Monday, November 29, 2004


That's right; the answer to life, the universe, and everything is also the vote margin in the still undecided Washington Governor's race.

On a slightly related note, I dreamt this morning (when I was waking up in east coast time after having gone to bed on west coast time) that Rossi stopped my my office last week while I was out to see me. He didn't, however, leave a message or phone number or anything, I just heard from my coworkers that he was looking for me. Strange days.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Whew, I'm Stuffed

So, we're back from Thanksgiving. Above is the requisite turkey shot: the 23 pounder was masterfully brined and roasted by my dad. It was accompanied by all the usual delicious suspects. We spent turkey day at my parents' place with my dad's sister and brother-in-law and my cousin and her husband and two precious sons (first of their generation in my family). Much fun and food was had by all.

One of the coolest thing about the above photo: it was taken by my brand new digital camera! This was an amazing birthday gift from my family. It's easy enough that even I can use it with minimal pain. Next step: online photo album.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

It's the holidays; let's break out the ammo

Jeff and I are visiting my parents in Virginia for Thanksgiving. This morning, we went for a long run and were able to observe the annual ritual of hunting season. What I find curious is that the hunters wear all camouflage clothing except for their orange hats. They wear the cami's so that the deer won't see them and wear the hats so that other hunters don't shoot them. There is logic there if you don't think about it too long.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

This Post Brought to You By...

It's 3 weeks after the election, and we still don't have a governor-elect in the state of Washington. We live in the electronic age where we can vote for "play of the game" or answer trivia questions online and have votes talleyed real time, but we can't seem to count our votes for elected officials in less than a month.

Of course, major league sporting events are big money; elections are paid for by our tax dollars (which we in Washington like to vote to reduce year after year). Of course we're not going to invest millions and millions on electronic voting. Who would pay?

Unless, there's a potential for profit. Hmm, sponsorship potential. We sponsor sports stadiums, TV news, and half-time shows, why not sponsor an election? Great advertising: good for a company that wants to beef up it's patriotic image. Example:

This election is brought to you by Microsoft, where the results, like our software, are right the first time.

Just a thought.

Sunday, November 21, 2004


I will almost always purchase a copy of Real Change when asked by the vendors who sell outside the grocery store. After all, I recognize the current crisis of homelessness, and am happy to help someone who is helping himself.

A week or so ago, there was a vendor selling RC outside my local grocery store as I walked out. Not having any one dollar bills for the paper, I returned to the cashier who had just given me $50 "cashback" to see if I could get change. But my pockets were empty; both the cashier and I had overlooked the fact that I left with groceries and a receipt, but no cash. The cashier trustingly handed me 2 twenties, a five, and five ones - one of which prompty went towards RC, and I walked home with the blessings of the man selling the paper, cash, and the knowledge that this world isn't such a bad place after all.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Happy Birthday!

To many special people who are one year older today, but most especially to Mom and to me. :) We're just getting better.

Update: I can't say how annoying it is when someone hears that it's my birthday and he (it's always a he) responds with "what, is it 25? 26?" knowing full well that I'm 30-something. Do they think that I'm so vain that I want people to think that I'm younger? Like being younger is better? I'm much happier, healthier, and more at peace with myself and my life at 32 than ever before. My age is something to celebrate, not dismiss. So no endless 29th birthday for me, thank you. We'll see, however, how I feel at 40...

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

A Voice to Sooth the Blues

Garrison Keillor is speaking in Seattle later this week. While he's probably best known for Lake Wobegon Days and a Prairie Home Companion, those are not my favorite of his works.

The summer after I graduated college, I was stashed for a couple of months in Arlington VA. My dad worked in an office near mine and we used to drive in to work together (I'd take the train home a couple hours earlier than he in the afternoon). At 6:15 every morning, a few minutes into the drive, the local NPR station would broadcast a Writer's Almanac and we would stop our conversation (if there was one that early) and listen. I loved knowing that my dad, career Naval officer, engineer, owner-of-every-tool-imaginable, and Redskins fan, would stop and listen to snippets of poetry and literary trivia. Every now and then I'll be in the car at an odd hour of day or night and catch the Almanac on the radio and I remember that summer now 10 years past.

After I got out of the Navy, I moved to Richmond, Virginia, where I spent a fair amount of my free time mourning a break-up and exploring the internet. Thankfully, during that time I discovered Mr. Blue. Mr. Keillor's advice column was funny, touching, and above all, right on the money. From his responses to questions, I realized that time really does heal all wounds, and that when they heal, there will be travel, love, literature, and adventure on the other side of heartbreak (and on the other side of 40 or 60, for that matter). He was exactly what I needed at that time.

So, I won't be listening to his show this Thursday, I'll be hoping I catch him on the radio, and might revisit those old columns. You never know when you need Mr. Blue.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Trail Note

This past week was a rather odd one on the work front, thus it was a low-exercise, high-calorie week. By the time the week was over, I was bound and determined to have a good run on Saturday.

The weather was perfect: temps in the 50's, overcast with patches of blue sky, and a little dampness in the air. I ran the 7 mile route around Lake Union. I was a little nervous that I'd run out of steam well before the end, but I felt great throughout the run. I felt some knee soreness around mile 6, but that's pretty typical when I'm not running a lot of weekly milage.

I followed up yesterday's run with the 3.5 mile around-the-hill route today. Again, I felt much better than I feared. This is encouraging, as I'm thinking of training for a spring or summer marathon. If I do run 26.2 in 2005, I'll be aiming for a Boston qualifying time, so I need to get serious about training now.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Goin' Postal

From NPR: "An indie rock duo took the name the Postal Service in honor of the way it wrote its songs, by snail mail. One musician lives in Seattle, the other in Los Angeles. The U.S. Postal Service learned about the band and sent a letter to the band, demanding it cease and desist. But last week, they struck a deal. The band keeps its name, but advertises for the U.S. Postal Service, which hopes to get young fans sending more letters."

