Monday, March 31, 2008


... only cuz the soundtrack from Fantasia is playing as I write this...

Well, it was work-time today! Otis headed off to a writing group, so NatDog* came over and we prepped syllabi for a chunk of the morning before she headed back to ill (hungover?) Tom-Tom at lunchtime.

Otis and I made an expedition ofthe afternoon, trekking up to Volunteer Park to enjoy some of the surprising sunshine today. We wandered off into the cemetery, to look at the Lees' graves (first time since GeekFest One, so long ago) and to enjoy the quiet. Here are some snaps:

Some graves get flowers... this one reminded me of Johnbai in both subject and composition. (Click to embiggen.)

Variant spelling, but nonetheless...

Otis thought this name was funny worthy of note...

Spooky cemetery eyes...

After the graveyard shift and some Cap Hill TCB, we headed over to Ballet for dinner, and were joined by Dingo, Johnbai, and O for some impromptu camaraderie, snug away from the hailsleetsnowrain that followed when the sun went away. It was just the kind of spontaneous connection with people I care about that can just make my day.

*NatDog's name came up in the convo at dinner and she was on the receiving end of little grief for her numerous guest appearances on this show. I checked, and this will make her sixth supporting role in the last ten episodes, so make of that what you will.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dig the gourmet victuals

So, what should we call this?

Fillets of extra-firm tofu, steeped in a tangy peanut-barbecue marinade and quick-fried

Oven-roasted bias-cut sweet potatoes and yams with a sesame-honey glaze

Steamed fresh green beans and sweet onion with garlic

Grilled pineapple and semi-caramelized onion garnish

I had a pretty lazy day - out at Top Pot Wedgwood in the morning and home for work and housework in the afternoon. So, since Otis was at a meeting all afternoon, I decided to fix up a nice dinner - and only used ingredients that we already had at the house! It looked pretty, and tasted pretty good, too.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wilde night

We put The Swing Years and Beyond on after dinner and have hunkered down for this rainy Saturday night. Otis has been at her work station, making art and framing pieces already made. I have been reading and writing letters and generally chillaxing.

I was a wanderer today - Otis had a few appointments, so I wandered down to Tully's in Wallingford to do some of my work, and then browsed the T-Mobile store for a possible phone upgrade. (I didn't do it.) Neds was busy studying but Dingo and Syvlio were nearby at the U-District Farmers' market, so we hooked up for a bit, including a spot of lunch at a Trinidad-Indian cafe. (Don't know about the connection between Trinidad and India? Neither did we.)

Otis and I did our own wandering in the afternoon: art store and TJ's, where we scored a nice organic pizza and dressed it up for dinner.

Sometimes, you come across a story that actually makes you think there might be something to all this enlightenment stuff.

We all know how Cafepress will do just-in-time printing, but Ponoko does just-in-time manufacturing!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Well, that was nice break

So, I got up early this morning and uploaded the final group of assessments of winter quarter to the Antioch computer by 8:00 am or so.

At 1:00 pm, I was in my office on campus, working on syllabi for spring quarter.

Wow - a five-hour spring break! I did well this year.

Last night, Otis and I finally ogt around to watching The Squid and the Whale. We both really liked it. I came away with two main responses: one, it could be compared (favorably) to Igby Goes Down, only with neurosis in place of psychosis; and two, it was structured more like a long poem than a short story - there was a narrative arc, but not a lot of transitions or sequencing - it was more a series of moments or episodes. Well done movie-making all around, and I like Laura Linney more the more I see her.

Tonight, Otis and I had dinner up in Bothell with Jimmy the K and Jay - some good thai and great times catching up, especially since we missed most of the birthday bash the other week.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

24 little hours

and what happened?

Read some.
Did some assessments.
Slept some.
Was awakened at 4:3o am by a very sweet cat.
Slept a little more.
Got up and graded some more.
Had toast with Otis.
Did music stuff for a while.
Took a nap.
Went to the Les Schwab with NatDog.
Went to Nana's soup house with NatDog.
Brought soup home for Otis.
Graded some more.
Walked to the comic book store in the U District.
Bussed to the Tully's in Wallingford.
Emailed people needing emails.
Hooked up with Neds and shot the breeze.
Bussed back to the RD to have dinner with Stella and Mella and Otis at Jalisco's.
On the advice of Lon and Jules, tried the turning-off-the-water-main deal to fix our "singing pipes." (It appears to have worked - thanks L&J!)
Read some more.

Check out this cool traffic simulator and find out just how screwed we are in Seattle!

I hate whenever there's autoplaying audio that starts up when you visit a website (like on MySpace), but I swear, if and when I can get the first eight words of this video from Stan Lee clipped down, I'm gonna do it.

