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Monday, December 22, 2008

Stormpocalypse Snowmageddon 2008 

(or "Snowpocalypse Stormageddon" if you prefer)

I feel I would be remiss if I didn't somehow write a blog entry on this rather unusual bout of snow that we've gotten here in the Pacific Northwest over the past week. Therefore this blog entry is what you might call "obligatory."

Yes: it snowed here much, much more than it usually snows, and it has stayed much, much longer than it usually stays. And therefore much of the Pacific Northwest has gone into a panic the likes of which must seem hilarious to the upper Midwest and Northeast parts of the country, where long-lasting snow is a common happening.

The fact is that Seattleites, Tacomans, and to a lesser extent Olympians have possibly the worst weather memory in the entire country. You see, it rains well over 100 days out of the year here, so you'd think we'd all be accustomed to driving whenever it rained, right? Well, just imagine that there are more than five consecutive days without rain. For some reason it seems like the entire population suddenly forgets how to drive in the rain when it starts pouring again! I've lived here my whole life and this phenomenon never ceases to amaze me.

So you can imagine what it must be like if it happens to snow, which it does very infrequently. Maybe two or three times a year, tops, and it generally sticks around less than two days if indeed it does last at all. Here's an example of the hilarity: one day last week many Tacoma schools were canceled because it was snowing… even though it was much too warm to stick to the ground. Yes, Tacoma schools were canceled because there was snow in the air. There wasn't even any ice on the roads!

So you can imagine how the whole area basically shut down when a couple of days later the snow really did begin to accumulate on the ground.

Carrie & I have a tradition of night-walking through the snow on the first evening that it accumulates. So late that evening after Carrie got home from work we decided to take Suki with us. We also live within easy walking distance of Alice and Rufus, two Boston Terrier friends of Suki's (and their owners, who are friends of our). We thought it'd be fun to all go for a walk, which it was. But it was also rather embarrassing, because Suki got so extremely excited by the snow and the presence of the Bostons that she kept on spontaneously barking for joy. Loudly. At 11:00 at night outside people's houses.

Another evening a bunch of us who live close by all trudged to the nearby Engine House 9 ("E-9" as it's called around here) for a nommy din-dins.

On Saturday Laura came over and she, Carrie, and I all went down to the Parkway Tavern to meet with Steph, Jamie, and law-school Katie for lunch, 'cause we were excited she was back in town. Well, right before we arrived a group of about 20 overly-well-dressed professionals had spontaneously shown up demanding food and drink. And only two people were working that afternoon: one bartender and one cook. So we had to wait quite a while for our foodstuffs, but it was okay because there was good company and copious amounts of pear cider. That night Fools Play was canceled due to a rather large burst of afternoon/evening snow (the owner of Mud Bay Coffee couldn't find anyone who was willing to keep the place open late enough for us). Instead we all played Animal Crossing and we baked cookies and stayed in. Laura even ended up crashing on our couch.

Carrie had to work all day Sunday. Laura & I walked down to Starbucks and had breakfast sammitches for breakfast. The snow was like crème brûlée: a thin, hard crust over a lot of soft stuff. It was crazy to walk through it. But for lunch we walked again, this time to Wild Orchid to meet with Carrie, Christine, & Lawrence. Here's a tip: if you eat at Wild Orchid, try the Rama Noodles. Very tasty.

We were so inspired by Wild Orchid that we decided to make our own Thai chicken soup for dinner, so Laura, Lawrence & I stopped by the Neighborhood Market on the way back to the house and bought coconut milk and an onion while everyone else went back to work. Lawrence continued on to his house, and Laura decided to drive back to hers before it got dark. Carrie made the soup when she got off of work, and Christine, Lawrence, and the Bostons all came over and ate it (well, the Bostons didn't eat it) while watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the animated version, not that live-action crap).

Let me just say: onion, chicken, garlic, curry paste, coconut milk, chicken stock, cilantro, basil, salt & pepper (in that order) FTW.

By Monday morning the snow had pretty much stopped falling, but it was still very much there. I managed to get my car out of it and got to work with little incident.

I think my car is under there somewhere

And that's about it. There are still about six to nine inches of snow around here. According to weather people the snow is supposed to stick around for the rest of the week, so there might be some form of white Christmas (which would be an absolute shock to the people of the Pacific Northwest; I only recall one white Christmas here in my entire 31 years of existence). I would also just like to say that it is very nice to live within easy walking distance of so many good restaurants and bars.

I hope you have a safe and festive holiday season. Until next time… adiós.

And to all a good night.

