Thursday, December 21, 2006

Shake hands with Santa Claus

I urge you to visit Larry's blog and read the transcript of his IM interview with Santa. I think the North Pole elves would disagree that Christmas is "the most wonderful time of the year."

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A few of my favorite things, holiday edition

wrapping presents
fun winter coats
over the top light displays
holiday specials on TV
jazz hands

Top Ten Albums of 2006

It's officially list-making start things off, here are my ten favorite albums (plus a few more) of 2006.

1. The Crane Wife, The Decemberists
2. Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, Neko Case
3. Rabbit Fur Coat, Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins
4. Duper Sessions, Sondre Lerche and The Faces Down Quartet

5. The Life Pursuit, Belle and Sebastian
6. Naturally, Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings
7. Supply and Demand, Amos Lee
8. Math and Physics Club, Math and Physics Club
9. Robbers and Cowards, Cold War Kids
10. Begin to Hope, Regina Spektor

Honorable Mentions:
Let's Get Out Of This Country, Camera Obscura
Show Your Bones, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Alright, Still, Lily Allen
Putting The Days To Bed, The Long Winters

Friday, December 15, 2006

Seems like it's rainin' all the time...

This year has definitely been the craziest, weather-wise, since I moved to Seattle 5 years ago. Last night our basement flooded from the torrential downpour of rain, and the lights flickered all night because it was so windy. Still, we were lucky: our cable and electricity stayed on all night. The biggest inconvenience (aside from icky muddy towels and sore backs from mopping) is that we didn't get our paper. Not because the carrier didn't deliver it, but because the power is out at the press, so they can't print. Crazy. Today the weather is so much calmer that it makes the storm seem like it was a bad dream. If things keep up, it will actually be warmer when we're on the east coast next week than it is here.

So I haven't written yet about the Decemberists' show, and now I also have to write about the KEXP benefit show we went to last Sunday. First, the Decemberists. I was so excited to see Colin and the gang that I was practically jumping up and down when they started to come onstage. There was a HUGE, beautiful backdrop with an illustration of a Japanese village, complete with a crane flying away (with a perfect blood spot on one wing, just like the album cover). In front of the backdrop were 8 very large red lanterns hanging over the band. It was one of the prettiest stage sets I've seen at the Paramount. They started the set with The Crane Wife, Pt. 3--the first song on the new album and my current favorite song. I was giddy. Colin had a cold which seemed to get worse as he went on, and they actually wound up cancelling their Vancouver shows to make sure he didn't damage his voice. But the show was fantastic nonetheless. You could tell that Colin was annoyed about his voice not doing what he wanted, but it didn't matter. If I want to hear the songs performed perfectly, I can listen to the album. The live concert is about what happens in the moment, so I was really pleased when he finally let loose on The Landlord's Daughter and just went with it. I know a lot of people were annoyed that the show was relatively short (because Colin's voice was shot), but I was just happy they didn't cancel altogether. I had been looking forward to the concert for 2 months, and it totally lived up to my expectations. I just can't say enough good things about The Decemberists, and I will most definitely be seeing them when they come to Seattle again.

Sunday we went to the KEXP benefit show at Neumo's. The line-up was:
Cold War Kids
The Junior Boys
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
My favorite group by far was Cold War Kids. These guys are just fabulous--they are so much fun to watch and you can tell that they're having fun too. They use lots of complex rhythms and catchy melodies, but their presentation is so haphazard; it's almost as if they just woke up, hopped onstage and threw a song together. Love it! I highly recommend that you check out their album Robbers and Cowards. The Junior Boys were good, but the mixing was so out of balance that the bass was killing our ears. We had to move off to the side of the stage just to avoid being in pain from it. Ted Leo was lots of fun too; not totally my genre, but he can win anyone over with his energy (plus he's REALLY good at what he does, so just from that perspective you have to like him). By the time his set finished we were all pretty tired; we stuck around for the first 3 songs from Juno, then made it to the frites place right before they closed. Frites are truly the best ending for any evening, especially one spent with good friends and good music.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Who could say no to that face?

Yesterday Stuff On My Cat hosted one of the cutest wedding proposals ever. I also had fun skimming through the 700+(!) comments, including a few from folks who take complete strangers' love lives waaay too seriously. I mean, come on, if you're proposing on a well known web site, you're probably pretty sure she's going to say yes. For that matter, I would think most people wait to propose until they're sure the other person will say yes. But I digress. What I really should say is congratulations, Jeff and Heather (and Fredrique)!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Not including raked stages or Wagner

I read this interesting and excellently titled tidbit in today's New York Times, about the opera Larry and I will be seeing in January:

The Dangers of Opera

Company members of the
Metropolitan Opera were sickened after being exposed to a shipment of costumes, including shoes, from China less than a month before the premiere of “The First Emperor,” a $3 million new production composed by Tan Dun and directed by Zhang Yimou. At least one backstage worker was hospitalized, apparently with an allergic reaction made worse by an existing ailment, said Elena Park, a Met spokeswoman. Ms. Park said other company members, costume shop workers and chorus members also had reactions, but she did not know how many people were stricken. The problematic costumes, confined to one of several shipments, were cleaned and the shoes replaced. “We don’t know the cause,” Ms. Park said. Samples of the costumes, elaborate designs created by Emi Wada, were sent to a laboratory for testing. The mysterious condition did not delay rehearsals, Ms. Park said, and the opera is scheduled to open as planned on Dec. 21. DANIEL J. WAKIN

Obviously, this could have been a serious problem and it's very fortunate that only one person became ill. But while I don't want to make light of the issue, I'm rather intrigued by the first sentence. Company members "were sickened after being exposed to a shipment of costumes, including shoes..." Is there some important chemical or toxin that would more likely be found in the shoes as opposed to the rest of the shipment? Was it necessary to include this extra detail so that the reader would be prepared to read later on that the shoes had been replaced? Was Mr. Wakin trying to fulfill a word count requirement? Or, and I think I may have something here, maybe he's on a personal mission to use the word "shoes" as much as possible in his writings. I'll have to investigate further--stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The weather outside is frightful!

It's 4:03 am and I just got home from the airport, after being stuck in an icy traffic jam for over 3 hours. I would complain about how sucky it was, but I was lucky enough to be in the car with my friend Jenny, who I had picked up from her flight at around 11:30, and we kept ourselves pretty well entertained. Also, there are still people on the road who are trying to get home from their evening commute--as in, LAST evening. We heard people on the radio who had been stuck in traffic for 7 or 8 hours. So I feel grateful to have made it home in half the time. A huge thanks goes out to Missy, who was stuck in the traffic jam too, but was slightly ahead of us and warned us not to go on the I-5 North onramp from the airport--she had to go on it and said it was just a sheet of ice. We took her advice and got home safely. I can't believe the DOT didn't close the onramp, or at the very least sand it. It's pretty sad how unprepared Seattle is for snow, but hopefully this storm will change that. Although I have to say that I've never seen weather like this in the five years I've lived here--it's just bizarre. I've forbidden Larry to drive to work tomorrow (or I should say in a few hours, since that's when he would normally leave), and I recommend that anyone else reading this in Seattle do the same. It's downright dangerous out there.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Time waster for today...

Check out the Absolut 100 and vote for the "Absolute" item (blog, museum, sci-fi movie, etc.) in a whole bunch of categories. It's only up till tomorrow, so get a move on.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Let's go to the mall!

Last night's episode of How I Met Your Mother was even funnier than usual, thanks to this video, now up on Barney's blog. Check it out...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I don't understand...

Yesterday Larry came into the office to show me two letters--one from W, one from Vogue. He gave me subscriptions to both for my birthday, and I've received a couple of issues, although I'm still waiting on the Cate Blanchett Vogue. This is what both the letters said:

"Dear Subscriber:

We are having difficulty delivering copies of VOGUE/W to one of your gift recipients. That person's name and mailing address as supplied to us is shown below. The Post Office has informed us that this address is undeliverable.

Please verify this address and if it is not correct, make note of the correction on this letter and return it to us. We will then correct the address and make the necessary adjustments so service can be restored."

Since we live together, the "undeliverable" address with my name on it is the exact same address as the one with Larry's name on it, THE ADDRESS WHERE WE RECEIVED THIS LETTER. So if we can get the letter, why can't we get the magazines?

