the second chunk of my last stack of assessing (got it done, too). We had a visit from NatDog in the afternoon, made a trip to Bartell's, and watched The Tao of Steve after dinner (it wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be).


Oooh - I forgot to mention: On Sunday, I had a nice long video-Skype-call with Sachet! It was really cool to see her snuggled on her couch in Montreal while we caught up on news and stuff - we talked for almost an hour! She has a lot going on, for a bookworm doctoral candidate living like a churchmouse. I imagine she is in Paree by now - bon chance!


Speaking of Paris, someone among our linguistically-inclined number can surely translate this cool song from this cool movie:


T'other day, we didn't go to pho for lunch, partially because a pal of Johnbai's told us that the Cap Hill Than Bros had had some health department problems. Well, here's the tale o' the tape, as it were. Brrrr.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Tully's of a different color

This is not the Wallingford Tully's, but rather the Cap Hill Tully's. I was out and about, and my fiscal erranding took less time than I thought, and I don't want to go home cuz Otis has an appointment, and no one is around to hang with cuz it's a work day for reg'lar folks, so I came here to do this.

We didn't do pho yesterday after all; Johnbai went off with his buddies, Trots went home, and Otis and I went to Chaco Canyon for veggie/vegan/raw food. It was good, but not terribly substantial. Otis did a little business supply shopping and then we passed the rest of the day at home, passing up the Xmas Film Fest at Cal and Merry's. We did, however, have a drive-by visit from Yojimbo, who was on his way to PDX. He provided me with a thick comics magazine to read and cookies to eat while I read it. A human cornucopia is what he is!

Today was a bit of a work day: I broke my last stack into bite-size chunks and finished my quota this morning. A short stint is easier to start as well as finish.

So: maybe pho tonight!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Back in the cafe again

So, Operation Laptop has been successful: I am blogging to you from the Wallingford Tully's, a practice which is becoming common, if not traditional.

Otis has some appointments this morning, so I took a walk through the crisp morning to camp out in the relatively empty spaces here at the cafe. I migrated a bunch of stuff from the ol' desklamp to this new machine last night, so much of the morning has been taken up with organizing files and Getting Things in Order. I have made the decision just to make this my primary computer for work and home business: the old one is becoming the photo scrapbook, quick internet connection, and back-up server. We'll see how it works.

Otis bit the bullet and got her business a new iMac yesterday. She had some legacy money and thought it would be an appropriate investment to make (or she was just envious of my shiny new box). So, we made another trip to the U-book store and geeked out some more last night.

We did take a break to head over to Ballard for the festivities marking Darcerama's birthday. J-Force was there and about a jillion folks from library-land, sharing Thai food and fun.

We made an early night of it since Otis still isn't feeling 100% after her recent sickiness.

Which brings me back to my morning, which, in addition to computing, has included appearances by Trots (who is sitting next to me working on her own MacBook Pro) and Johnbai (who stopped in for a visit on his way to football-watching down the street at Goldie's). I'm expecting a video-call from Otis any time now, and we'll move into the next phase of this groovy Sunday: pho!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Virgin post

I am blogging at you from my brand-spankin'-new 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1 GB RAM, 120 GB HD MacBook. The University Bookstore was having a blowout on last month's model, so I picked this up for a relative song (Begin the Beguine by Cole Porter) and its charge is to replace the functionality of both my old workhorse desklamp G4 iMac and my suddenly-demised, too-complicated-to-revive G3 iBook. She is a swingin' machine, and has been named Diana in honor of her namesake, Agent Diana Prince:

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

So, Thursday, I sent a lot of time doing school stuff even though I was on break. First, I had to head down to Antioch to TCB there, and then I had a lunch meeting with my tenure cohort from Cascadia to deal with some administrivial issues that needed our response. Sheesh!

I got home in the afternoon to find Otis in full frenzy mode, preparing for the Art Show, so I rolled up my sleeves and joined in. It all turned out great in the end: the show was a smashing success, professionally and socially, but I'll let Otis talk about that on her blog.

So, Friday, I had to go into Cascadia for a (pre-planned) prep day, working with Stella on developing our syllabi and checking in with our respective librarians to get things set up for next quarter. I came back in time to check in with Otis before she headed off to a writing group get-together; I was saved from a night of solitude by a phone call from Yojimbo. We hooked up in the U-district, where he watched me buy this laptop and presented me with my Diana Prince statuette / action figure / doll (and with another Martian Manhunter for the upstairs bathroom).