Stan Lee Greeting

Mostly for Yojimbo: Neil Armstrong's walk superimposed on a baseball diamond:

image via Strange Maps

Mostly for Johnbai: Steampunk Justice League:

image via Brass Goggles

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Taking a break from work

I am in the middle - almost literally - of a stack of assessments for Antioch that I have been working on most of the day at a fairly leisurely pace. I may zip along and finish them tonight, or I may do some tomorrow. I have about 48 hours to do about three hours work, so no worries.

I broke from assessing for lunch today and met up with a dear old pal that I haven't seen in some years - we realized that we met nineteen years ago and prolly hadn't seen each other for four! It was great to do some catching up, and to find that some folks with whom you resonated once haven't changed a whit, and that you still resonate with them. (It was also a weird coincidence that she suggested the Sunlight across the street before she knew where I was living these days.)

Otis spent her whole day up in LFP with Pater. That reminds me - if anyone else was interested in making a dish for the recuperee, send Otis a note and she'll give you the rundown. And thanks to all those you have donated soups, enchiladas, pot pies, ratatouille, &c. - y'all know how cool you are!

I should also remind you of Otis's Art Card Giveaway! Check out the Healing Nest post or the Quiet Girl link to the Healing Nest blog for details. Post a comment and enter to win, win, win!

Can Neds or Wendy tell me what's going on at this spooky blog, besides the obvious? (NSFW)

This article is mostly for O, but it does extol the Power of Pigs in Blankets, too.

Hey, check out this post I did on my comix blog. Does anyone else think that the commenter might have been the author to whom I was responding?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Laptop trifecta: Otis had a very busy schedule, with appointments spaced out all day. So, after brekkies, I headed out to do errands and stuff, and wound up hanging at 3PB/R doing some work. Then I came home for lunch and headed out again afterwards on a quest, after which I wound up at the Broadway Tully's, doing some more work. Then I came home for dinner, and hung about upstairs during Otis's last appointment, and now we are both out at the Cowen Park Grocery here in the RD, working together. Ain't wifi grand?

Last night, we tried to watch Winged Migration, but even though it was chock full o' birdies, it didn't catch Otis's fancy (unlike Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill or March of the Penguins). The bird photography was stunning, but the overall narrative seemed disjointed and the score was a bit uneven, and the whole thing didn't hold together.

Department of zeitgeist: Check out this link - you get the last fifty pictures uploaded to any LiveJournal. Hit refresh, and it does it again. Since there are like a gajillion emo LJers, it changes all the time, and you get a real instant snapshot of what's up at the moment.
Cool Aussies: John Clarke and Bryan Dawe are two Australian satirists. Clarke plays various public officials (without ever imitating or caricaturing them - he always talks the same) and Dawe is always the interviewer. I think their stuff is just great. Here's a piece on Iraq ...

Clarke and Dawe on Iraq strategies

... and here's one of the funniest things I have ever seen, from a while ago, after an oil spill off Western Australia. I'll use this in a critical thinking lesson soon.

I wonder if Stella is back from L.A. yet?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Quiet night at the ranch

There's a low-energy mood here in the RD tonight. Otis might be fighting a little sore throat, but I have no excuse. We're just drifting along on the tide of the evening.

Yesterday, we had a little festivation amid the rain and the housecleaning. Dingo and Neds came by to partake of some of Otis's homemade soup, bringing hearty bread and sharp cheese, respectively. It was just the right kind of warm-up -- both the meal and the company -- for a chilly and blustery afternoon. After dinner, we all took a little walk down the avenue and explored the live/work property that Otis would love but which we can't afford.

Today, Otis took herself to LFP for a day with Pater, and NatDog took me to campus to tie up some loose ends. (Said ends are all nicely knotted now and the Cascadia Winter quarter is officially over.)

I bussed back to LFP to meet Otis and we headed down to Tangletown to meet A-Wo to help him celebrate Kay-K's birthday at a Hawaiian-themed joint, complete with little umbrellas in the drinks (well, not in my PBR). Joining in the festivities were two other pals of the invisible couple, shown here and here in their virtual habitats. Nice folks.

There are birdies chirping in the living room, so I think Otis is watching a film.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Man, when I was up at kitty-time earlier, it was just tipping! It doesn't appear to be raining now, bit it sure is a soggy mess out there, and the skies do not bode well for any sunshine. Looks like we're in for a spell of some yuckiness, weather-wise.

Yesterday was a different story; it was not so bad when I was out walking while Otis had a morning appointment. I made a circuit that included stopping in at the University Farmers' Market: it's a bit too early in the season for a lot of interesting fresh stuff, but there were a few vendors open, and the food stands sure smelled good!