I went to the post office this morning, and they told me to talk to the magazine service department since the address is, in fact, deliverable. Larry called the magazine service department and they couldn't figure out why this would be happening. This afternoon, my W magazine arrived right on schedule.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Get thee to the kouch!

Tonight we went to our friend Dustin's film festival at Central Cinema in the central district. I've been wanting to check this theater out for a while, and of course we were super excited that they're hosting Kaspar's Kouch. Last year the festival was literally on Dustin's couch in his apartment, which was really fun (and Dustin made gourmet ice cream almost every night--you wouldn't think it, but avocado ice cream is surprisingly delicious). But the new space at Central Cinema has lots of couches, with tables at each couch and a menu full of pizzas, salads, calzones, and all kinds of other goodies plus a big screen. It feels so official now that it's at a theater, AND the festival even has its own trailer this year!

Dustin has to charge admission this year to pay for the theater and movie rights, but the tickets are super cheap--$7.00 for one movie, $10.00 for two (there are usually two movies shown each night). Tonight's Cubicle Challenges lineup was Fear and Trembling, a very cool French film about life in corporate Japan starring the awesome Sylvie Testud, and Office Space, which really needs no explanation. I love that movie, and I love the soundtrack even more (Kendra, if you're reading this, Damn it feels good to be a gangster!). Wednesday's films are being kept secret, but you know they're going to be good if Dustin's screening them. The rest of the schedule is below; if you're in Seattle this week you should definitely check it out.

November 15, 2006 SECRET SCREENING's a'll just have to be curious enough to find out.

(first screening at 6:30, second screening at 8:45)

November 16, 2006 MISSING PERSONS
6:30 THE LADY VANISHES (1938) directed by Alfred Hitchcock (NR, 97 min.) Inspiring many films in its wake (Bunny Lake is Missing and 2005's Flightplan amongst the best known) this early Hitchcock confection pits feuding train passengers bound for romance against a mind-bending mystery. A passenger on the train (the lady of the title) is unable to be found the next morning. Young Iris (Margaret Lockwood) queries other passengers on the ladies disappearance and is met with the simple claim that they have never seen the person she is talking about. Alternating between light comedy and exciting tension, this is early Hitchcock at his finest.
8:50 THE THIRD MAN (1949) directed by Carol Reed (NR, 104 min.) THE THIRD MAN is considered by many filmmakers to be one of the greatest films of all time. An American, Holly Martens (Joseph Cotten) arrives in post-WWII Vienna to visit his friend, Harry Lime. He soon discovers his friend has been killed and finds himself being questioned by a police officer who claims Lime was involved in racketeering. Holly vows to clear his friend’s name, but soon becomes caught up in his friends' shady history. Don't forget this film also stars Orson Welles who, by the late time he appears onscreen, still gets one of the most famous entrances, speeches (the 'cuckoo clock' which he scripted himself) and climactic chases in the history of cinema.

Both films are in German with English Subtitles
6:30 WINGS OF DESIRE (1987) directed by Wim Wenders (R, 127 min.) The sky over Wenders's war-scarred Berlin is full of gentle angels wearing trench coats who listen to the tortured thoughts of mortals and try to comfort them. One of the angels wishes to become mortal after falling in love with a beautiful trapeze artist. Peter Falk, as himself, assists in the transformation by explaining the simple joys of a human experience, such as the sublime combination of coffee and cigarettes. The result is a film that reaffirms the beauty of life and the absolute potential of cinema.
9:00 THE PRINCESS AND THE WARRIOR (2000) directed by Tom Tykwer (R, 135 min.) After his breakout hit, RUN LOLA RUN, Tom Tykwer upped the ante with THE PRINCESS AND THE WARRIOR. Sissi (LOLA's Franka Potente) is a nurse in a mental hospital. One day, she mistakenly walks in front of a semi and is saved by a mysterious young thief who caused the accident. Unable to get her savior out of her mind, she sets out to find him. Eventually the wheels of fate turn as she becomes involved in a transfixing bank robbery and the two embark on a personal odyssey toward their own destinies. Tykwer's use of floating camera, a hypnotic musical score, and an impeccable use of sound all work to created the films unique sensory experience.

5:00 UNFAITHFULLY YOURS (1948) directed by Preston Sturges (NR, 105 min.) Rex Harrison stars as a symphony conductor in this super-black comedy from the brilliant Preston Sturges. Harrison believes his wife is cheating on him and while conducting a symphony uses the 3 pieces on the program (each by Rossini, Wagner, and Tchaikovsky) to imagine his homicidal revenge fantasies. But good imagining doesn't always work out as planned in this brilliantly performed mixture of razor sharp dialogue and uproarious slapstick.
7:30 32 SHORT FILMS ABOUT GLENN GOULD (1993) directed by Francois Girard (PG, 98 min.) Comprised of 32 shorts about Glenn Gould, Francois Girard (who would later create The Red Violin) helms what started as a biography of portraits and becomes a meditation on the loneliness of exceptional artists and their perception of music. Colm Feore stars as Gould in all 32 shorts, which range from narrative to experimental and contain some of the most marvelous depictions of experiencing music I have seen captured on celluloid.
10:00 THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984) directed by Rob Reiner (R, 82 min.) Before BEST IN SHOW and WAITING FOR GUFFMAN, there was SPINAL TAP. The grandfather of the mock-u-mentary is still the best of the bunch. The bands absurd behavior is offset by director Rob Reiner's adherance to a strict documentary treatment. You will never forget Harry Shearer's encounter at the metal detector, Christopher Guest's collection of guitars and amps, or Michael McKean leading the band in circles trying to reach the stage. I guarantee, this night we're going to turn the sound up to 11. It will be one louder.

November 19, 2006 KINGDOM FINALE
5:00 THE KINGDOM, PART I (1994) directed by Lars von Trier (NR, 271 min.) Seattle's own Sean Axmaker once described THE KINGDOM as "a nightmarish cross between Twin Peaks and Chicago Hope as directed by David Cronenberg, and even that hardly captures the giddy absurdity of Lars Von Trier's soap-opera-cum-horror-tale." A bizarre mixture of hospital politics, cult activities, ghosts, graveyards, and one amazing cliffhanger are capped with a greek chorus of dishwashers. It needs to be seen to be believed. Not to be missed.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Plans, plans, plans

Very excited to see this exhibit at the Met Museum on our trip...all those beautiful couture gowns up close!!!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Musical joy

I don't think I've mentioned it yet, but we're going to the east coast for 2 weeks over Christmas to spend the holidays with Larry's family. We'll be in Boston, Rhode Island, and after New Year's, Manhattan. I'm super excited, because I've never been to the east coast (except airports, which don't count) and have wanted to visit for a long time. But when Larry got us tickets to The First Emperor, my excitement level went through the roof. It's a brand new opera--the world premiere is December 21st and we get to see it on January 2nd. Tan Dun is conducting, Zhang Yimou is head of production and Placido Domingo plays the emperor. Plus, hello, it's the Met! How could it not be fun?

In other exciting music news, only 11 days till the Decemberists show at the Paramount...I'm totally counting down.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Don't just stand there...

Last night we went to Sunset Bowl for our friend Missy's birthday party. I can't believe I never noticed till last night that Sunset is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. A 24 hour bowling alley. We're so going on Thanksgiving.
The party was awesome--we bowled, ate greasy bowling alley restaurant food, and at 9 pm headed to the lounge for karaoke. First up was the best rendition of Joey EVER. We also heard and sang along to such gems as Jack and Diane, Sister Christian, and Love is a Battlefield. My favorite part, though, was singing backup for Missy's classic version of Bust a Move. Yeah, we rocked the house. Seriously, she didn't even need the teleprompter. She knows ALL the words!

Confession: The summer after 6th grade I went EVERYWHERE with this album in my Walkman. On cassette tape. (I also wore oversized t-shirts over biker shorts, but that's a whole other post.) And yes, I had a huge crush on Young MC. So for old time's sake--and those of you who lack the mad rap skills of Missy--here are the complete lyrics to Bust a Move. Enjoy!