I could explain to you why this statue is significant, but in order to really understand, you would have to know about Wonder Woman, recognize her early history and how it has affected her status as one of the big three of DC comics (along with Superman and Batman), have been around for a period in the late sixties and early seventies when the character was depowered and turned into a Mrs. Peel clone cum women's liberation figurehead, know that she often wore a white jumpsuit in that era (as well as other "mod" clothes) and that the white jumpsuit has become iconic of that period, know that that period is usually ignored in the current continuity of comics, be aware of the custom of "ret-conning" comics (retroactively re-writing the fictional history of a character), understand how Wonder Woman has been ret-conned several times and have seen her most recent re-boot in which she appeared in this outfit in her civilian identity, and appreciate that that portrayal was a subtle wink to all those who remember that aforementioned forgotten era fondly. Only than could you understand why Yojimbo's giving me this particular plastic toy might have some specific meaning. In other words, to get the joke, I have to explain sixty years of comic book history.

I think we just broke the geek-o-meter.

Anyway, I got to see Yojimbo and make him spaghetti and talk about movies and stuff. And then Otis came home all giddy.

And now I have a new laptop!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Captain Video (and links)

I don't know about you, but I find this hilarious:

To continue the celebration of Neds's return:

(tip o' the hat to Mark Evanier)

For all the LMPs in the crowd: it could happen to you!

It's beginning to look a lot like World Week! (this might actually be cool - anyone up for a progressive celebration?)

(tip o' the hat to Will Shetterly)

A gentle and challenging game. (Click to change the color of the dots and try to keep the cat from wandering away.)

Off to brekkies and work. Real post later. The Art Show was grand.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Broken, but not bent

It sure felt like break yesterday! After my early-morning blog, Otis and I had some brekkies and took a walk around the Green Lake - bracing! For the rest of the day, we just TCB – Otis did her art stuff and left for a while to run errands, and I cleaned out my file drawer, which felt good, except that I couldn't find a particular document I was looking for.

Some time ago, I ran across in my papers a list of books, written in my handwriting, in blue ink, on an 8-1/2 by 11 inch piece of graph paper. I have no idea when I wrote this list, but it seemed to be a list of books that you would read to figure out the meaning of life. I put it aside, intending to investigate it further at a future date. Well, that future date is now, and I can't find the list in any of my folders of stuff to do or think about. I can't shake the feeling that I will never know the meaning of life because of this. But at least my files are in order.

The evening was crammed full of socializing. Otis came home for a bit and then headed out to her book club. I met J-Force for dinner; having her so nearby makes meeting up easy! When I got home, Johnbai called and told me that he and Yojimbo were entering the coffee-drinking phase of their wild evening, so I hopped on a 66 and met them down at Coffee & Comics, where we had a swell ol’ time, once the Unbelievably Bad-Tempered Woman left the shop (she was nasty, man).

Now, here’s the thread that pulls this post together: during my file-cleaning, I found an artifact that concerns Young(er) Yojimbo! From a little more than fourteen years ago, I believe it might contain the first recorded time he demurred to discuss the “man falling down the stairs” story:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sleepin' in

Didn't get up until 7:30 today - what decadence! I uploaded my Cascadia grades while the server was slow this morning, so that quarter is officially closed. I can't completely look forward, since I still have my AUS stuff, but I'm whacking at the do-list pretty good (that sounds dirty, doesn't it?).

Yesterday was a long day, while I did that stuff with those people. I was gone a long time. When I got back, Otis had begun re-arranging the main floor for Thursday's show and was messing about with Art. She's really in a productive and creative phase right now, what with her book project and various art projects and her upcoming workshop and her general promotional/marketing activities on top of her bodywork. It's all good, but it's a little messy.

I have been trying to get some real "reading for pleasure" in on this break. I am just finishing Variable Star, the novel that Spider Robinson finished from Robert Heinlein's notes and outline. It's a pretty good approximation of mid-career Heinlein, although I think I preferred John Varley's hommage from a few years back, Red Thunder.

Gonna get some exercise in today (hopefully the start of a new regimen), take care of some errands, and see J-Force later. It's good to be on break, even with a do-list.

Monday, December 10, 2007

More good news, and some other news

I have completed 75% of my quarter-end work, and the quality is still running high. Good stuff. Now I have to decide if I want to get the rest done in one or two big pushes, or if I want to do just a wee bit each morning for a while.

The dishwasher repair guy came by today to check out the Non-Functioning Gear and said that he had never encountered a machine with as many problems at once as the one we had. The repair estimate was close to the cost of a new unit. It was nice to dump this one in the landlord's lap.

Otis's bother CE has a dead laptop that has a good logic board. My laptop is dead because the logic board is fried. If we transport his logic board to my laptop, it will live, live, I tell you! I scoped out a DIY site and it's only, like, a hundred-step process with thirty screws involved that requires four different tools, including a "spudger." Yeah, I figure twenty minutes, in and out. Actually, the shop estimated two to four hours, so I think we may need to set a weekend aside.