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posted by Christopher at 11:19 PM

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Sometimes Parking Far Away From Work And Walking... 

...can be pretty okay. Especially when I'm in a position to take a photo like this:

Tacoma in the Morning 08-12-04

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posted by Christopher at 9:11 PM

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

JoCo and JoHo at ToHoSeo (Stop That) 

(photo by photophonic)

Recently my wife and I went out on a date (gasp) up to Seattle to see a very fine show: John Hodgman's (JoHo) new book tour, co-starring Jonathan Coulton (JoCo) at Town Hall Seattle (ToHoSeo (stop it)).

We had no idea what to expect from this show, but it turned out to be a fantastic night of comedy and music. And comedic music. But not a musical comedy. Kind of. Basically the show consisted of John Hodgman talking about something, then Jonathan Coulton would sing a song that was somehow connected to what John Hodgman had talked about. For example: early in the evening Hodgman talked briefly about the recent election, then Coulton sang this updated version of his Presidents song:

The Presidents - 11/06/08 Seattle from Bacon Fried Rice on Vimeo.

But the show was so much more than that! The show was fantastic because it actually had a plot.

Here it is: Hodgman & Coulton came out, and Coultan sang the theme song that he'd written for Hodgman, which consisted mostly of how Hodgman was a "computer salesman" and sold computers. Hodgman took issues with this and said that just because he was the PC in the Mac vs PC commercials didn't mean that he actually sold computers.

For the first half of the show, Hodgman kept on referring to Coulton as his "feral mountain man." Coulton took issue with this, saying that he wasn't actually feral, and he really wasn't even technically a mountain man. He just had a kind of bushy beard and long-ish hair. Eventually as the night grew on Coulton became more and more disgruntled, until Hodgman revealed that he thought this day may come, and therefore he had a back-up feral mountain man waiting in the wings.John Roderick is FERAL

That man turned out to be John Roderick (right) of The Long Winters and Harvey Danger. He came out and sang a couple of his songs, including "Prom Night at Hater High."

Prom Night at Hater High - 11/06/08 Seattle from Bacon Fried Rice on Vimeo.

Then Johnathan Coulton said that he also figured that this day might come, and he also had his own back-up tweedy nerd-type.

This turned out to be Sean Nelson, also of The Long Winters and Harvey Danger. He was dressed in a tweedy suit like Hodgman. He played a Monkees cover on a big grand piano:

The Porpoise Song - 11/06/08 Seattle from Bacon Fried Rice on Vimeo.

Then to prove that they worked well together, Nelson and Coulton performed a great cover of Billy Joel's "Don't Ask Me Why"

Don't Ask Me Why - 11/06/08 Seattle from Bacon Fried Rice on Vimeo.

After that, John Roderick got into the spirit of things, and he and Sean Nelson ended up performing a really, really wonderful cover of "The Only Living Boy in New York" by Simon et Garfunkle. I can't find any video of that, which is a shame. At any rate, the two of them playing together helped them to "reconcile," and the left together, leaving Coulton and Hodgman alone on the stage. With both of their backups gone they were forced to also reconcile.

Hodgman then told a great story of going to the Battlestar Galactica ride at Universal Studios when he was a kid, and how he actually now has an cameo in an upcoming epsidoe of Battlestar Galactica. Coulton then played the old BSG theme song and included lyrics that he wrote for it (which included a section about how the robots were now "erotic" and the show was much better for it).

Towards the end Hodgman had a Q&A session. A handful of people went up to the microphone provided. Hodgman asked the first woman her name, then asked if she had a question. She said she did. Hodgman then said that he knew she did, because he had prepared her question for her. He then handed her a piece of paper with a question on it and had her read it. He did this with a couple of people before letting them ask real questions.

Eventually the night wound down and Coulton played a couple of his crowd-pleasers like "Code Monkey" and "Re: Your Brains." Then as a final farewell to the crowd, Hodgman surprised everybody by pulling out a ukulele. Then this happened:

It was a fantastic ending to a fantastic show.

I wanted to get a couple of things signed (I had Venue Songs for Hodgman), but neither Carrie nor I felt at all like waiting in a long, long line (must have been 150 people or more), so we went on home instead. Good date.

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posted by Christopher at 1:09 PM

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Hween Hwrap-up, or "The Mii of Me on My Wii Looks an Awful Lot Like Me" 

I must admit, I was completely stumped as to what to do for my Hween costume this year. After the Hard Hat last year, Pac-Man the year before, and Sinistar a couple of years before that, I wanted to make a costume that was a little less... intensive.