Bust A Move
This here's a tale for all the fellas
Try to do what those ladies tell us
Get shot down cause you're over zealous
Play hard to get and females get jealous
Ok smartie, go to a party
Girls are stancin the crowd is showin body
A chick walks by and you wish you could sex her
But you're standin on the wall like you was Poindexter
Next day's function, high class luncheon
Food is served and you're stone cold munchin'
Music comes on, people start to dance
But then you ate so much you nearly split your pants
A girl starts walkin, guys start gawkin'
Sits down next to you and starts talkin'
Says she wanna dance cus she likes the groove
So come on fatso and just bust a move
You're on a mission and you're wishin'
Someone could cure your lonely condition
You're lookin for love in all the wrong places
No fine girls just ugly faces
From frustration first inclination
Is to become a monk and leave the situation
But every dark tunnel has a lighter hope
So don't hang yourself with a celibate rope
New movie's showin... so you're goin'
Could care less about the five you're blowin'
Theatre gets dark just to start the show
When you spot a fine woman sittin' in the front row
She's dressed in yellow, she says "Hello,
Come sit next to me you fine fellow"
You run over there without a second to lose
And what comes next, hey bust a move
If you want it baby you've got it (repeat)
Just bust a move
In the city ladies look pretty
Guys tell jokes so they can seem witty
Tell a funny joke just to get some play
Then you try to make a move and she says "no way"
Girls a fakin' ... goodness sakin'
They want a man who brings home the bacon
Got no money and you got no car
Then you got no woman and there you are
Some girls are sophistic... materialistic
Looking for a man makes them opportunistic
They're lyin' on the beach perpetratin' a tan
So that a brother with money can be their man
So on the beach you're strollin'... real high-rollin'
Everything you have is yours and not stolen
A girl runs up with somethin to prove
So don't just stand there, bust a move(break down)
Your best friend Harry has a brother Larry
In five days from now he's gonna marry
He's hopin you can make it there if you can'
Cause in the ceremony you'll be the best man
You say "neato"... check your libido
And roll to the church in your new tuxedo
The bride walks down just to start the wedding
And there's one more girl you won't be getting
So you start thinkin', then you start blinkin'
A bridesmaid looks and thinks that you're winkin'
She thinks you're kinda cute so she winks back
And now you're feelin' really fine cus the girl is stacked
Reception's jumpin', bass is pumpin'
Look at the girl and your heart starts thumpin'
Says she wants to dance to a different groove
Now you know what to do g, bust a move

Friday, November 03, 2006

Tilth, take 2

Last night Larry and I went to Tilth so he could try it out too. Once again, the meal was fabulous. Super fresh ingredients, interesting (in the best sense of the word) flavor combinations, and beautiful presentation. And upon reflection (and a second visit), I don't think the noise level is that much louder than other restaurants with tile or wood floors. Plus, we called at 7 and were able to get a table for 7:15. You can't beat that!

What we ate:
K: Full Circle Farms Baby Lettuces--lemon vinaigrette, pistachio, parmesan crisp

Very tasty, but I think I'll order the pear salad next time (or as long as it's on the menu)
Balsamic Glazed Alaskan Sablefish--polenta cake, remoulade, parsley

I hadn't had sablefish before, but I would definitely have it again! The polenta cakes were super buttery and rich. A great dish.

L: Local Comice Pear Salad--arugula, walnut, ewe’s blue cheese
Grass Fed Seared Top Sirloin--fingerling potato, radicchio, béarnaise sauce

Again, such a well thought-out dish. The radicchio was a perfect foil for a medium-rare steak.

Dessert:Smoked Theo Chocolate Pudding--graham cracker, vanilla marshmallow

A's Theo chocolate, so you know it was good.
Mini Caramel Heirloom Apples--hazelnut, hot apple cider shot

Still the cutest dessert EVER.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

There is no good title for this post that doesn't include a bad gardening pun.

Thursday night I met a friend for dinner at Tilth, the new all-organic restaurant that went in where Mandalay Cafe used to be. We were super sad when Mandalay closed--it was one of Larry's favorite neighborhood restaurants--but we've been excited to check out Tilth, since it's one of only two certified organic restaurants in the country, and the chef (Maria Hines) is highly acclaimed. (I felt a little bad about going without Larry, but we'll go again soon--they have a great looking brunch in addition to dinner service.)

It's cliched but true nonetheless--the food at Tilth was amazing. Every dish was so well thought out, and presented beautifully. There was nothing on the plate that didn't need to be there--no extra garnishes that just get thrown in the trash, and even more importantly no superfluous ingredients. We both commented on how nice it was to eat food that wasn't over the top in presentation but still felt special. Our server was friendly and knowledgeable, and the ambience was homey (fitting, since it's in a house). My only complaint was the noise level--at our small table for two, we both had to lean in and talk louder than normal to be heard, and even then at times I was straining to hear the conversation. So for a romantic dinner Tilth might not be my first choice, but I'd definitely go again for brunch or dinner with a group of friends.

The food:

Local Comice Pear Salad
arugula, walnut, ewe’s blue cheese

The cheese was sooo deliciously was an excellent compliment to the bitter arugula, and the thin slices of pear and cracked walnut blended in perfectly. One of the best (and best-composed) salads I've had in a while.

Crispy Pork Belly
cranberry beans, scallion pesto, bacon vinaigrette

Really tasty, but I would order the small size next time, and share it. About 2/3 of the way through, I was horrified at the amount of fat I was consuming. But it tasted so good!

Local Mountain Huckleberry Tart
black pepper ice cream

YUM. The ice cream was different without being weird, and the tart crust was flaky beyond belief. Plus, the huckleberries were perfectly sweetened.

Mini Caramel Apples
Taffy, peanut, hot apple cider shot

Seriously, the cutest dessert I've ever eaten. Six teeny apple balls with peel on the top and speared with toothpicks shaped like blades of grass. Presented on a bed of peanuts with a little dish of caramel for dipping. We didn't want to eat it at first, it was so adorable. But we gave in to temptation pretty quickly, and it tasted as good as it looked. We both decided we might have to crib this idea for future dinner parties.

alternate titles for this post...
The Com-Post
I Dig Tilth

Friday, October 27, 2006

Coasters rule.

The good folks at Fametracker have completely outdone themselves this time. They have summed up the Pavlov-like urge to watch bad movies, the importance of picking the right theater (with the right candy) and confronted the difficult issue of Kirsten Dunst in one fell swoop. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I believe this may be the very best Celebrity vs. Thing EVER.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Now playing...

The Decemberists--The Crane Wife
Math and Physics Club--self-titled
Scissor Sisters--Ta-Dah
Yo la Tengo--I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass
inaugural podcast

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Music makes everything better

It's been the craziest week ever. Work was insanely busy, plus there was: choir rehearsal on Tuesday followed by the Nada Surf/Guster show at the Moore; Larry's birthday dinner at Wild Ginger on Wednesday; dress rehearsal Friday night and our first concert tonight (with another one tomorrow night). I was also supposed to go to book club Thursday night but had to bail at the last minute because I wound up getting a cold, as if I have time for that. But I'm not writing this post to complain. No, I'm writing it to tell you that you should run, not walk, to buy the new Decemberists album, The Crane Wife. It is AMAZING--they just keep getting better and better. I'd even go so far as to call it my favorite album of the year. Buy it now!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Do you know the way to Santa Fe?

Last night we went for a long walk, through Woodland Park, up to Phinney Ridge and even down to Greenwood. It was really fun to just walk around in a different neighborhood, and Woodland Park always gives me the feeling that I'm not really in the city anymore--at least till I cross the foot bridge over roaring Aurora Avenue. Along the way we stopped for a while in the rose garden next to the zoo, where almost all the flowers were in full bloom. It was probably one of the last warm, sunny days we'll have for a while, so we had to take advantage of it.

We wound up stopping for dinner at The Santa Fe Cafe, a New Mexican restaurant on Phinney Ridge. Dinner was good--the portions were huge, and the flour tortillas served on the side were irresistibly fluffy and warm. But the best part was the awesome vision that came to me as we waited for our table. It all began normally--I asked Larry if he thought that the staff liked the song "Santa Fe" from Rent. He humored me and said maybe. Then I started to envision the staff gathering together before they open every day, singing "Santa Fe" together. They would sashay through the restaurant like Collins and Angel, swinging around corners. At the end, they could all join in a huddle, singing "Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh..." with one hand in, and then on the last "Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-ooh..." they would slowly raise their arms, with jazz hands of course. Then they would shout, "Santa Fe!" and open for business. Come on--it would be a total morale booster! I think the next time we go back I may have to suggest it on their comment card.