When I came back, we hooked up with NatDog and Tom-Tom again, this time for a little brunch over at the Sunlight before they went couch-hunting. (Otis has the furniture bug, too, but I'm looking to divest rather than acquire.)

We did boring stuff until stopping by at BabyNick's first birthday party. We were actually just at the pre-party, because we had to head up to Cap Hill for our second night and first real engagement in our D&D experiment.

I think we did a good job at getting out of the experience the good stuff that is supposed to be gotten. There was some appropriate roleplay and robust puzzle-solving, and the scenario was coherent and cohesive as well as interesting. A great deal of credit goes to Johnbai, who is an excellent and involved DM (even if he suffers from slight accent slippage between roles); he provided the basis for a great story. And my cohorts in geekdom, Otis, Neds, and Soapy, really got down with the concepts and made the experience rich and full while still having a good time in the RL portion of the evening. Hunh. Who'd have thought it?

Quick linky: I found this video on a comics blog and literally laughed out loud.

Crass commercialism:

I ran across this site again, the one that "evaluates" blogs monetarily. I ran the numbers for my blogroll, and here are the results:

HKC $3,951.78
LNTAM No result (too new?)
Viva! $6,209.94
Stave it off $1,693.62
Independence days $1,693.62
Ned Said $1,129.08
Quiet Girl $2,822.70
The Healing Nest $2,822.70
Tramps & Spivs $ 564.54
Unpublished Life $1,693.62 (on hiatus)
Low Coolant $3,387.24
Made in Japan No result
Sachet $1,129.08
Evanesce $1,129.08
Still Sipping $ 564.54
Life with Jon $2,258.16 (now membership only)
My Comix Blog $5,080.86

For comparison:

Daily Kos: $7,522,495.50
Post Secret: $6,895,291.56
Defective Yeti: $495,535.56

Friday, March 21, 2008

Some of the shouting

So, today NatDog and I carpooled drove me to work so we could do some of that end-of-quarter stuff: accepting late papers, grading, going to meetings, and so on. It was actually a decent day, made nicer by the unexpected sunshine.

After work, I hitched a ride home with Top Cat, and Otis and I futzed around in the later afternoon, cleaning the house and whatnot, until our dinner date - with NatDog and Tom-Tom!

We took them down to Bamboo Garden and introduced them to the joys of kosher vegetarian faux meat; our dinner saw the return of the awesome majesty of the Sizzling Skewers... of Doom! It was a great meal, and after a tour of West Queen Anne, Fremont, and Tangletown, the evening continued at home with tea and cat-hugs all around.

So the weekend - and spring break - begin with an upbeat!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Damn and blast

So, I just ran the numbers on my income taxes. It's not pretty. If I make the maximum deductible IRA contribution before April 15, it will shave almost $400 off my tax bill, but that still leaves a lot to pay. Oh, well. I knew it was coming, and other than the $700 million a day spent on the damn war and the fact that unlike most of the rest of the industrialized world we don't have universal health insurance, I don't really mind paying taxes.

My tax bill for 2008 should be a little lighter: I just got the news that my Spring comics class at Antioch has been cancelled for underenrollment. Poof - out the windows goes a chunk of income. Poof - say goodbye to the class I've been waiting to teach for a year. Le sigh.

Any good news? Well, I shaved my goatee. Here's the new look:

Yeah, I don't like it much either. I guess we can't put that one in the good news column.

But the sun came out today while Otis and I were in Edmonds to stop in at her pal Binky's showing in an art walk. That's gotta count, right? Right!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

All over but the shouting

I had my official last class of winter quarter of this afternoon - all sold, all done! Now, there's just this small matter of about 50 portfolios to review... which is really not bad, considering it could have been 120. (I lost a lot of students this quarter.)

Maybe I'll actually get a break this break. Too bad we're not going anywhere. We need to stik close to home for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is major spring cleaning.

We watched a NetFlik last night: the 1996 Billy Zane The Phantom. It's not a great movie by any means, but Zane is solid in the title role and Treat Williams just chews the place up wonderfully as the villain Xander Drax. The movie actually gets most of the Phantom mythos right - and the costume looks fantastic, with Zane so buff he didn't need plastic muscles:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke, RIP

I usually don't do obituaries, but this news made me particularly sad.

If I made a list of the top 100 influences on my life, Arthur Clarke would be high up on the list. I read out the collection of his works at the Brooklyn Pubic Library and found more where I could. When everyone was else was oohing and ahhing over Moorcock and Ellison and the New Wave, I was reveling in Clarke's straightforward, traditional hard-science, speculative fiction. Clarke brought the wonders of space exploration to life by using the grandeur of the solar system -- and the human spirit -- as a backdrop to quotidian affairs of real men and women. His civil-servant spacemen - mechanics and pilots and scientists and bureaucrats - accomplished the miraculous and the routine, sometimes at the same time. He showed me that courage, achievement, and greatness were not reserved for larger-than-life heroes alone, but rather were within the reach - or within the soul - of every person.