Don't forget Otis's art show this week!

I got a thing to do tomorrow with some people, and then I'm going to do it again with some other people in three and a half weeks. Who knows what may come of this?

Oh - both cats have successfully used the new cat door on their own with no prompting from us! Eight more times and it's a habit.

Otis like her new hat. I think it brings out the green in her eyes:

Sunday, December 09, 2007


Professional: I just finished the second stack of papers that I needed to read and assess (and grade) this quarter. I am not only happy to be fifty percent finished with my pile of papers (yay!), but also I am pleased overall with the quality of the work I have read so far. Many students have actually demonstrated growth and development; i.e., their final papers are noticeably and significantly better than then their early papers. Holey Moley! What's going on here? Actual learning? Maybe even some teaching? Whatever, it’s gratifying and puts a sweet final spin on what has been in many ways a fairly dismal quarter.

Social: After getting work done yesterday, I didn't quite have time to join NatDog and TomTom for the Green Lake Luminaria Walk, so I settled for a quick jaunt to the closest comics shop. Otis got home not-too-late from a family visit to LFP and then we headed out to the wilds of West Seattle* for Neds’s housewarming. The house had already been warmed by the time of our late arrival, and it turns out that Dingo found quite a jewel for Neds: you cannot beat her site and situation, and the apartment itself is charming. Merry was made, including a visit to the nearby beach from some lighted boats carrying people celebrating a religious holiday with songs.

Technological: There may be a low-impact solution to the Great Laptop Disaster of Ought-seven; details when and if they develop.

Spiritual: I have felt a little off-center lately; less grounded than I like to be and bit wobbly. Some alone time (including my focused grading time) seems to have helped a bit; I feel like I am getting closer to an evenness that I seek. So, that’s good.

Culinary: Otis made a really good Mexican tomato, rice, and corn soup for lunch. Mmmm.

*I am working on an analogy between Seattle and New York City. Ballard has always been Brooklyn; last night, I decided that West Seattle was Staten Island. I think perhaps Sodo and environs is The Bronx and north of ship canal Queens. That leaves the rest as Manhattan, I guess. Of course, this is meaningless to anyone who hasn't lived in the city, so…

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Notes from the dark

The cat-claws-in-toes alarm went off a little early today, and even though I snoozed it, I am still here in the early dark - and clutter. Winter always involves more stuff than other seasons, dunnit? There’s hats and scarves and gloves and stuff all over, adding to the piles of portfolios (of which more later). The house is cold, but I am warming it up; it’s been getting pretty chilly at night, and they’re talking about it dipping down in the twenties tonight. Winter’s definitely here!

Anyway, this ragged quarter has come to a raggedy close. The College had a late start on Tuesday as a result of the flooding up north, so my only class that day was canceled, but I didn't make as good use of the at-home time as I could have. I had my last Antioch class that night, and it ran to the very last minute with all the stuff we still had to do.

Wednesday was a fairly easy day at school – just last-minute catch-up in my 101 sections (along with an impromptu piano recital in the morning) – and the rest of the day was consumed by Otis’s birthday (see prior post).

Thursday was my last class at Cascadia, and it, too, was jam-packed, since the Tuesday session had been cancelled. At the end of all this period, I had developed four stacks of 20-25 portfolios to review, one from each class, so of course the next order of business was to go to lunch. We had a good decompression session with a gang from school, although everyone seemed a little punchy.

Otis had a writing group Thursday, with a little home-baked birthday treat from Kris-10. Here’s Otis doing her best Rachel Ray impression:

Thursday night, Otis was deep into her writing, so after a quick dinner of leftovers, she dove back into her work and I took off to look for some technology. As I have mentioned, my laptop went from high-tech tool to paperweight in a matter of minutes when the logic board fried out. I can put the entire purchase price back into it to revive it, or I can start making new choices. One of the options I am considering is a super-phone: a mobile that will let me surf the Internet and blog and stuff (I used a Sidekick back in the day when I was in transition from Spokane to Seattle and it was pretty cool). So I took off for the T-Mobile store and played with some stuff – the new Sidekick, the Blackberry Pearl, and the Wing. It was more interesting than exciting: I don't think the technology is quite where I want it yet, although the Wing will do Word, Excel and PowerPoint as well as email and Internet browsing. The situation is still unclear.

Friday I went onto campus to clean up and get some grading done; once again, productivity was lower than planned, so this weekend will have to show some results.