Monday, September 18, 2006

more Alaska pics

First day of our cruise, from the top deck of the Mercury

Before our raft float excursion through the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve--our life preservers all had fun names like "Salty Dog" and "Mad Hatter"

A few of my favorite things, volume 2

english toffee
Neil Patrick Harris on How I Met Your Mother
lovely design
Sundays in fall
T-strap shoes
wrapping presents

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Ain't no sunshine when he's gone...

Oh, Kayne, I'll miss you so. The back of that dress was a little scary, but the front was lovely. And at least it looked like a cocktail dress; Jeffrey's concoction looked like something a misguided college student would put together from thrift shop rags for a night of clubbing. But I digress. I look forward to seeing what Kayne puts out next, and I can even see a reality show in the future--Project Kayne, anyone? I'd watch an entire season of that, no question.

I'm starting to lose some love for PR in general--it feels like the producers are just yanking the audience around and trying to create "drama" instead of letting the natural drama of the competition carry the show. I understand making the challenges tougher, but bringing two auf'ed designers back (and the two most dramatic ones at that) just seems fake. Plus it undermines the work that the other designers have done to make it this far, especially when Angela wouldn't have won the Macy's challenge without Laura and Michael. It just felt like the producers made up a viable sounding reason for bringing those two back.
Even Tim seemed a little annoyed to see Vincent and Angela again. Oh well, at least they got kicked off again. I suppose there's some amusement in that.

Since I didn't post last week, here's a quick recap of the couture challenge:

Jeffrey: don't like him, but the gown was great. Very punky and modern, but still pretty.
Kayne: I thought the judges were too harsh--his gown was beautiful. Plus it was really smart to use the corset top since he had to fit 2 different models. He should have gotten more credit for that.
Laura: the judges were right--it looked like old YSL. I'm so glad she changed it up a little this week; her cocktail dress was so cute and something I would definitely buy (okay, I'd buy it if I were taller and had model-thin legs...)
Michael: for being his first couture style gown, I admired his ambition. But it looked so much better when he folded the scallops in--I wish he would have done that from the start.
Uli: Pretty, but kind of like everything else she's made this season.
Vincent: I'm with Catherine Malandrino--No. No, No, NO.

Can't wait to check out Getty Images on Friday and see the runway show designs. Unless Michael has a meltdown, I don't see how he won't win the whole competition. I predict Michael, Laura and Jeffrey make it to the final 3, and Michael better win. He's clearly the most talented and versatile designer on the show. But I'll still always have a soft spot for Kayne, no matter what his taste level. Bye, Kayne--don't forget to write!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

It's that time of year again...

Tonight I went out with my friends Jenny, Kristine and Bob to celebrate my birthday a day early. We went over to Bad Albert's in Ballard, a little neighborhood bar that also has great burgers. It was so fun to kick back with a couple of cocktails on a Thursday night, plus there were presents which made it that much better!

Jenny gave me a BEAUTIFUL pair of Nepalese moonstone dangly earrings set in sterling silver, plus some yummy truffles from Chocolati. On top of the pretty floral wrap was one of my favorite You Send Me cards--it has a little black kitty wearing a crown and playing with a hot pink ball of yarn, and it says, "Queen for a Day." So cute! Kristine and Bob gave me a "bee-day" present that was so cool, I wished I had brought my camera to take pictures as I unwrapped it. It was wrapped in my favorite black and white wrap from the shop with yellow ribbon, with a handmade card that said "Happy bee-day!" tied on top. Inside, there was yellow tissue with a copy of one of my favorite woodcut bee designs tipped on; then there were 4 presents, each wrapped in yellow tissue with a black band of ribbon and the same (but tiny) bee tip-on. This may be boring to some of you but for a wrap-oholic like me, it was heaven! The presents were totally themed, too: a tea-leaf scented candle whose black/white scroll label recalled the wrap; a box of matches with old-fashioned bee illustrations on both sides; beeswax lip balm; and a gorgeous glass bottle of honey. Seriously, it's not even officially my birthday yet and I have already had so much fun!

Later in the evening, the waitress brought over a piece of ice cream cake smothered in whipped cream and chocolate sauce for me. Kristine, Jenny and Bob started singing "Happy Birthday," and the bar was so small that almost everyone else joined in. What a great way to kick off my 29th year.

Since I didn't have my camera, we came up with a birthday haiku to commemmorate the occasion:

to bee or not to
be twenty-nine forever
that is the question

Monday, September 04, 2006

Bumbershoot madness

We have a 3 day pass to Bumbershoot, so I've been immersed in music the past 2 days and will be again today. Here's a short run-down of my favorite moments so far; I'll be putting up some more detailed posts in the near future.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings--the tightest rhythm section I have seen in YEARS. And the trumpet and 2 saxes danced when they weren't playing. You know the dance--that Blues Brothers-esque side step back and forth. It looked amazing, the whole band moving like one organism. And on top of that, the music was sooooo good. Sharon Jones is a tiny woman, but she had more energy than any of us at the show. If you don't already have her latest album Naturally then you should get to the record store asap and pick it up.

Lady Sovereign--a 19 year-old British rapper. She has the mouth of a sailor but her raps are so energetic and "teenage" sounding that it's just pretty darn cute. My favorite was a rap about girls who use too much self-tanner, with the line, "Bitch, don't you know you're orange?" Classic.

The New Pornographers--they are easily one of my top 5 groups. Their music just makes you want to dance, and the harmonies are brilliant. I've now seen them 3 times and will definitely be seeing them each and every time they come through Seattle.
Spoon--obviously talented and quite popular, but not quite for me.
Jeremy Enigk--I hadn't heard him before but he was great. Thoughtful lyrics and music. So low key that Larry was falling asleep during his set, but I was pretty mesmerized.
Blue Scholars--gotta love the hometown rappers! It's nice to see them making it big.
Kanye West--he's a great performer, but he spent most of the set performing "greatest hits"--beats/raps he produced for other performers. But he also did some new stuff that will be on his next album, and he ended with "Touch the Sky" which is my favorite, so it was definitely worth sticking around for.

That's it--today we're off to see Sera Cahoone, Rocky Votolato, Bettye LaVette, Breakestra, Yerba Buena, and Feist, and probably more. It's a great lineup, and should be fun...

Hey! I'm walkin' heah!

So Friday I got hit by a car. No, a car didn't run into my car. A car ran into ME. I was waiting to cross the street to get to work, my purse and newspaper in one hand and my giant coffee in the other. (I'm trying to cut down on my caffeine intake, but Friday was not the day for that.) A car had pulled up too far into the intersection and was now blocking the crosswalk. That's fine; I mean, we've all done it before and sometimes you just can't help it or you misinterpret how the traffic flow is going. No big deal. An older man was on the other side of the street coming toward me, but now there wasn't enough room in the (blocked) crosswalk for both of us. Again, no big deal, this has happened before; I decided to leave the crosswalk for him and go around behind the car, a standard practice in this situation (at least where I live). What I wasn't prepared for was what came next: the driver started backing up to get out of the crosswalk, apparently without looking in his rear view mirror, and backed right up into me. I yelled, "Hey!" He kept coming. I yelled again, as my coffee started spilling all over the trunk. I finally got to the other side of the car, which was good because this guy STILL hadn't noticed that he was bumping into something, namely me. When I got past the car, I was so in shock that all I could think to say was, "I just spilled my coffee all over your trunk." What a zinger!