If he were only a writer, Clarke's place in history and our hearts wold already be guaranteed. But he was a visionary (instrumental in the development of the communications satellite and radar), an explorer (of the Great barrier Reef and other undersea sites), a humanitarian, and a thinker - a renaissance man for the modern age. And a braveheart man-in-skirt for thirty years!

Goodnight, Sir Arthur. May your sky be filled with stars.

AP News obit.

Missed a step...

Live blogging from 3PB/LFP with my special guest

NatDog is in the da house!

Nat is actually grading papers; I'm sort of grading and sort of, well, blogging.

So, where did Monday go?

I went onto campus to grade and teach, but that's not it...

I met Neds for dinner and a drink, but that's not it...

Oh, yeah, that's right -- I spent five bloody hours playing D&D at Johnbai's!

It was actually quite fun. Soapy, Neds, Otis and I created our characters and kitted ourselves out, with a lot of help from Johnbai (Soapy didn't need help, because he is the wisest wizard in the land). He made a fairly detailed map, we all had background character sketches, the books weren't too bad to wade through, and I think we built a pretty firm base to work with. After all the preliminary activities were finished, Dungeon Master John led us through a "dungeon delve," a little mini-adventure just to get used to the gameplay. I think we will be ready for the big show - as soon as we can set aside another huge chunk of hours during which we can lose all contact with the real world.

Stella invites us all to join a rather more physical conflict than the imaginary goblin-hunt from last night. She provides this news release:

Open Field Day Notice!
The SeattleGaels annual Open Field Day will be held Sunday, March 30th, Noon at Magnolia Field. There we will provide equipment and teach everybody Gaelic Football and Hurling. This is a perfect opportunity to learn the sport, ask every question in the book, play a friendly scrimmage and see if this is right for you. Mark the date down! Seattle Gaels.

Now, if you're not familiar with hurling, take a look at these:

The Hurling Match
by Martin Driscoll
(click image for an informative article)

Here's a clip of a club game in Massachusetts

And here's a poetic vision of the game from Guinness

So, who's up for this little adventure in mayhem?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Trying out layouts

I want to test some templates, but I need a Flickr-sized picture, so this post is just to hold one.


Man, I have been stumbling around for an hour or so. I was fleeing the house while Otis had an appointment, and it turned into one of those fruitless, take-the-the-freeway-then-realize-it's-backed-up, go-one-place-and-not-find-parking, go-another-place-that-doesn't have-what-you-want, go-another-place-that's closed, take-too-long, why-did-I-bother trips. Sheesh. So now I am in the Greenwood Tully's after a dispiriting tour of Downtown, Belltown, Queen Anne, Fremont, Ballard, and Crown Hill.


Yesterday evening we went up to the Chopstix in Everett for...

The 50th Birthday Celebration of Jimmy the K!

The event was a surprise for Jimmy, and Julia did such a great job of keeping him clueless that he was late for his own party.

It was sobering to realize that as old as Jimmy is, I have known him for half his life. We didn't get any pictures of the festivities, but here's one from another celebration long ago:

Like any good blogger, Jimmy has already posted about the event himself. Happy Birthday, Jimmy!

Sorry we didn't get to stay longer, but we had to hustle south for...

The Surprise Birthday Party for NatDog!

Another successful deception came to fruition when Tom-Tom walked NatDog into Salvatore's restaurant for a quiet birthday dinner and she was met by a table of pals old, new, and in-between. But pictures be worth thousands of words, so just enjoy the vid:

It was a great evening that was about 900 times longer than that video. Seriously - the surprisers were in place by 8:00, the surprisee was there by 8:30, and I think were all served by about 10:30 or so. That just gave us plenty of time to have a great night. Happy Birthday, Nat!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Week's end begins

Shortly after yesterday's post, NatDog came by for brunch before she and I headed up to campus for A Very Important Meeting. We managed to occupy most of the day with semi-fruitful work before Nat dropped me off at Camp Putnam on the way home.

Otis was already up in LFP, greeting Pater on his release from Virginia Mason Prison Hospital. Hurrahs were hurrahed and we fussed a bit getting everything set for his back-at-home before heading back to the RD.

We had a splendid dinner with Lon and Jules at the India Bistro. The food was great, but hanging out and swapping stories was the greater fun. Lon is working up to running a marathon; you can check out his progress on his weirdo "Windows Live Space" blog - he even includes a cool map once in a while.