Last night was the public celebration of Otis’s birthday, and public it was! We took over a big table at the teapot and filled it with Dingo, Johnbai, Soapy, Neds, Kris-10 & Rye-N, NatDog, and Stella! There was much food and convo; so much so that when the meal was done we moved the feast downstairs to Remedy Teas, replaced K & R with Sylvio and O, and continued over teas and goodies (including toast tartare for me). Otis, resplendent in red, grew more and more colorful as the night went on, adding a scarf of socks (from Dingo) and a newly-knitted hat (from O) to her ensemble. The gang was great and the birthday bash closed with a bang.

Here's some of the goofiness:

Otis had to wait a while for her entree, so she was ready to eat!

I really don't know what she was up to here.

Doesn't Johnbai look just like one of those puppies that always comes too close to the TV camera during a human interest story on animal shelters?

NatDog could barely restrain her road rage after fighting her way through traffic.

Since I didn't get a hat, I had to improvise.

And a good time was had...

Now it’s off to work ‘n’ stuff all day, so we can head to Neds’s housewarming tonight with a clear conscience.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

from t-mobile

Blogging from the store on a sidekick!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

It's Otis's birthday...

... and that's oh-kay!

Happy, happy birthday, baby!

Update, 9:50 pm:

After classes today, Otis and I did a little cebrelating!

First off: Iron Diners at Bamboo Garden:

We needed that grim determination to tackle the Sizzling Skewers... of Doom!

Fakon, chick'n, soysage, and peppers in a peanut sauce.

After dinner, we headed up to Seven Gables to see Darjeeling Limited. We both thought it was Wes Anderson's best work to date: more sincere, less ironic, and more complex. A good film.

Otis received wireless birthday wishes all night.

Then it was home for a little party!

No cake, but a cookie and leftover pie served just fine.

There you have it - life in the fast lane! Happy Birthday, Otis!

Monday, December 03, 2007

A big mess all around

So, what about this rain, eh? I had about 50% attendance in both my 8:45 am class and my 1:15 pm class, and the College suspended operations at 3:30 pm. Otis and I watched some spectrated local news when I got home in the afternoon – wonderful images of flooding rivers and washed-out roads and flooded duplexes and and that sort of stuff. It seems like it is a genuine Big Deal, although we don't feel at all affected here in the RD. Stella was out throwing sandbags for the city of Bothell – I’m wondering about morning class tomorrow. Hope ya’ll are snug and dry wherever you are.

I ran into a mess of a different sort today: my little Craig’s List laptop seems to have crapped out. It sort of hung up, and when I tried to restart, it was unresponsive. I jumped onto the intarweb with the desktop and found some solutions that seemed to work; I got it going normally only to have it die again less than an hour later. This time it was exhibiting signs that what had happened was a Very Bad Thing Indeed.

Update: The iBook is exhibiting all the signs of a bad logic board, and its serial number places it in a batch of units with dicky logic boards. Apple had a program to replace logic boards in these units for free; unfortunately, the program ended in July.

I’m not sure how much money and energy I want to devote to the iBook anyway; I have about pushed both of my machines to the bleeding edge of their capabilities, and I think it might be time for a new box. The question then is, of course, which box? Presuming there are some resources, I could get a brand new MacBook and use it as my sole computer. I could get a new iMac desktop, sell my old iMac, and get another used iBook. I could get a new iMac and a cheap new PC laptop. I could get a new iMac and not-quite-as-cheap Tablet PC (which would be handy for school). I could get a new iMac and a Sidekick or Blackberry.

Arrrgh. I like things not to change.

I discussed all this (and much, much more!) with Jon of Monmouth this evening through the miracle of wireless telephony. It was good to check in with him, especially as his presence in the blogosphere has been limited as of late – although that may be changing, at least for the discerning subscriber! He was hale and hearty and full of piss and vinegar.

Speaking of pals, Trots sends along this link to an article on Social Entrepreneurs. This seemed to tie in nicely with my recent observation about the number of entrepreneurial types in our little posse – especially considering the level of social consciousness that the group also exhibits.

And to Fazzledazzle: since we got Neds back, the least we can do is let her old pals hear about her! Now maybe we’ll get to meet you in person when you come out for a visit. I hear the new place was painted over the weekend (by Herself and Dingo) and there are rumors of a housewarming next week…

There’s also another event next week: Otis’s art show. I think I misspoke and told some people it was this Thursday, but it’s not – it’s 13 December. Check out the news.

And lest we forget another event: Otis and I attended her brothers’ Crawlspace poetry reading last night. It was quite a spectacle, and the associated publication is a great book that had a 3-D cover and comes with glasses and CD. Order a copy for yourself here! Here’s a sample of the reading from that CD: “Number 2 – Snooze Button Jailbreak.”