I'm fine, and the driver ultimately rolled down his window and apologized. But what a way to start the day, huh? Sadly, both Larry and my friend Stephanie have both been hit by cars in similar circumstances. Not to sound all preachy, but people really need to pay attention. Or at the very least, they should probably look for pedestrians at a CROSSWALK before hitting the gas...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Project Runway Episode 7 thoughts

I'm so over this week's episode I can barely be bothered to write about it. Jeffrey was an ass, and Angela's mom was annoying (but she still didn't deserve to be treated so rudely); no big surprises there. But wait...Robert was sent home, and Vincent won??? How did this happen? And why is season 3 turning into such a drama fest? I wish they would take Jay's advice and let the work speak for itself, because I'm tired of seeing boring clothes and listening to people yell at each other. If they would give them real fabric, a decent amount of money to spend on it, and slightly more realistic timeframes I'm sure it would be less "dramatic" but at least the clothes would be worth looking at. That said, here's my summation of the episode, plus the 2 I missed while I was on vacation:

My new top 3: Michael, Uli, Kayne. Michael has been showing creativity and skill from the beginning and I was so happy to see him win, twice! I loved the reversible shirtdress; I'm not really into reversible clothing but his was cute enough to win me over. Uli is consistently original and you gotta love the way she paired a print with stripes and made Kayne's mom look amazing. I thought she should have won this challenge. Kayne has been a little harsh to some folks lately, but I still love him. I'm sure I'd be getting grouchy if I were under that kind of pressure. Not Jeffrey grouchy, but still.

Vincent wins: Wha-huh? So if I make a satin dress that manages to make a svelte woman look all pooch-y in the stomach and then tack some harlequin clown lapels on the front I could win too? Seriously, the dress did not deserve to win. Uli's mom is adorable, though.

Robert: I will miss him so much; it seemed like everyone else was as bummed as we (the PR-watching crew) were to see him go. I scrim, you scrim...we love you, Robert!

Jeffrey: Tacky, tacky, tacky. The dress, his behavior, everything about him in this episode.

I really hope tomorrow night will be a better episode, with a real challenge. No more team challenges, no more "creative" materials, no more obvious drama plays, people! There is enough drama without the producers sticking their fingers in the pie, so I wish they'd stop already. And I know Heidi's pregnancy is starting to show, but why can't they get the supermodel a decent outfit? This should not be too much to ask from a show about fashion.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

This can't be happening.

I can't believe Robert got auf'ed. Or rather, I can believe it, but I don't want to. I'm so sad right now I can't even address the rest of the episode. A full review on the insanity of Vincent winning, Jeffrey's heinous dress and equally bad behavior, and Angela's Fringe Attacks! look will have to wait till tomorrow.

Back to life, back to reality...

We've been back since Friday, but it still feels like we just walked in the door. So much catching up to do--laundry, work, and of course, Project Runway (sadly, we didn't get Bravo on the ship). But a girl only has so many hours in the day, so I'll start by posting a couple of my favorite pictures from our cruise. I'll post more in the next few days or so.

Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska

Sunset over the Inside Passage

Thursday, August 03, 2006

PR Episode 4 thoughts

Wow. This may have been the best episode ever, if you don't count the clothes. Where is Michael Kors when you need him? These outfits were completely underwhelming.

Keith is auf: Karma did indeed catch up with Keith, and I can't bring myself to feel sorry for him. His over-the-top arrogance, combined with blatant cheating, did him in and he deserved to be kicked off.

Angela's win: Completely due to the good taste and skills of Laura and Michael. I'll give it to her, the rosettes worked as buttons, but please don't call them your "signature." If I have to look at those stupid rosettes for the rest of the season I will seriously go blind. I really loved how no one wanted Angela to pick them--even the model looked bummed to be stuck with her. I'm sorry, but even if she won I can't get past her own hideous clothes. The bubble skirt, those AWFUL pants (what was that weird fabric on the rear?)...ICK. I do have to give her credit for working with Laura and Michael as a team and not just blazing ahead as the team leader.

Heidi's outfit: WHY was she wearing formal shorts???

Favorite phrases: "I'm a squid without an ocean."--Bradley
"No more granny flowers!"--Laura
"DA-YUM!"--Michael, making the Home Alone face

Top 3: still Kayne, Robert, Michael. I can't give up on Kayne and Robert just because they had a bad outfit--I still love them! And Michael...well, he's just awesome. Carry on!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Just can't get enough PR!

Here's a little something fun to start the day--Andy's interview with Kayne (who we all know I love, love, love). I especially enjoyed his word associations for the other designers...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Project Runway episode 3 thoughts

Katie vs. Angela: Okay, I get that Katie's dress was simple and didn't look finished. But it was pretty and looked like something you might actually want to wear, as opposed to Angela's "British assistant at an art camp in Paris who spends her free time on the sidewalks of Pigalle" look. I just wish Katie would have finished the hoodie--even if it was sleeveless, it would have been better than nothing. I hope one day people will learn that they should ALWAYS listen to Tim Gunn. The man is a genius!

Who I thought should win: Michael. His dress was killer--so sexy but totally wearable. I think he's going to emerge as a top contender as the season progresses; he definitely deserves more recognition than he's getting right now. (I really liked Uli's dress too, but I thought Michael was wrongly overlooked.)

Continuing rant against Keith: Please, Keith, do us all a favor and get over yourself already. You're not that great. And stop lying!!! The other designers were actually rolling their eyes when he said he had made 3 or 4 outfits for Morgan and none of them worked; it sounded like a complete load of crap, especially since he said from the beginning that he had no intention of making an outfit for her. I was so happy that Heidi called him out on the bracelet/collar that he claimed to have made (altered, yes; created from scratch, NO). His only redeeming quality was his seemingly genuine concern for Bradley. But karma's going to catch up with Keith sooner or later...

My top 3: Kayne, Robert, Michael. I love Kayne--he's just so fun to watch, and so far I've loved all of his designs--so he really can do no wrong in my book. Ditto for Robert. And the two together are even better! We haven't gotten to see much of Michael's personality, but the two designs he's shown are amazing. I hope we get to see all three designers for a long, long time.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Oh my lord, I have turned into such a wimp since I moved to Seattle. When I was growing up in the midwest, summers were nothing but hot and humid. You froze inside from the AC and scorched outside from the heat and that's just the way it was. But now I'm used to 60-70 degree weather with a breeze coming off the water, and this muggy 90-plus degree weather this weekend is killing me! All I want to do is sit on the cement floor in the basement and eat popsicles.

We went to the M's game last night--we have tickets all weekend because the Red Sox are in town and they're Larry's team. I also love the Red Sox because Larry got me into them, but I'm more of a Mariners fan. Since I never really watched baseball before the Mariners, they've become my home team, and though they're often disappointing I still love them. But games against the Red Sox are tough--I find myself cheering for both teams and getting strange looks from those around me.

Last night we were in the upper deck behind home plate, and it was really interesting to see the pitches from that vantage point. There were a lot of near-misses and several batters hit by the ball--maybe it was the weather, because there were also a lot of home runs. We lost 9-4, but Yuniesky played well; he was 4 for 4 in his at-bats and of course rocked on defense. I was working today so couldn't go, but we beat Boston 5-2. (Unfortunately, Larry got beer spilled on him by drunken M's fans who called Ichiro a "Chinaman." Nice, huh?) Tomorrow we're behind the left-field foul post; it should be fun to see the game from another new perspective. I imagine I'll be happy no matter who wins...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Project Runway episode 2 thoughts

Malan being auf'ed: Strangely,I really started to have a soft spot for Malan this epsiode, which of course is when he got kicked off. Damn producers. Seriously, though, he came across so differently in his exit interview than he was edited to show on the first episodes. I didn't even mind the accent after a while. He was a wee bit melodramatic at the end, but even so I really warmed to him and am sad he is gone. Especially when he's a much more talented designer than either...

Vincent: CRAZY. Really, he scares me and I feel a bit uncomfortable even watching him. It's like watching a train wreck. And what was with the "sweetheart" this and "dear" that to Angela? Patronizing much?
Angela: ICK. After harassing Kayne and biffing her interview with Miss USA (I'm sorry, but you're a designer who doesn't sketch? Are you kidding me?), she shouldn't have been surprised to be the last one chosen. I thought that Vincent was an ass to her, but she was just as bad with her rotten, nagging attitude. I hope she gets the boot soon, 'cause I can't stand her.

Kayne and Robert: Still loving them both!!! I loved the dress (even though there was a little something funky going on with the top) and thought it was perfect for a pageant. Plus they were so fun to watch. My favorite moment was when Robert said, "She's a beauty queen, not a disco ball," and Kayne replied that they had bought a thousand rhinestones and were going to use them! Oh I adore them so. I hope they both make it to the final three.