After dinner, Otis and I left the cats on their own and headed back to LFP to spend the night - a little welcome-home slumber party. We slept well on a king-size guest bed, wondering how many cats it would take to feel crowded out (my answer: one). After a hearty breakfast, we came back home to while away a rainy day.

One of my whiles was a video chat with Wheylona. It was great to see and hear her after a long gap in communication. She's got all kinds of schemes and dreams afoot, so who knows what we'll hear from her next!

As I was started this post, I got a call from O, who was kicking around at loose ends, so I zipped on down to the U-District to meet her for a cuppa. After a couple of false starts, we settled on Nanung, and as I am typing these words, O is walking in:

Friday, March 14, 2008

Oh, my aching head

So, maybe the reason I hadn't mentioned my cold before was that I was trying to minimize it. That strategy seems to have broken down today; I couldn't breathe all night and came down to try to sleep sitting up on the couch. I finally got up about eight and still feel all woolly-headed. I have generally felt the worst overnight and better during the day; maybe I'll bounce back from this in a few hours as well.

Yesterday, Otis and I went up to the Putnam compound in LFP to help prep for Pater's return. I installed a wireless router and moved some furniture around (at Otis's direction) while she did some feng shui and cleaning. Thnaks for all the support of stuff and offers of food and time; we'll let you know.

I had to spend some time on campus and Otis and had some appointments, but we cleared all the decks for the evening, when Dingo and Neds came over for the evening, ostensibly to watch Call Northside 777, a cool 1948 Jimmy Stewart movie that is part film noir, part documentary, and still interesting, despite being a bit dated in its story of a reporter working to free an innocent man from prison. The Chicago locations and the excellent black-and-white photography make it a beautiful ( and beautifully ugly) movie to watch.*

The evening was rounded out by some general conversation, some pre-geek conversation about alignments and attributes that made Dingo's eyes glaze over, and some technical assistance that may herald of the Return of Myrna! Cool beans, indeed.

*The movie is noted for the appearance of Leonarde Keeler, one of the original developers of the polygraph,
(along with John Larson, the first Ph.D. cop in America, and William Marston, who also created Wonder Woman) as, of course, a polygraph examiner named Leonarde Keeler.
A brief intarweb search reveals that there may actually be an interesting movie in that story.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Not on the mini

Otis and I have our semi-regular late-night geek-date tonight, so I planned ahead and brought the full-size laptop to...

Caffe Ladro in Fremont! The dang bridge was closed, too, so we had to come by way of Ballard.

The Antioch quarter is over! The last class was tonight - pot luck along with presentations - and now it's all over but the assessing. Only 22 portfolios this time, for two classes - not too bad.

The forced march that is Winter Quarter at Cascadia continues to slog on for another week. I think I will have the uncommonly small total of 38 portfolios, for three classes.

All in all, a pretty light grading sequence for a pretty heavy teaching quarter.

I saw Vee today up at the campus library. She noticed that I had a cold and said "But you didn't mention it on your blog." So now I am mentioning it. Sniff, sniff.

There was a statistically improbable number of transient types on the 522 today. One particularly garrulous fellow was bending the ear of the college student sitting next to him; the listener was surprisingly polite and interested. When the hobo finally finished his tales of traveling from Arizona to Alaska and his adventures in Seattle, he asked the young man what he was studying. "Counseling" came the answer. Ah, yes, it makes sense now.

Okay, this guy has even Johnbai beat when it comes to things cruciverbal

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Today I worked and taught, blah, blah, blah.

More importantly, I sat at Top Pot Doughnuts in the afternoon, setting up a new D&D blog for us. Click here to go there.

I dunno about this campaign stuff - I thought I was in for a couple afternoons' worth of distraction and this is turning into a major deal. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I have to finish my character specs...

I did all my blogging on my new eeePC, that ultra-mini notebook computer I have been going on about. I found a guy on Craig's List over the weekend who was selling one cheap, so I snagged it. It will be great to take with me biking this summer.

I was going to post this video last night, cuz Johnbai is going to take his camera back soon, but it apparently doesn't charge while it's on (helpful hint!) and I had left it on, so it was out of juice. But it was all juiced up tonight, so here's some vid, to wit: the eeePC; the new el cheapo CD player; a cat; another cat; and Otis.

(I hope eveyone has heard the good news about Pater!)

Monday, March 10, 2008

The night of spending wildly

So, the day was fairly typical. I went to campus, did sidework, and held class. Otis went to a writing group and visited the hospital. NatDog gave me a ride home and Otis had some yummy quinoa and tofu waiting when I arrived. Then we started hemorrhaging money.

Our DVD player gave up the ghost after making threatening noises for a week or so. Ned had already reserved the hall for a Spectration, so we went out and got a new one. (They're actually cheap these days.)

