Monday, April 30, 2007

Water on the Brain

My water heater died. Well, it didn't die, it's on the edge of the bridge toes over the edge thinking about jumping. There's water leaking from the inner tank (the water container) into the outer container, and dripping all over/rusting the parts. I'm all over Craigslist like white on rice trying to get a used (newish) one. I can't stand the thought of going to Home Depot and forking over $400 for a new one, when there are so many out there for $200 on CL. Oodles of fun. There's nothing sexy about putting in a water heater. On the good news side I'm once again glad I got the truck to be able to transport this kind of thing. So what am I up to this week? Playing with water and electricity in the basement. Yippie!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


The Seattle PI has a great article on why, and how people climb Mt Rainier. I climbed it, and summited it, on Father's Day 1999, right before I moved to Seattle from Portland. It was definitely one of the hardest things I've done, and I've gotten it out of my system and don't want to every do it again, but I'm glad I did it.

I remember the long slog up from the parking lot with a pack of gear that stuck up over my head. When the trail went from dirt to snow you felt the seriousness kick up a notch. When you laced up the crampons you realized it was serious stuff. Needing to use, not just
having, all the spikes, and ropes and axes and harnesses is interesting. It's validating and solid. We spent the second day at 11,000 feet camping just past Camp Muir to avoid all the hikers stacked up there who'll descend the next morning, and all the group tours that slog along like chain gangs from there. We were at Ingraham Flats and we were there for a while too. We waited all the next day, just looking out over the foothills, reading the book we each brought, for exactly this wait, and trying to nap until midnight, when the cold took back the snow and hardened it up making it safer, but not safe, to walk on for our summit attempt.

Leaving camp at 1am with only headlights on was odd. Pitch black, roped together, wind shoving us around. A nerve racking walk across a flat ladder, laid down over a crevasse, pumped adrenaline into our veins, but we keep our minds on task and would cheer for the small victories later once we were all safe at home. The summit came up exactly like you'd imagine. At the top of a steep slope (50 degrees ascent at least) there we were. Round ice, like big gravel lay all over, and it felt odd to walk flat. The view was great, but I don't recall it much as it really was the journey that made the excitement. A few minutes, some water, and we headed down again as the sun rose over the Northwest and another team of tour guide climbers followed our tracks on their ascent, still about 200 yards below us. We had been to 14,410 feet and had climbed Mt Rainier.

Saudi Thoughts Still Linger

Listening to NPR the other night I was reminded that 15 of the 19 total 9/11 hijackers was Saudi. Also, that Osama Bin Laden was Saudi, by birth (until his Saudi citizenship was revoked in 1994). However, we attacked Iraq. On the pretense that they had WMD, and were linked to the 9/11 attacks. Both incorrect assumptions. We limply invaded Afghanistan and continue a half-ass effort there to this day just to look busy, while it produces 79% of the world's opium and heroin. In fact it's drug production is increasing year over year under our watch. There's no assistance from Saudi Arabia at all on any of these fronts, and didn't they light the match that started this?

I'm looking forward to the day when our kids correct this course that we're on. Of being led by people that lie. Being led by people that don't look out for humanity, not just for white people, or Christians, or Americans or oil rich relatives and country. I have hope that it'll come, but for now - we're being abused by our administration and it's just plain embarassing. I wouldn't trust Bush to feed my cat, much less decide how to run the country. History will shame him, and us, and this chapter in time. I believe in the people of America, but not the government, right now.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Old School

Look what Lindsay's keeping around! I have no idea why. Maybe we'll need to re-up on the pager service? Cell phones are too much a tool of "the man"? Anyways, she's got a honest to goodness pager. Remember when these were as cool as you could get? Two features: 1. vibrate 2. beep. Wow.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Snooty Walk: Been There, Done That

We had the chance to check out the West Seattle "Pet Rodeo and Snooty Walk" on Saturday. It's a rather wholesome benefit for the kids at West Seattle HS. In truth it's a just an excuse for pet owners to get together and look at each other's dogs. They had contests, like "fattest dog" and "fastest pet", "drooliest", "most unique hair-do" and my favorite "biggest pet" - that was won by someone who brought their miniature pony! They even had cookies and ice cream cones for sale, to benefit the HS, so after our ultra healthy sushi-to-go lunch from the local market we did our part and chowed down on the yummy stuff too.