Laura and Michael: Another great team, it was just too bad that the nude fabric came across as white. Maybe not the perfect dress for a pageant, but truly beautiful and classic. (Although I wish Laura would cover her sternum--she looks unhealthily skinny when it shows.)

Was sad not to see more of Tim this episode--hopefully next time.

One last this blog from one of the producers.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Oklahoma City Storm???

Today it was announced that the Seattle Storm and Sonics are being sold to a group of buyers in Oklahoma City. I know they've been having lease issues with the city of Seattle, and have even talked about moving the teams to Renton (can you imagine trying to get down there for a game on Friday nights???), but Oklahoma City? Will they now be the Oklahoma City Dust Storm? I am despondent. Larry says if they leave it wouldn't be for at least another year, and the new owners sound like they want to keep the team here, but who knows what will happen. Between this and the disappointing M's season, I don't know how much more I can take. Being a sports fan is just too emotionally draining. And, no, I can't believe I just said that either.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Project Runway episode 1 thoughts

Who I thought should have won: Michael or Robert. Michael's dress of coffee filters was the most innovative AND completely beautiful to boot. Just don't wear it in the rain...Robert's dress was also imaginative and super cute. I hope he makes it to the final 3.

Why I don't like Keith: He lied to the judges at his audition!!! He said he had codesigned womenswear, but in one of his personal interviews he said it was the first time he had ever made a dress. I don't like that. Even if he's "designed" womenswear, if he hasn't sewn it before then he shouldn't act like he has. Plus I didn't think it was that great of a dress. His "Gone with the Wind"/Carol Burnett story (and his cuteness) is what won the challenge, not the outfit (although he does get some credit for actually turning out a decent first dress).

Malan's freaky accent: So he was born in Taiwan, lived in London and "all over," but why does his accent sound mostly like Kara Janx who's from South Africa? Can you say FAKE???
**Update: After reading this interview I take it back--the accent could definitely be a combination of Australia, Hong Kong, etc. Sorry, Malan! I like him better and better each day, which is a little weird since he's not on the show anymore, but he's really likeable in all of his interviews. I hope he makes it big someday and proves his mom wrong.

Kayne: I love, love, LOVE him. When he said Michael's dress looked "like it would smell like Febreze," my adoration of Kayne was cemented. I don't care if everything he makes this season is hideous (though I hope it won't be because I'd love to see him stay on the show), he is sweet and hilarious and I love him!

Tim Gunn: The real star of the show. I wish he was my super cool uncle. Carry on!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Project Runway is here at last!

So last night we hosted a party to celebrate the season 3 premiere of Project Runway, quite possibly the best show EVER. It was super fun--we only invited fellow fans of the show so everyone was into it, and they even indulged my silly trivia game. The only sad part was when I realized that I might be a wee bit obsessed with PR, because some (okay, many) of my questions were such obscure references that people couldn't figure them out. The only people who scored really well were 1) Missy, who was out of the country during season 2 and just watched the DVD with us less than a week before the party (because of course I bought it the same day it came out) and 2) Amanda, who I got addicted to the show after loaning her the season 1 DVD and who joined us for the season 2 marathon. I'm curious to see if anyone else is as into this show as I am, so I'm posting the questions below...see how you score!

Project Runway Trivia Challenge

1. In which episode did Tim say to/about Wendy, "Don't defend the shoe to me?"
2. Who coined the phrase "wickety-wack?"
3. To what did season 1's Robert Plotkin compare a beautiful woman?
4. What New York gossip rag gave a special mention to Austin Scarlett?
5. Who is Shetangy?
6. Who most likely said, "Where the HELL is my chiffon?"
part 2: In which episode did this person sport an uncomfortably bizarre British accent?
7. In season 2, Santino, Nick, Daniel V. and Andrae were the boys of what?
8 What are Tim's two most famous catchphrases?
9. Which season 1 designer delivered mail in season 2?
10. For which socialite did season 2 contestants design a dress?
11. When Jay said, "I didn't take the bitch's dye, that's fo' sho'," who was the bitch?
12. What two designers used the same ombre fabric, but in different seasons?
13. Which season 1 model showed up late, threw regular tantrums, and nearly ruined Kevin's dress?
14. What was Wendy Pepper's nickname for herself?
15. Sing any two of Santino's musical numbers.
16. What scandal almost derailed Kara Saun's runway show?
17. Who said she didn't know what "Auf wiedersehn" meant?
18. How many hours did John Wade spend on his semi-finals dress?
19. Which designer's dress was Michael Kors referring to when he said, "She looks like Barefoot Appalachian L'il Abner Barbie!"?
20. Name 3 guest judges from either season 1 or 2.

1. USPS challenge
2. Nick
3. A race car

4. Page Six
5. Zulema's alter ego
6. Andrae (yes, I know it's up for debate but they're MY questions!)
part 2. Clothes off your back challenge
7. 35 D (their apartment)
8. "Make it work," and "Carry on."
9. Robert Plotkin (for the ice-skating costume challenge)
10. Nicky Hilton
11. Kevin
12. Austin Scarlett and Santino Rice
13. Morgan (or as I like to remember, Morganza)
14. The Longshot
15. There are 3 (that I remember): "Daniel Franco, where did you go..."; "Lighten up! It's just fashion!"; "Ain't gonna sew-ew no more..."
16. She had shoes made for free by her friends at Dollhouse, in violation of the PR contract
17. Heidi Standridge
18. 8
19. Raymundo's (My Scene Barbie challenge)
20. Choose from: Parker Posey, Badgley and Mischka, Amsale, Debra Messing, Nicky Hilton, Sasha Cohen, Nancy O'Dell, Cynthia Rowley, and others I can't remember right now.

How'd you do?

0-5: You're out early like Daniel Franco...follow your bliss!
5-10: Was it the shirt? You're out (like Emmett).
10-15: Like Kara and Austin, you get your own decoy runway show.
15-20: Ready yourself for Project Jay!

Friday, July 07, 2006


So after the game tonight (sadly, the M's lost 6-1)we went to Kinko's to get my new passport photo taken. We're going on a cruise to Alaska in 6 weeks and I still need to renew it--eek! The good news is they offer expedited service; the bad news is it's nearly $200. Such is the price of international travel, or at least a brief foray into Canada...

Anyways, we got to Kinko's and they took one photo but it wasn't good enough--my chin was down too far or something. So the gal starts to take another photo, when the camera dies. Now I'm sure I overreacted (I stalked out in a major huff, leaving poor Larry to follow behind), but are you freaking kidding me??? You offer passport photos as a service, but no one thought to keep the camera charged? Maybe I'm particularly incensed because I work in retail, which is all about customer service, and their service quite frankly sucked. But I don't think it's asking too much to expect that a passport PHOTO service would have a functioning camera. Apparently Kinko's does, however, because their solution was that I should come back tomorrow. Needless to say, I found a different source for my passport photo--the UPS store. I think I'll call before going, though, just to make sure their camera's charged...

July 13--Update
The UPS Store in Fremont is awesome. I was in and out in 10 minutes, they were super nice, and my pictures even turned out pretty decent (a nice counterpoint to my driver's license, in which I look like a convicted felon). We got my application mailed off on Saturday, so I'm hoping I'll get my new passport in the next week or so. Moral of the story--never go to a Kinko's in the University District (of any city, I imagine) and expect good service. They're just too burned out from working with college kids all day.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Fourth of July photo extravaganza

Possum in our side yard last week. Cute or creepy? Discuss.

Sleeping kitties are the sweetest ever!

Zach realizes that the way up is usually easier than the way down...

Monday, July 03, 2006

It's all about the shoes

I'm normally not so materialistic as to post photos of my personal belongings, but I'm just too excited about my new shoes to hold back. Plus, it's a nice girly counterpoint to all the sports talk that's been going on...

Fresh out of the box(es).

At long last, I have my very own blue suede shoes.

I can't get over the attention to detail on these...

This flower detail is my favorite part.

Larry's shoes are pretty rockin' too.

Sorry if this looks like one big Diesel ad, but they really are the best shoes ever. They're so comfortable, they last forever, and how can you argue with shoes that make you smile every time you put them on?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sunshine on my shoulders...