Pater P might be coming home soon, so we need to get the Compund wirelessed up. We have a Linksys router, but the power pack is bad, and since I couldn't find another compatible power pack for love or money, we got a new router while we were at the big yellow big box. (They're actually not as expensive as one would think.)

Then we stopped at the grocery store on the way home, since we have been eating out a lot because we have no food in the house. Well, a benjamin-and-a-half later, we've got food. (Actually, twenty bucks of that is for ever-lovin' razor blades - sheesh!)

Ah, it could be worse.

Is anyone else really tired today? Is it the one-hour time change that's affecting us so much?

Wow, it seems that we have let the D&D genie out of the bottle! (Are there geneies in D&D? Probably djinns.) What with all the comments on blogs and separate emails flying around, this is turning into a major production... hmm, maybe we'll have to start a blog for it!

In this vein, here's a pretty comprehensive article in Wired about the game and its creators.

This one is mostly for Jon of Monmouth.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Big day, even an hour shorter

Okay, so staying up late last night prolly wasn't the best of ideas, considering we lost an hour's sleep last night. The good news is that the time change puts the cats' wake-up schedule a lot closer to mine. The bad news is that we lost an hour's sleep last night.

I was up fairly early, since I had an appointment in U-Village this morning to pick up a new toy tool. More on that when the time is ripe.

After a late breakfast (that wasn't quite as late to our tummies as it was to the clock), Otis and I walked down to the Metro to catch the matinee of Persepolis. Soapy met us in the theater for the show and then enjoyed some late lunch (that wasn't quite as... &c.) at Qdoba with us afterwards. (Has everyone heard about his cool new job?!) I posted a review (of sorts) of the movie on the comic blog, so check it out if you're interested.

The walk back deserved some nap time and some blogging time, and then Neds stopped in after some bidness nearby and we had another oddly-timed meal of take-away from Whole Foods. (We really need to do some grocery shopping.) Chatation ensued at length, but day is about done now.

It's back to the classroom tomorrow; most of the remaining meetings are presentations and peer reviews, so it'll be fairly low-energy until the portfolios start streaming in in about a week's time. Yee-haw!

Saturday, March 08, 2008


Yeah, I know I already posted today, but what the heck, that was hours ago. Otis is on an art jag, the radio is playing those swing classics, and I'm tossing back a PBR with my late-night delivery pizza, so I'm feeling expansive.

Did I lend my copy of Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer: The Beauty Supply District by Ben Katchor to anyone? I can't find it. It looks like this:

Shortly after the last post, I was met by Johnbai and, later, Dingo, up at the Tully's. Then, after dinner, Otis and I hooked up with Johnbai and Sachet at Pho Cyclo. I just love visiting, and it was great to get a chance to spend some time with our Canadienne pal. Too bad she's here for such a short stay. Otis said I got my social jones filled.

So, the recent spate of interest in D&D has persuaded Johnbai to dust off his rulebooks and play Dungeon Master for a game or two, if we can get three or four more players. I'll be bringing my Neutral Good Dwarf Bard self to the adventure; who else is up for it? (And no, I have never played D&D before in my life.)

Of course, if we do that, we'll have to make sure this doesn't happen to us.

Here's a picture of a Dwarf Bard:

Hey, don't forget: spring ahead at 2:00 am! We move to Daylight Savings Time overnight!

Ote and abote

Otis is working, so I am hanging out, up on Cap Hill, at the big T, after a walk to the U-D, an unsatisfactory veggie dog, and a stop at Zanadu.

Last night, Otis and I wended our way all the way out to West Seattle, not to see Ned, but to have dinner with b & c, who recently traded (up? out? over?) from their rehab condo in Fremont to a charming 1920s craftsman just across the Duwamish and up the hill from Georgetown (which c aptly described as "Belltown twenty years ago"). The house is cool, is on a large lot, and has a super view of the sunrise over the Cascades (and a peekaboo view of the Space Needle from the front yard that Johnbai could prolly see better than I could). There's a great converted garage in the back, and c is going to connect it to the main house (he's a professional carpenter/contractor, so that'll be easy enough).

After the house tour, we headed down to the Georgetown Liquor Company for dinner. The place has the absolute best vegetarian menu of any place I have ever been in Seattle - we each had something different, and it was all great. The ambiance is more loud bar than comfortable restaurant, but we found a relatively quiet corner and had a great time.

Unfortunately, the great dinner had us missing the Soiree for Sachet up at Johnbai's. We had even hoped to make a late appearance, but after dinner Otis was crashing from a long day and I was starting to get a cold, so we had to bail out. Maybe I will be lucky enough to see our favorite fleur-de-lis sometime today or tomorrow; I hope so.