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Winter wonderland

It's so nice to sit here in the matutinal dimness, drinking a cup of morning wake-up, looking out at the blanket of white covering the cityscape and listening to the gentle fall of flakes...

Except, of course, that it's just all wet 'n' gray out, as usual. Johnbai's Blizzard of yesterday afternoon turned into just another melange of precipitation events: fluffy snow, wet snow, bitter rain, plain rain, and so on. There might have been a golden hour or so when the scene had the look and feel of a snowstorm, but we soon returned to textbook form: variations on a theme in the key of soggy.

I think that Johnbai and I squandered that snowy hour in front of his computer, working on a script outline for his latest animated project. I think the time was well-spent and that we have laid the groundwork to seriously Bring the Funny in this little mash-up, but I wonder if it might not have profited our souls more just to walk around the neighborhood for a while and leave the geekishness for later. Nonetheless, it was cool to spend time with the big guy and to have the unexpected bonus of O's delightful company, too.

Otis had a no-show appointment yesterday and shifted into full-artist mode for most of the day. She had been working on collage pieces and a major writing project for the past few weeks, and I have had the pleasure of swimming in the creative ripples.

I did drag Otis away from her muse away for some socializing last night. We stopped by the annual soirée of ToniToneTony and Skippy and basked in the warmth of their hospitality for a while, snagging a few art cards - they are both photogs - and spending a little time with A-Wo and K-Kay (but no sign of J-Force!).

We had to abbreviate our visit to zip into the heart of Ballard to stop by the launch party for Kris-10's business venture, the Hugawug line of dolls and books. It was a great little party: Kris looked every inch the entrepreneur as she worked the room, Rye-N was of course on hand for tactical and emotional support, the food was good, the bartender had generous pours, and we even had a chance to hook up with some pals from Otis's end of the universe. There was a positive feeling surrounding the event and we wish Kris and her partner all good luck!

Today might have to include some schoolishness, but I may avoid it for one more day, realizing that all next work week (and into the weekend) will be taken up with assessment activities anyway. My goal is to have all of my grading and evaluation completed by 11:59 pm Monday December 10. Then all I have to worry about over the long break is developing four or five new syllabi. But that's kind of the fun part, anyway.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Weather report at then end of the universe

People have been talking, and they're using the s-word, so I thought I'd check out Steve Poole's weather forecast for this weekend. Here's the Reader's Digest Condensed version:

We have three separate significant weather events this weekend.

There is now a WINTER STORM WARNING for the Cascades from 10 a.m. Saturday through 4 p.m. Monday for as much as 2-3 feet of snow. Snow will reach the coast by morning and perhaps metro area by midday, with accumulations beginning in the afternoon and lasting through late evening hours, maybe Trace-3" as a general rule, or perhaps 2-4" north of Seattle and on the higher hilltops by midnight; even the Downtown Seattle area could see a little accumulating snow. Highs Saturday will only be in the mid 30s.

A second storm comes in Sunday late morning-to-midday, a warm, wet storm with gusts of 40-50 mph in the Puget Sound area, perhaps 55 along the coast and North Interior.

The "Big Kahuna" of the storms comes in quickly behind Storm No. 2 late Sunday night through Monday: wind along the coast could reach up to 80 mph, with seas of 36 feet. The North Interior could see winds of 55-65 mph in gusts, while the Puget Sound area will be noticeably windy with gusts to 45-50 mph. We're looking at heavy rain: 6-10 inches of rain on the southern Olympic side, so Olympic-Mountain fed rivers could see some flooding, and we could see some local urban flooding problems as well.

Yeesh, what a mess! At least it looks like it will subside in time for my students to hand in their final papers -- I would hate to have to make special arrangement to collect those. But it looks like the snow will be in full force during the social hour on Saturday, when Otis and I are supposed to be in Ballard for not one but two different celebrations. Maybe we'll walk there.

Otis was still too punked up to do much tonight, so we had to pass on a visit from Yoijimbo, drat the luck.

We did watch THX-1138, the special edition. George Lucas's first major directorial effort is interesting more as a curiosity than a compelling work: it seems dated, simplistic, and curiously tentative. The art design is still wonderful to look at, but I don't know why Lucas feels compelled to retrofit all his movies with unnecessary CGI just because he can.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


That last post was number 777, a kind of spooky number, so here's another one, all picturey and stuff.

I had occasion to get cleaned up today. Not bad, really:

Herr Doktor Walakus

Of course, it was soon back to Sweatpants Nation:

Some guy

We got the Brookstone Catalogue today, full of expensive doo-dads for people with more money than they need and not enough places to spend it:

Most egregiously useless appliance

This is mostly for Yojimbo, but wasn't this story made into a TV-movie for KCTS a long while back? by some guy from KIRO?