It has been the most crazy, jam-packed yet completely fun weekend! Yesterday we dragged ourselves out of bed and down to Kell's at 8 am (wouldn't have been so bad if we weren't up till 1:30) to watch the England/Portugal match. I have not historically been a soccer fan--in fact it's only since meeting Larry that I really got into any kind of sport--but we've been watching a lot of the World Cup and I'm starting to get into it. Even so, I was definitely pleased to see that the bar was serving coffee and breakfast for the match! I had to work at 10:30 so missed the overtime, which was probably for the best since England lost.

Last night we saw Neko Case at the Moore Theater. She has an AMAZING voice. You know how a lot of times you go to a live show and they're not as good as they sound on the album because there's no production to help them out? Her voice sounded almost exactly like her albums but even better! She's from Tacoma, so I think she was playing a really long set for her hometown crowd, but she sang for nearly 2 hours and I was mesmerized the entire time. She has such a captivating sound, and I loved how the choice of instruments (pedal steel guitar, dobro, banjo, etc.)for each song perfectly complemented the mood and her voice. If you have the chance to see her don't miss out.

Today we went to the Mariners game against Colorado, which lasted 11 innings and nearly 4 hours. Even though we lost it was a good game. Yuniesky had some great plays--his hitting is still uneven but he makes up for it with his defense. (Listen to me acting like I actually know what I'm talking about!) After the game we went shopping downtown and I wound up buying 2 new pairs of shoes!!! Diesel sneakers are my absolute favorite(they're soooo comfortable), and I haven't bought a new pair in a few years, so I guess I was due for it. At least they were both on sale. One pair is blue suede with lavender suede stripes, and the other pair is freaking amazing--red-orange and yellow suede slipons with this great Asian floral pattern mixed in. I'll have to post a picture--can you tell I'm excited??? Larry got 2 pairs too--one of Diesel sneakers (olive green with orange stripes and brown laces--yum!) and these great brown suede Adidas with orange soles. We came home nearly delirious with happiness about our new shoes (okay, by "we" I mean me) and had a great dinner of roast chicken from the grocery store with our new favorite tomato salad (recipe below). All in all, it's been a pretty perfect weekend.

Judy's summer tomatoes (from It's About Time by Michael Schlow), adapted by us

1 large cucumber, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped into medium-size chunks
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
6-8 basil leaves, torn up
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO!)
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Mix it all in a big bowl and watch it disappear!

Monday, June 19, 2006

More floor tom!

This past weekend was the Fremont Fair, an annual solstice celebration/fundraiser for Fremont Public Association/excuse for people to paint their bodies and ride their bikes naked (in the solstice parade). We got our fill of naked bicyclists last year, so we skipped the parade and just went yesterday to see some bands we like--the main one being Math & Physics Club who I love, love, LOVE. Except. Their drummer is a wee bit of a diva. They were already starting a few minutes late, which wouldn't be a big deal, but then the drummer showed up (late) and made us wait even longer. Apparently, even though his bass drum and vocals were each miked, he really really needed another mic for...his floor tom. His vocal mic was already turned on, so the whole crowd heard him going on about how so many of their songs used the floor tom and it was vital to the group's sound. Buddy. It's a FLOOR TOM. I think we would survive without it! I know I'm not a drummer, so maybe it truly is a vital part of the sound. Still, it seemed a little ridiculous--you're at an outdoor festival performance, with someone else's PA system, and with 45 minutes to play. I don't think that would be my top priority. But moving right along...

Once they finally started, the set was great--the lead singer could use a dose of self-confidence (he seemed a little shy even though his voice is why I love them so much), but they were clearly having a lot of fun onstage and I just love all of their songs. The bassist in particular was super fun to watch. They all seemed like a down-to-earth bunch, even the drummer once he got started playing. It was my first time seeing them live after listening to their EPs many, many times, and I'm happy to say I love them as much as ever, maybe even a little more.

But who knows--it could've been a whole different story if that floor tom hadn't been miked...

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Thank you for the music

Full disclosure: I'm writing this at 1:30 am, my friend Jenny has just left after coming over around 9:30 and helping me polish off 1 and 1/3 bottles of white wine (white wine = no hangover = happy Sunday!). We ate heavily buttered popcorn that Larry was nice enough to make for us, snuck a few Swedish meatballs that he had also made, listened to Joni Mitchell, and talked about singing and life in general. Jenny is a fellow singer and is one of those great friends who can always energize me and make me feel excited about my craft, but also she's just fun to hang out with. She was kind enough to drive to Kirkland for my recital tonight--it's only 20 minutes away but since it's on the Eastside, it might as well be in outer Siberia--and gave me very positive feedback on my performance. I should backtrack a bit:

Since my horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day on Sunday, I have had an amazing voice lesson with my teacher, attended my high school student's recital which renewed my self-confidence as a teacher, and just chilled out in general. I decided to stop being so anal and start experiencing creativity in the making: in other words, to let my singing be and enjoy it in the moment, rather than being hypercritical to the point where I don't want to sing anymore. Because, after all, isn't the whole point of making music to HAVE FUN? I know that's why I got into it, but sometimes you lose sight of the fun in the midst of striving for technical perfection. So anyways, I let go of all that and told my inner critic to just shut up, and as a result I had fun tonight, I really connected with the music, and my technique took care of itself for the most part. And the audience responded--they really enjoyed my performance! More importantly, I enjoyed it, and I had a new appreciation for all the other singers' contributions as well. Everyone's voice is so different and unique, and that's what I love about singing--it's a new and different experience each time, with changing variables. You could have a cold, or be tired, or the room is different, or your emotions regarding the song affect you in a new way, and suddenly the entire process changes. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not, but always a slight variation, which is really exciting when you think about it. Music isn't some static, stale operation; it's constantly evolving, not just with changing times but with each musician who brings their own point of view to the table. So we're always being forced to confront our preconceived notions and opinions, which makes us fresher, better musicians (and in the end, better human beings). I better quit before I get all new age-y, but I have to put in a quote that my accompanist Penny said earlier this week:

"When a performance is too perfect, it loses its humanity."

She went on to clarify, that any performance so steeped in technical perfection ultimately feels disconnected and emotionless, but I love that quote. Because we as humans are imperfect, and while it's okay to strive for perfection in practice, in performance you need to give over to the moment. That's what makes music--or any kind of art--interesting. People don't want to watch someone hit all the right notes, with the proper vibrato, brightness, etc.--they want to feel connected to you, to be told a story, to get lost in a song for a while. And singers who get caught up in the teensy tiny details of absolute perfection are missing the point, and making themselves miserable in the process. So this recital was great for me, as frustrating as Sunday was. It brought me to a new level of understanding about my craft, as well as a breakthrough in my voice lessons, and in the end taught me some (non-voice) lessons about myself. I only hope I don't forget them too soon.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A few of my favorite things...

Hearing that my best friend is one HUGE step closer to cancer remission!!!!!!
Amazing voice lessons both with my teacher and my students
Larry, who is nice to me even when I'm a pain
Being reminded that making music is a collaborative, creative process and we can all take part
Cute new "fresh popped ideas" journals at Flourish
Going to my student's senior recital and watching her get lost in a song
Playing with my kitties, who can entertain themselves for hours with only a clear plastic wand
Ross--where else can you find an adorable skirt for $6.00?
A glass of Coke and baked barbecue Kettle chips
Summer in Seattle

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


No matter what kind of awful day I'm having, the gals at Go Fug Yourself always make me laugh; hence, the link on my blog. But this fugliness from a few days ago is so spectacular that it deserves its own special post. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Some days are like that

I am officially burned out. Between working, teaching, and rehearsing for this upcoming recital I am so over everything. I'm so grouchy right now that I'm even sick of myself, but I'm just so tired and overextended that I can't help it. The best part of my day was the Storm game, even though they lost tonight--I think they were having a rough day too.