Otis has sent out a mass email with the latest hospital news, so I am going to suspend updates, hoping it will be soon enough that they are obviated. Keep all positive superstitions active, please.

Here is A Video in which Amy Walker does a Little Tour of 21 Accents of English Speakers in 2 1/2 minutes, for a Dear Friend who has requested that Links all be Spelled Out.

I challenge Soapy to make and wear one of these.

This is a great example of sustained analysis: part one, part two.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Beany, but no weenie

I haven't posted a coffee shop picture in a while. This is The Green Bean, a cool, socially conscious, give-money-to-causes coffee house up in Greenwood. I am hanging out here while Otis is at her writing group, before we go out for dinner tonight.

While I was in Ballard, I went to the FedExKinkos to send a fax (how quaint!) and passed by a sign for Arcane Comics. I cruised by on the way back, surprised that there was a comic shop in town that I didn't know about! And it has been around for almost four years, so I have no excuse. The staff there was pretty friendly, the store is well-kept, and there's a pretty good selection of mainstream stuff; there was also a pretty strong fanboy vibe around the place, but that's not unusual. Anyway, it's nice to have another option, I guess.

Hospital update: Our visit today coincided with that of the "team," the doctors who are looking after Pater, so we got to hear things from the horse's mouth, as it were. Upshot: the doctors are finally beginning to feel optimistic; the patient isn't so sure he's ready to celebrate. Things are still moving very slowly, which, IMHO, is a Good Thing.

OMG: At start, no has lyte. An Ceiling Cat sayz, i can haz lite? An lite wuz. The lolcat Bible.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

More in a row

So, I spent eight hours on campus today, even though I had no classes. It's amazing how much other junk there is to do - and that doesn't even count grading papers. Otis had a busy day herself, with three appointments spread out, so we both suffered from the curse of the drinking class today.

Hospital update: Not to step on Ned's metaphor (I thought of it independently): there's not yet a discernible light at the end of the tunnel, but I think we might safely say we're now in a tunnel and not a bottomless pit. I am reminded of a sequence in The Right Stuff that described how, when the planes that test pilots such as Chuck Yeager were flying would lose all aerodynamic stability and start tumbling like a thrown stick, the pilot hoped it would go into a tailspin - because they knew how to get out of one of those. The spin was good news, of a sort, and we might be experiencing about the same.

I have been holding onto this cartoon for some time, but since I have been thinking of self-publishing a little booklet ever since Comixtravaganza, and since we have so many writer types amongst us, I thought I would just toss it out.

(I wish I could remember where I found it...)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Continuing a mighty streak

Had a great day of not-quite teaching today. Classes included presentations, peer review sessions, one-on-one conferences, and more presentations, so I merely facilitated learning opportunities. Good times.

Now I just have to figure out what I'm doing tomorrow - lots of out-of-classroom junk to catch up on.

I wound up having vegetarian chili in a bread bowl from the soup guy in the Westlake Center food court for dinner tonight. I don't know what I was thinking; it was as awful as it sounds. I should have had pizza.

Hospital update: incremental improvement! people are starting to talk about corners being turned and such. Keep your fingers crossed and let's hope they don't start rushing things again.

Here's a pretty spiffy game about untangling lines.

Hte dne fo na rea.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Neither fish nor fowl

So, dear pal Vee said to me today that she had been enjoying my whipsawing between, as she put it, "posting every day and writing real essays." That being the case, I thought I would mix it up with a different sort of post: not quite a what-I-had-for-lunch or lazy-link-farm, but not quite a Johnbai polemic or a Yojimbo review. Sort of a mini-essay.

I try not to wax too nostalgic for the east coast; there are few things as annoying as an ex-New Yorker who can't stop telling you how much better everything was back in The City. Aside from still calling New York "The City" (with capital letters), these days I think I am, in most respects, a Pacific Northwesterner through and through.

Except for pizza.

Don't turn away; I'm not going to go off on the there's-no-good-pizza-outside-New-York rant. That is demonstrably not true, and many cities have pizza traditions as long and as storied as the Big Apple's. In Seattle, I can quickly name Piecora's, New York Pizza, Pudge Brothers, Pizza Brava, and even Pagliacci's as good pies.

I'm not even going bring up the real-pizza-doesn't-have-so-many-ingredients argument. I've long since gotten used to barbecued chicken pizza and other exotic toppings; trying to argue against them is like trying to limit what can go in a sandwich: it just doesn't make sense. And even the PNW has nothing on places like Japan and Australia when it comes to this practice: how about creamed corn or fried eggs?

I will say that a slice of plain cheese pizza, if made with the right ingredients, can have every bit as textured and complex a flavor as a pizza with several toppings, but hey, to each their own.

No, the diatribe I will allow myself about pizza is this one: how come I can't get a slice?