I think it was a Russian folk tale

A number of people asked about the pumcake recipe we used this year. I could have pointed you at the website, but I wanted to stick with the theme and post a picture of the index card actually used in the prep:

Yummy pumcake recipe

There are the pictures - I wish I could say that Otis was back to picture-perfect, but her cold is hanging on tighter than Eva Marie Saint to Cary Grant. We took a little excursion out here to World Cup, but only after she fortified herself with some Big Bowl Noodle House Clear Broth Tofu with Wide Noodles, 3*. I think she's turned the corner, though.

Brekkie blog

I got up early today to enjoy the pre-dawn chill and darkness, dispelling one with Sachet's heat-dish and the other with my bright disposition. Dishes are done and bag is packed and the day is ready to unfold itself before me.

It's the calm before the storm, or more like the pause before the clunk right now. Classes are in their final phases, so students are giving presentations and revising final drafts; there's not much performative demanded of me right now. But I know that by Tuesday evening, I will have amassed a pile of 90 portfolios that will require reading and assessing. It's a lighter load than I have had some quarters, but still formidable.

It appears that Neds had found digs - rumor puts her in the wilds of West Seattle, with the waters of Elliot Bay gently lapping at her apartment door. Can't wait to see it.*

Old pal JJ, long since relocated to the even wilder wilds of Wisconsin, has a blog! Looks like she'll be making a trip back for a visit soon.

Big weekend coming up, with a soiree, a launch, and a reading, and a meeting-packed Friday on the agenda, so I'd best get the day in gear.

*Rumor also says Dingo should get a finder's fee.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Scotty's a daddy!

to mother, father,
and the newest little vagabond

Isabella Raven!

Monday, November 26, 2007

In'valid but not inval'id

Otis is still a sicky mess. Whatever bug she caught just before Thanksgiving is still pounding at her system, so Sunday was a low-key day, featuring a short walk in the sunshine, a trip to Thanh Bros for some dinner-time Pho, and a lot of naps. I kept it on the dl, too - easy to do with little or no schoolwork to attend to! We watched Amelie again, and it was just as charming.

Today was my usual teaching day at the high school college, and I came home to make a nice salad/potatoes au gratin/field roast sausage dinner that seemed to fortify Otis pretty good.

Now were are just waiting (or hoping, depending on who you ask) for whatever snow the cold-cold weather is going to bring us. Here's the Zone Forecast from the National Weather Service: " TONIGHT...OCCASIONAL RAIN THIS EVENING TAPERING TO SHOWERS OVERNIGHT. A LITTLE SNOW POSSIBLE ON THE HIGHEST HILLS LATE. BREEZY. LOWS IN THE 30S..." Now, you or I might read that and think nothing more than "hmm." To Otis, there's clearly a strong chance of a White Tuesday tomorrow. It's sort of like the glass half empty/glass half full thing, only more like a maybe there's a few drops on the bottom/glass half full thing.*

The cats are still not using the cat-door. Mountie goes in and out without assistance occasionally; Selkie still needs a lot of encouragement, but he does go to the flap a lot, if not through it, so I guess that's something.

Hey - check it out: or pal Trots finished her first Seattle Marathon in 2:41! Pretty cool beans, eh? Congratulations! There's no pictures yet on the website, but we'll post when and if.

*To be fair, I think NatDog has a touch of this disorder as well...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The truth is a harsh mistress

So, last night at Cafe Vitta, we were discussing bus routes from the RD to upper Belltown, near Denny Park (like by Antioch and Brenneke). Dingo insisted that I could take a bus directly from Whole Foods to Belltown; Neds's dim memory supported this. I insisted that I had checked the map and could find no direct route.

Well, of course, I was wrong. The 66 runs right down Roosevelt almost directly to the target; the 72 gets me there from 15th and the 71 from University. Easy-peasy.

I had been working backwards from the Metro map itself; a check this morning revealed that the downtown insert does not highlight all routes traversing downtown, only the ones they consider "frequent" and suitable for moving around downtown itself. Some routes (like the 66) have little numbers but no colored lines and others (like the 72 and 71) are not shown at all.

So, my mistake, but good news as a result!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

More exhaustin'

So, yesterday, after posting, I went down to Safeco Field and picked up Neds at the bus stop. She had trundled up from Burien for her first tasting of hangin' with her peeps since returning to USian soil.