So I'm singing on my friend's recital this coming Saturday and I'm performing 2 pieces that she composed. We had rehearsal today and her feedback was great, but I felt a little defensive about it for some reason, which was really annoying. It's a little nervewracking singing a solo in front of the person who wrote it (and who's performed it before), because of course you want to make them happy. Then there's the whole voice teacher thing--we're both teachers, but she has much more experience than I do, plus I'm still honing my technique so sometimes I still get impostor syndrome about my qualifications and ability. Which is pretty stupid considering that I've taken private lessons for 10 years now and have been teaching private lessons for 3 years, plus that whole music degree thing. Why do I have to be such a freaking perfectionist? I think that's what bothered me the most--that she had to make suggestions, like I should have just done it perfectly the first time. Of course that's completely unrealistic, but there it is. If I could change one thing about myself it would be to stop being such a perfectionist. I've managed to mellow out in most parts of my life, but in singing it still persists, and of course that's the area where I most need to chill out--it's hard to have an open, relaxed sound when your body is filled with tension, steeling itself against the criticisms the brain anticipates.

I have such a love/hate relationship with singing; the whole process I described above makes me miserable, gives me stomach aches and makes it hard to sleep sometimes (because along with perfectionism comes the tendency to over-analyze everything). But when I don't sing,or when I think about having a life where I wasn't making music, that seems even more miserable. It's a catch-22. I'm sure I'll feel better tomorrow, and of course it's just one recital; 10 minutes of singing on a Saturday night is really not that big of a deal, even though it felt like it today.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Isn't It Romantic?

Last night we went to Volterra, a wonderful Italian restaurant in Ballard. We've been there twice before and always have a great time, and last night was no exception. We arrived at 6:30 on a Friday night, without reservations, and they managed to seat us right away. Not only that, but the couple before us (who had a reservation) turned down their table and opted for one in the bar, so we got their table in the dining room. The dining room is set up with long banquettes on two walls and tables in the middle. I think ours was the best table in the house--situated in the corner, where the banquettes meet, it's the only table where both diners have a perfect view of the entire restaurant. I couldn't believe our luck! I have no idea why they didn't want that table, but I'm glad we got it.

It seemed like there were a lot of romantic dinners going on; a young married couple 3 tables down raised a toast, and 2 tables over a teenage couple (when did they start looking SO young?) looked like they were out for prom. The older couple next to us was celebrating 6 months of dating. Volterra's tables are quite close together, so it's hard not to overhear; that combined with my curiosity meant that we learned a lot about their relationship. At first, it was hard not to laugh--the gentleman gave his date a full-page, typed letter to read at the table that he had composed " my basement, thinking of you." I know computers are great because you can edit while you type, but come on! It's a love letter--it should be handwritten! (yes, I know that my paper addiction makes me less than objective on this matter...) The woman finished reading, and we overheard,"It's interesting, the different details we remember. For instance, I don't remember touching your arm that night." OUCH. I thought he might be in for a rough night, but then she gave him a couple of notes of her own, and you could see they definitely had a spark. In the end it was pretty cute, actually, and it's nice to know that you can find romance at any age. Cue schmaltzy music...

Back at our table, dinner was amazing. Our server, Steven, was so great; he was super friendly, and Larry liked how he was so excited that we were enjoying our food. When the sommelier came with our wine, he gave Larry the last of the bottle, which made for a very generous pour. When he saw the difference between our glasses, he topped mine up too. It was pretty funny how full our glasses were, and yet somehow we managed to drink it all...

We probably should have skipped dessert, or split one between us, but we decided to go all out and we each got our own, plus a cup of tea (served with yummy candied lemon rind and a pistachio biscuit, which we could barely finish). By the time we left I was so stuffed that I could barely walk to the car. But it was worth it, and I'm sure the next time we go I'll have forgotten this incident and opt for my own dessert again.


What we ate.
House Salad--Baby arugula, shaved fennel and parmigiano reggiano tossed in Chianti vinaigrette and sprinkled with fresh chives
Panzanella--Vine ripened tomatoes, English cucumbers, red onions, kalamata olives, white beans, Tuscan bread, house vinaigrette and shaved ricotta salata cheese
Farro Fettucine with Prawns and Porcini--Homemade farro pasta tossed with shrimp, porcini mushrooms, basil pesto, fresh arugula and a splash of cream
Papardelle with Lamb Ragu--wide egg noodles tossed in lamb ragu and topped with black pepper studded Sicilian pecorino
Strawberry Rhubarb Tart--handmade tart topped with acacia honey zabaglione
Braeburn Apple Pie--Homemade apple pie with warm brandy sauce and vanilla gelato

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sports Night(s)

Last night we went to the Storm season opener against the LA Sparks. It was pretty much the perfect game: we won 90-67 and Lisa Leslie fouled out in the fourth quarter. Brilliant! The only downer was the guy sitting behind us, who I think is trying to outdo me as the Storm super fan. He was yelling so loud that I could barely hear myself, and when Doppler the mascot was throwing t-shirts into the crowd, Larry and I both had to duck as he reached into the row IN FRONT of us to grab at a shirt. I know they're free, but come on--he was duking it out with a couple of kids and their grandma!

Another highlight of the game is always the Storm dancers. Instead of girls in skimpy cheerleader outfits, the Storm has two kids' dance squads, one with teenagers and one with younger kids. In the young group, there is the cutest, tiniest little girl--she can't be more than 5 or 6--with hair down to her waist and some major attitude. She can do all the dance moves as well as anyone else, and of course she's a crowd favorite. This season she has a partner, another little girl who is just a hair taller. They're so cute when they dance together! The rest of the kids are great too--they just have so much fun out there that they always make me smile.

Tonight we went to the Mariners game against Baltimore, which was another great game--we won 8-6, with Richie Sexson hitting a grand slam in the fifth inning. Yuniesky Betancourt (my favorite player) got a run right before that, thanks to his super speedy running skills. And his hitting has really improved lately, so now all those people who mocked me for liking him so much are starting to like him too. It cracks me up that I'm such a sports fan these days, but what can I say? I'm a convert. I even listen to M's games on AM radio now. But as my friend Heidi says, at least I don't listen to sports radio talk shows...yet...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Bring it!

Tonight was the first Storm game of the season!!! (Well, actually, it was a preseason game but let's not be too picky.) It was a great game against the New York Liberty, and I don't think it would be unfair to say that we stomped them--the Storm won 71-43! As an added bonus, when the players threw free t-shirts to the crowd after the game, Larry helped me catch one. It literally came straight to us, then Larry directed it to me (more specifically, at my face since it hit me in the nose). I never try to catch t-shirts anymore, because last year I reached for one and a lady behind me snatched it away, jamming my finger. I'm not kidding--I couldn't bend it for 3 days! So it was a pleasant surprise, and a great way to start the season. The first game will be May 21 against the LA Sparks, our archrivals. I can't wait!

The great grease fire clean-up continues, although we're almost done. We had tickets to Sigur Ros Wednesday, so we took the night off from cleaning to listen to experimental Icelandic music. The opener was a group of 4 girls called Amina, and they were AMAZING. They all played strings, and also took turns playing a variety of other instruments like the xylophone, harmonium, handbells, glasses, and the saw. Seriously, I can't remember the last time I saw someone play a saw, and I'm pretty sure it was at some weird country music festival my parents took me to. Amina's saw playing was much different than I remembered, and very cool. Their EP is called Animamina, and if you can get your hands on it you won't be disappointed.

Sigur Ros left me a little cold, to be honest. I think their concept is cool: the male lead singer bows his electric guitar like a violin, and sings with this really high, ethereal voice. A lot of their music is based on sustained pitches and phrases, and some songs are in a made-up language that lets you imagine your own words. The lead singer used a distortion box on his guitar quite a lot, and the Amina gals played background strings for much of the show, kind of like a drone.

Intellectually, I appreciated that they were pushing the boundaries of what is typically considered music (vs. noise) and how we are used to hearing it. Aesthetically, it just wasn't my thing. Part of it could be that they were overamplified for the space, but the distortion and extended high pitches made my head hurt. And I don't know how else to explain it, but almost all of their songs sound like the bridge of a song to me. There's no build-up or resolution--it's just THAT INTENSE ALL THE TIME. I think I just had different expectations for what they would sound like.

What I liked about the performance is that it got me thinking about music in a way that I haven't for a while (and maybe that's part of their goal--who knows?). At any rate, it was at Benaroya Hall, which is beautiful--the lobby has two amazing glass sculptures by Dave Chihuly that I never get tired of looking at. Plus, it's always nice to see a show in a venue with assigned seating and clean bathrooms!