Yes, that's too close.

You just don't see pics like this that often. A guy I know (on far left in pic), that has a BMW F650GS motorcycle, got hit from behind recently on a trip in Texas. Says a lot about BMW quality that the bike stayed upright and can take the weight of that giant Lincoln.

More Culture than Yogurt

It's been a long time since I've been to the ballet, or any kind of dance for that matter. So when we decided to go to the Pacific NW Ballet's Spring Dace Festival (on a real-live date last Friday!) I had no idea what to expect. Actually, turns out that it's interesting stuff. I'll even say that I liked it. I suppose I was traumatized in my youth with annual performances of Peter and the Wolf, lasting what seamed like 3 hours, but Friday night's performances were nothing like that. It was a collection of 8 or 9 modern and ballet influenced pieces, all rather short in length, that easily inspires the viewer to think about aesthetics, how the dancers were using shape, lines, rhythm, or if none of that just marvel at how in shape these folks were. The house lights came on after almost every dance number, and there were two intermissions so it's very relaxed and easy to chat about what you just saw (especially when you're with an expert like Lindsay). Even though I felt at times like I might be taking the first steps toward turning into Frasier Crane, poster boy of Seattle snobbery, it was a nice way to end the week and try something new. Could I be convinced to go to another one? Ask me after I get back from the next car show.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

One Million Pennies

I still wonder what we did before the internet. How would be understand what the heck one million pennies looked like? The picture is a visual representation of what one million pennies would look like. Even more fun is this web site's rendition of what ten billion pennies, or even one hundred billion pennies is like.

I wonder, if I fished behind all the couch cushions here in West Seattle, and collected only the pennies, would I have a million pennies?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Yo, Waz Up Wordsworth?

Have you ever wanted to see a guy in a squirrel costume rap Wordsworth's 1807 poem I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud? Me too! Check out this chart topper from MC Nuts kickin' it for his homies at the Cumbria Office of Tourism. What's that sound? Possibly a dead poet spinning in his grave.

Mr. Jackson's Glass House

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Ballin' in Seattle

Thanks to the kindness of Cara (an ex-pat friend) offering up her tickets to the Mariners game Lindsay and I were able to spend an afternoon at the ballpark. Cara's tickets are awesome, and we were thrilled to have such great seats, right behind first base so the view is like being on the field.

Even though the sun was out today it was still a little chilly in the shade so Lindsay and I hike
d up to the upper deck of Safeco field to warm up and have ball park lunch and bask in the warm sun rays. I took a few pictures with my trusty phone. Every time I'm at Safeco I always notice how well it frames the city of Seattle. I took a pic of the view off the back deck of the stadium, looking out over the Sound across the port's cranes. Distinctively Seattle.

You'll also notice the foot long hot dog and hot chocolate we had. I'm sure it's really
good for us. Mmm, ballpark food. Aside from the slow as molasses Metro bus ride there (and even slower than molasses bus ride back) it was a fun way to spend the afternoon. Big thanks to Cara for the hook up.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Two New Things

It's been a busy week around here. Mom came up and spent Easter with Lindsay and I; it was great to have family around for the holiday (Pics of that event to come soon). Mom even got dirty and helped out with the final planting of the new back yard corner garden I started last week. I'm trying to reduce the amount of grass in the back yard, plus this area is high traffic and stays wet in the winter this this a great solution. Basically, I incorporated a French drain into a path and called it a garden. I needed to get a (literal) ton of gravel to finish it off, so I went out and bought a new truck (Tacoma 4dr pre-runner). Love it. Love it. Love it. Beats the pants off the Subaru Outback for utility and gets the same gas mileage! Notice I'm actually using the truck for hauling stuff. I know, that's as crazy taking a SUV off road. Anyways, the plants are in the ground, the rock is in place, and I'm happy as a clam to get this project done. I think it makes the yard look a lot better. I can't wait to see it all grow and fill in.