For excellence in hangin', we could do no better than Pho Cyclo, so that's where we two headed, to meet Dingo. (The potential presence of other peeps was supposed to have been a surprise, but that got all messed up.) After a longish lunch, we three made a trip to the T-Mobile store so Neds could get a USian wireless and then had a relaxing cuppa tea at Dingo's.

Dingo had a date with a plumber an unhandyman, so I took Neds off to the RD; we picked up Sickbed Otis at home and brought her out for a Sunlite Cafe dinner and a shopping spree at Bartell's before carting a sleepy Neds back to Burien. Yahoo! We even had time for a Fugitive (Otis's new passion) before falling asleep ourselves.

Today was almost as socialistic. I did manage to have a nice relaxing morning with the radio, but right after lunch Otis and I headed back up to Cap Hill to meet Dingo and Stella at The Egyptian for the matinée of Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. It was a compelling and disturbing film, with emotional weight and despair of Sophoclean proportions, detailing the self-destruction of family from greed, desperation, and violence. We loved it, even though it's not exactly the feel-good holiday movie of the year. Kudos to old man Sidney Lumet and the stellar cast - Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawk, Marisa Tomei, Albert Finney, and Rosemary Harris.

After the flick, we four stopped for a snack at Ballet and then made our way to the Value Village for a browse, meeting Neds in the process. We five then made our way to Cafe Vitta for coffee drink and convo until I had to bring the semi-invalid back home.

Man, I'm going to need a day off to recover from all these days off!

PS: Here's a picture of Otis from Thanksgiving that I forgot to post yesterday:

Friday, November 23, 2007

Growing more synapses in the hive mind

Thanksgiving Day was exhausting but grrrrrrreat!

I got up early to prep for the Pumcake Party, but it turned out we didn't have any doorbusters and the action didn't kick in until nearly ten. Then it all seemed to explode doubleplus quick, and the house was full of revelers and carousers and and eaters and drinkers and talkers and laughers - just the way I like it. Volleyball players met volleyball players, cooks met cooks, travelers met tourists, and Connections were Made. We even tried to have Wheylona as a virtual guest, but neither Skype nor iChat were working properly. All the while, the flapjacks and soysages were flying fast and furious, with pumpkin and coconut tied in popularity this year. Coffee ran in rivers, while the champagne stood neglected for a long time - go figure!

Notable stats:

One toddler.
Two verified hangovers.
Three members of Sweatpants Nation.
Four English teachers (but never all at once).

Total body count: a score and a quarter:

Ms. Matcha
Jimmy the K
A and C, The K-men

Only first-comer Phyl got to see it looking this neat...

Taking a few practice swings before the game - batter up! (Get it?)

The Full Belly Project got some press, and Johnbai finally got some confirmation from the blogosphere to bolster his foundering self-esteem.

Surfer-T had his hand full with BabyKoa.

O stitched a bit but never bitched.

Cute couple, part one: Tom-Tom and NatDog

Cute couple, part two: Eryk and Sylvio

They arrived late, but I saved Stella and Yito soysages, just as I had promised.

Shock and awe - something was troubling Yito and Otis during the event!

And the day wasn't over!

When the crowd was finally dissipated at about2:00 pm, Otis and I geared up to be guests, not hosts, up at the traditional Putnam Thanksgiving up in LFP. We packed Otis's double-yummy vegetarian gravy and dressing, some peach lambic, and assorted doo-dads, and got up there at about 3:30, after a nice empty-streets holiday drive. What followed was the Arrival of Kith and Kin (including BabyNick); the totally sweet Presentation of Thanks, from Otis, to and for everyone present; the Groaning Board, with all sorts of goodies in the Custom; the Plethora of Dessert, featuring the famous Tevanberry Pie; and, of course, the Drinking of Coffee.

It was a great gathering and great meal, and at the end of it, we packed all sorts of tupperware-like containers (the afore-mentioned doo-dadia) and trundled ourselves home for some black and white television and sleep, which knits the raveled care of woe.

I got up early this morning to re-assemble the house; our dishwasher picked a fine time to konk out (the service person is coming Monday), so I had a wonderful, old-fashioned, sudsy time of it. Unfortunately, Otis's cold/sore throat/whatever seems to have gotten a bit worse, or it's just revealing itself after she tanked up on drugs yesterday, but whatever the case, she was exempted from clean-up duty (yay!) but will prolly spend the day in bed (boo!). Me, I'm going out, even though it looks like I'll need my longies.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Day

While I am here and now, being thankful for the early morning still before what will be a fun and festive day, my mind rolled back to Thanksgiving Days past, when I was a kid, and thought less about the wonder of my privileged (and problematic) life and more about turkey, toys, and a long weekend off from school.