Back in The City, pizza parlors were everywhere, and most of them had a walk-up window counter fronting the sidewalk. All of them had pizza warmers, in which there was always at least a cheese pizza or two, and maybe a pepperoni as well. The warmers didn't have to work all that hard - most pizzas never stayed too long without being sold, slice by slice, to hungry pedestrians. If the slice was a little cool, the pizza guy would toss it into the oven for a minute or so to warm it up. Most slices were eaten folded in half as the purchaser continued walking.

This is not so easy to do here in the Emerald City.

For example, I was at Antioch early tonight to do some prepping before my evening class and finished with about an hour to spare. I decided to walk out into the neighborhood to get a bite to eat; pizza sounded good, so I headed my feet over to the nearby Zeek's, the big one by the statue of Chief Sealth. I walked in to find an empty warmer - six racks, all naked. No slice for me there!

How can this happen? After 29 years in this part of the country, I'm still flabbergasted that a pizza place can run out of pizza.

Stepping outside, I spied Bambino's East Coast Pizza and thought I had hit paydirt. I walked in to see the mahogany tables and bar, the brass fittings, and the wood-fired stove, and I knew I was out of luck. They didn't even have a slice warmer.

Well, there was still Amore, back closer to the University, but I already knew they sold only individual gourmet pizzas. I was out of options, and this was in Belltown, the urbanest of urban areas.

Now, I know I might be accused of overgeneralizing, but this isn't the only time I have been thwarted. I had basically given up on Zeek's already because of the frequency with which they are sliceless; this episode served to confirm that decision. Even Pudge Brothers, which functions a lot like an old school pizza place, has let the cheese pizza well run dry on occasion. And it's more than just the lack of slices at particular places: it's also the lack of places to get a slice in the first place. There just aren't enough pizza parlors, as opposed to pizza restaurants.

Maybe this is only a small piece of a larger problem: the lack of a sidewalk culture in Seattle. Pizza parlors, newsstands, hot dog carts, falafel vendors - these operations lend a kind of vibrancy and timbre to life in the city that a few wrought iron chairs outside a Starbucks can't. Maybe it's not the pizza that I miss, it's the recognition that the sidewalks and streets are part of our lifescapes and should be rich environments that make us want to spend time there, or at least enjoy the time we do spend there.

Either way, I'd sure love to fold a cheese slice in half and eat it walking down the street.

Pizza Girl by Jeph Jacques at Questionable Content

So, now that that's out of the way:

Otis and I ate at the Varsity for lunch. They are open late now, and have free wi-fi, too!

Hospital update: Status quo.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Nothin' to see here, move along, folks

NatDog picked me up at sparrow fart this morning so I could go into work early and work all day. And that's just what I did.

Upon returning home, I took Otis to Ballard for pho and FreddyM's.

Man, life in the fast lane. I'm outta control!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Film at eleven

Today we didn't do a lot of work, or a lot of play either. All we did was get some spring cleaning done and then visit the hospital. Luckily, I still had Johnbai's video camera, so we have this footage of the activities.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The opposite of pre-dawn

Y'know, there's nothing quite like sitting in the near dark, working or writing in a small pool of light and listening to Amanda Wilde and The Swing Years and Beyond on a Saturday night. Otis is tucked up on the couch with her grading; I just finished a stack and can get back to the important work of havering into the blogosphere.

Yesterday, we did some morning errands and then spent most of the midday at the hospital, breaking for a late lunch/early dinner at Ballet. I took some time to try to make a meet with a guy selling one of these computers, but we never hooked up. This might be the universe's way of telling me I don't need another electronic thing, but maybe not.

What do you think? Since I like to carry my internets with me all the time, should I get a separate, totally small, totally compact, made-to-carry unit, or should I just keep hauling around my MacBook, which is my primary computer?

Friday night was a Big Wall Double Feature. The first movie was an animated version of the Justice League: check out the video review by Soapy, Johnbai, Yojimbo, Dingo, and Ned on my comix blog. Yoijimbo and Soapy had to leave at intermission, but the rest of us watched Last Night, a Dingo-recommended Canadian end-of-the-world flick with Sandra Oh. It was pretty cool: thoughtful and quirky and complex, and completely plausible regarding human beings without any attempt to explain its scenario in any detail.

We had a bit of an encore this afternoon, as Ned and Dingo met with Otis and I up on Cap Hill for a session of work/play at a wired cafe. Afterwards, it was off to the hospital for another visit.

Patient status: I think we may have secured a foothold on stability; a still-miserable stability, but progress of a sort nonetheless, even though the medicine men seem to be fresh out of ideas or plans.

Now, I can hear somebody using brushes on the snare to accompany a muted trumpet, so I think I'll sail along...