Dude Looks Like a Hot Dog

Down near Ikea last week, Lindsay and I spotted a guy dressed like a hot dog walking down the street. Love it. Funny as hell.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Basket Case

I recently read Rebuilding the Indian about a fella that took a 1953 Indian motorcycle from a basket case (literally a basket of motorcycle parts) to a working bike. It made me think about trading in my big green Chevy for something smaller, like a basket case of my own. It'd be nicer to work on it in the rain - in the garage - too. I think I'm over estimating my mechanical savy though. There's a motorcycle collector's show in a few weeks, maybe I'll poke around there and see what basket might call my name.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Kickin' Peep Ass

It's Easter and you know what that means...messing with Peeps.
I do my part and melt some peep punk in the microwave (puffy then totally flat).Then a little drowning test (not much happened, just pink water and a sticky peep).
Finally I just figured the Peep needs to go get screwed. The tradition continues.

West Seattle Seal Pup

We're still in the wild, here in Seattle. Just recently a baby seal, a seal pup, showed up on the shore of Alki beach in West Seattle (directly across from downtown Seattle). Not sure what's happened to it, I hear either it died or it went back in the water. Apparently mom seals beach their pups when they're hunting, so this isn't that all of a rare thing, but it's a bit of a weird choice of beach (Alki is a very busy public beach) to do it on.

Much better than having this kind of seal land on your beach, I'm sure.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Keith Richards snorted his own father's ashes

So the last post was all serious, I know. This I'll change all that. Wet your whistle with the little blurb below, for more read the rest of the insanity in this article.

"The strangest thing I've tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father," he said."He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn't have cared, he didn't give a s***. "It went down pretty well, and I'm still alive."

-Keith Richards

(or did he?)

There But For the Grace of God

I happen to meet a lovely young woman the other day, and in passing she mentioned that her husband had died last year. The woman was attractive, about 30 years old, and distinctly had a sad look that overwhelmed her youthful attractiveness. She was careful when she talked about him, and we agreed in short order that material things don't really matter. I didn't ask how her husband died, but later I did find an article online talking about it, that has really effected me. He was an adventurous spirit, one that found what he loved, and who he loved. He moved across the country to find his life, and one day, as he was doing what he loved to do 150 feet below the surface of the water - he died. That was the end of him. He passed a great reminder on to me today. I'm thankful for that. We all need a reminder sometimes.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Confused Kitty

Lindsay's cat is trying to get comfortable, having moved into my house. I think she, the cat, is a little taken aback by Murphy's (my rottweiler ) toys. The look on her face says a lot.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Someone Explain

Someone explain to me why the Burien Toyota dealer has a huge boar, and a huge possum on it's showroom floor window. I don't get it. The flowers make it even weirder. What am I missing here? Did the dealer request this to be painted? Local folklore? Year of the boar? Anyone?

Hamster Ball Derby

Don't ever let it be said that West Seattle doesn't have a big time sports scene. Who needs the Mariner's or the Seahawks when we've got the PetCo Hamster Ball Derby!

Lindsay and I met up with fellow thrill seekers Chris and Stacey, and after some rather tasty pizza, took trackside seats (aka stood in the PetCo aisles) for the festivities. It was a little weird that we were the only ones there without kids, or without a hamster. Yes, we actually came to watch the little fur balls run. Tears of disappointment flowed from some of the owners of the slower rodents, but for the most part everyone had a fun - even the hamsters.

After a Saturday like that what else could I possibly do to impress Lindsay? The bar has been set way too high.