Growing up back in The City, the (pre-VHS, pre-DVD, pre-Bitorrent, only-source-for-old-movies) local TV could be counted on to play the same two movies each Thanksgiving. I can't recall if they were aired on Thursday or Friday, but I do remember that they never interfered with The Dinner and that I always enjoyed watching them.

This little operetta was a surreal trip, although the presence of Laurel and hardy was a bit confusing. The climactic battle between toy soldiers and bogeymen was thrilling!

The one, the only, the classic. It even had some of the scenes that were later cut out.

Nice memories, although it was a little disorienting to realize that as ancient as these films are, less time had passed between their making and my watching than has passed from my watching them then to my remembering now. Le sigh.

Whatever your happy memories are, I hope they come back to you today. Enjoy the holiday, and let us be thankful for all we have had and well as what he have.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Quick jabs

I notice I have not been posting as frequently since the full-time job started. Go figure.

The season has changed: I wore the longjohns with the kilt yesterday.

Neither of the cats has yet accepted the new cat-door-window as a viable method of ingrses and egress. We remain patient and hopeful.

We've been busy with Pumcake planning - lotsa RSVPs!

I found an interesting gizmo.

Hey, Neds is back! I had completely messed up the date, but the universe gave Dingo a reminder! Welcome back, sweets!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Up too late

Man, I have conferences tomorrow and should be going to bed, but what the heck, it'll be a short week.

Today's highlight was what Johnbai referred to as mancrafts. Otis and went up to Cap Hill to meet Johnbai use the workshop in Cal's building to assemble the cat-door window-insert that will give Selkie and Mountie access to the balcony for pooping (and other) purposes. Working together in a surprisingly effective manner, Johnbai and I (supervised by Cal and Otis) took mere minutes to plan, trim, pre-assemble, drill, cut, insert, and screw all the various bits and bobs into a working unit. A little application of weatherstripping when we got home and voila, here 'tis:

So far, each cat has managed one solo trip through the door; neither is completely comfortable with the arrangement yet, but Mountie seems a little more at ease than his senior partner. I have every confidence that it won't take them too long to get with the program.

After that, it was all anti-climax. Johnbai had some movie plans, but I think they fell through; we didn't go, at any rate. Because of all the odd doings, our schedule was all off, so we wound up grazing all day instead of having any real meals. Otis worked on bidness and I (surprise) read papers, but we had some time to relax, too. (Check out my comix blog for a post of more general interest, I think.)


Check out this quiz. It doesn't have a cool blog-graphic, but my results say I am Winter - The Ox

Psycho-physio profile: The Strategist; endomorphic with strong musculature; systemic thinker, appears aloof

Intrinsic Motivator: Seeing the Big Picture

Compatible Workouts: Body building, Ashtanga / Vinyasa yoga, martial arts, cardio-kickboxing, tennis, golf, swimming, Chen style T'ai Chi Ch'uan

Why Try T'ai Chi Ch'uan: More vigorous styles like Chen help Winters ward off the tendency toward "hibernating"

Like Indian Summers, Winters see things from a holistic point of view. They take their time gathering information, and once they see the whole picture, then they act decisively. Winters are patient listeners —not necessarily to understand another's emotions like Indian Summers, but to gather information. Some may perceive the inwardly directed Winter as aloof, even cynical, but more likely Winter is simply processing information and creating strategies for setting and attaining goals.

Winters tend to be larger boned endomorphs, sturdy and muscular; but may tend toward a slower metabolism. Winter wants to know, "What will this workout do for me? How will it fit in with everything else I'm doing?" A logical approach to working out, with a systematic schedule, is very effective for them. Early mornings make the best times for them to exercise. Especially as they get older, they settle into themselves like bears getting ready for hibernation. They need constant, regular stimulation, change and challenge. Tennis, fencing, swimming or martial arts are all recommended, as well as the more vigorous Eastern styles like Chen T'ai Chi or Ashtanga yoga.

And here's a real widget:

cash advance

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tonight was going to be a solo night for me, but Otis is still feeling the after-effects of her diphtheria shot and decided to pass on the Jack Straw event she was going to go to tonight in favor of a less stimulating evening, so she's hanging out with me. No, wait, that didn't come out right...

Yesterday was a classic Long Day
®, so not much to report in the way of events or activities. Here are some quick hits:

Pumcakes are likely on there way again this year; expect an announcement.

J-Force has moved into new digs at the Green Lake Socialist Literary Collective. Best wishes for continued success in her new slot!

This is new pal NatDog's doggie pal Merlin up at Snow Lake. Woof!

For Wheylona: Coastal Kitchen is featuring some familiar food!

Photo credit: Yojimbo