As a fan of the band whose work depends greatly upon the post office delivery schedule, I guess I'm glad that all is well for both USPS's.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Where have all the gamers gone?

In Seattle's University district, nestled between the Trader Joes, the Metro theatre, and the VW dealer, there used to be a storefront with anime and star wars characters on the windows and lots of men and boys sitting around tables playing games. I never went inside (I'm not sure what would have happened if a real female walked in), but I always liked knowing that a place like that existed. That people who were most likely ostracized in high school could go someplace and find others like them, others to play games with them. In a recent trip to the car dealership (my check engine light came on during the road trip; hundreds of miles from home while driving 70 mph in the mountains of northern California), I noticed that the store was empty. There were still a few anime drawings on the windows, but they were surrounded by "for rent" signs. I hope that it's just relocated, because I loved living in a city where there was a real place where gamers could go.
Um.., well, what he said

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Knitting Notes: Poncho!

After having made about a dozen scarves in the last 2 years, I decided that I had to try something new. This poncho is basically a wide ribbed scarf, with the edges sewn together. I used a pattern from my local knitting shop, which was very straight forward. I was sold on the pattern because I loved the colors of the yarn that was recommended for it. Next project: hats!
New banner pix!

This one was from my parent's visit to Seattle in June. It was taken by my dad on the ferry to San Juan Island, and is of (left to right) me, Jeff, Michael, Kate (my sister) and my mom.

My dad took this terrific photo of Mt. Rainier on that visit, too. We had amazing weather!

Here I am in the Japanese garden in Portland the first weekend in August.

Jeff and I had a couple local (Portland) brews after the Run Hit Wonder 10K.

Wine tasting on San Juan Island. We never rode these scooters, but enjoyed watching them as we biked around the island.

Chilly me right before getting off the ferry to Bainbridge Island to ride the Chilly Hilly in February.

At the Monterey Aquarium late October this year.

After biking over the Golden Gate Bridge, we took the ferry back to Fisherman's Wharf in San Fransisco and had the requisite chowder in a bread bowl with the original microbrew.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Cooking Notes

Saturday: Belgian Beef Stew from the latest Cooks Illustrated.
I followed the recipe as closely as possible, including getting blade steak from the butcher and using Chimay Ale in the stew (there was enough left over to drink with dinner). It turned our really well, although we should have cooked it longer than the minimum 2 1/2 hours (it was 8:15 pm at that point, however, and we weren't waiting any longer), so not all of the meat was fork-tender. I will certainly make this again, although next time I'll start earlier. It wasn't difficult at all, just needs that long cooking time. Excellent weekend winter dinner.

Monday: Sara's Sweet Sausage and Polenta
For some reason I decided that I needed to make polenta, so searched the food network website until I found something that looked good. While tasty, it was not tasty enough to justify the work that went into the recipe. The polenta alone took 40 minutes of constant stirring. Next time I want polenta (and I'm tempted to make it with Cook's balsamic chicken recipe this week) I'll use Cook's microwave cooking method (stir twice, total). The sausages that I picked up at the butcher (after all, I was already getting the stew meat) were fantastic; I'll definitely pick those up again for sauce or just to grill (I bought a mix of hot and mild Italian, pork and chicken, with one garlic chicken).

Wednesday: Rachael's Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breasts and Spaghetti with Zucchini and Garlic
While this meal took much longer than 30 minutes, it was really good, and I think would come together much faster a second time around. I particularly liked the spaghetti with zucchini and garlic; very easy and a good way to sneak in veggies.

Friday: Doctored Up Pizza
Our local Safeway sells ready made pizzas for $5 on Fridays, so we often pick one up with a DVD for a cheap alternative to delivery. The pizzas are surprisingly tasty: good crust and decent sauce, but I like to doctor them up. Last night's version was one of the best so far. I roasted diced eggplant, red bell pepper, a shallot (leftover from Wednesday), and some garlic cloves with a little olive oil for about an hour at 350. I then added these to the uncooked pizza with some fresh basil (leftover from Jeff's yummy panang curry) and feta cheese. Paired with a bottle of red and season one of the Office, it made for a great night on the couch.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

More from the election front

Our supposedly blue state can't seem to make up its mind about our future govenor. This one could be big; the govenor is going to have a huge impact on my life these next few years. At least Jim and Patty are representing me in Washington D.C. and we have a democratic majority in both houses in Olympia.

If you thought that your week was bad, the Edwards' are having a very tough week. I guess that the upside of losing is that John and Elizabeth can focus on fighting the disease, without being distracted by the whole governing the country thing.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Day After

So, I've moved through the denial phase, to sadness, and now I'm on to anger. (I haven't yet reached acceptance.)

So, America, what's up? Are we happy with what's going on today? The war? The economy? National security?

I'm not. I've tried to do my part the traditional way: I donated to the party of my choice and I voted. That didn't work out quite the way I'd hoped, so it's on to Plan B.

If anyone has any suggestions for Plan B, please let me know.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Happy Election Day!

Shouldn't this be a national holiday or something? We have CNN playing somewhere in the office, I think.

I just wish that we could have a decision today; I have a feeling that this is going to go on through 2005...

Monday, November 01, 2004

The Vote is in the Mail

I'm keeping the Halloween theme up for a few more days as it's still a very scary time of year.