But, as I said, I was stumped. Carrie & I batted some ideas around, and I thought Bomberman would be cool 'cause I could make a big plush bomb to throw around. But I couldn't figure out how to easily do that gigantic head of his. Then suddenly Carrie came up with the idea that I should be my own Mii, and just like that my problem was solved!

The Mii of me on my Wii looks an awful lot like me. But how to make a costume out of that as simply as possible? Thankfully, there is an online tool where you can make your own Miis: the Mii Creator. All I had to do was select all the right parts and then fudge them around until the Mii on the screen looked the same as the Mii on the Wii.

I took a screen capture and brought it into Photoshop so I could fix the hairline. The online Mii Creator is a little bit too literal about the thumbnails of the hairstyles looking exactly like the hairstyles; the one I use on the Wii looked different than the same style online. But I fixed it, then printed it out on an 8.5" × 11quot; piece of glossy photo paper, then carefully cut it out.

I cut out a piece of cardboard that was slightly smaller than the Mii, and poked two holes in it at about ear-level. I strung a comfortable organza ribbon through the holes, then mounted the piece of cardboard on the back of the photo paper, voila:

I didn't make any eyeholes (I didn't want to ruin the aesthetic), so I would have to rely on my peripheral vision to move around, but that was fine; many of my costumes have had no vision whatsoever.

I wasn't quite done yet, though. If you look at that image of the Mii Creator up there, you'll notice something about the Mii's hands. Miis don't really have hands. They just have spheres on the ends of their arms. I wanted my costume to be as authentic as possible, so I decided to make a couple of sphere fists for myself. But how? By sewing, of course!

I had no idea how to sew a ball, but thankfully we're well into the 21st century now and pretty much all how-to knowledge is somewhere on teh intarwebz. A quick search came up with this reasonable set of instructions on how to make a plush ball.

I went and bought a long-sleeved purple T-shirt (it was a UW shirt that I just turned inside-out) and some cheap fabric that was a close-enough color. I cut out 12 foot-ball-shaped pieces of the purple fabric.

I took 'em over to mum's house and used her sewing machine to sow them together in sets of three, so that I had six hemispheres. I then sewed the hemispheres together into two spheres, leaving about a three-inch gap in them so that I could insert my hand.

Then I turned the shirt's sleeves inside-out (well, right-side-out in this case because I wanted the shirt to end up being inside-out) and sewed the spheres to them like this:

Once both spheres were sewn on, I turned the shirt right-side-out (inside-out in this case) and then stuffed the spheres full of poly-fill so that they'd maintain their shape.

Then all I had to do was put on the shirt halfway, tie on the mask, and then slip my hands into the spheres and my costume was complete! I am my own Mii! And it was comparatively easier than the costumes I did the last couple of years.

Then if you're lucky you'll get to hang out with a hottie like Tia, whose costume was her own character from Rock Band:

Everyone seemed to love me being my Mii quite a lot. I liked it quite a lot as well, though there were two problems with the costume:
  1. I could only see via peripheral vision
  2. I had no usable hands

My "Batmen of Many Variations" jack-o-lanterns were also a hit, though not as popular as my Pac-Man punkins (though more popular than my Space Invaders punkins). Here are some photos of my 2008 punkins all lit up and purdy:

On Hween night we did our annual tradition where I make a metric tonne of Reuben sammitches and Carrie makes a delicious Russian potato soup with green beans, sauerkraut, and dill. Hope everyone else's Hween was equally as enjoyable as mine, if not moreso.

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posted by Christopher at 11:07 AM

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Where They Filmed Bits of The Goonies 


Last week was our 4-year wedding anniversarary! Hooray! To celebrate, we both took the whole week off and went on vacation.

The weekend before the vacation we had a big ol' yard sale. I followed the advice of my own article about Garage Sale Etiquette, and the whole thing went swimmingly. Carrie actually did most of the work during the actual hours of operation due to the fact that I was working on the big Bead Factory Fashion Show handouts, as I had been doing the entire week leading up to that weekend.

I should say that Saturday went very well; Sunday was pretty much dead. We made enough moneys to buy lunch. Carrie did get to hang out in the front yard with Laura & Lawrence and play backgammon while drinking margaritas, so the day wasn't a bust by any means (I once again spent much of the day working on handouts). After it was all over we loaded everything that was left into my car and I ran up to Goodwill and gave it all to them.

The next day we left for vacation. We rented a house in a tiny little town called Tierra Del Mar, Oregon. We found the house through We actually stayed at this house. Tierra Del Mar is sewiously small; it consists of about 12 streets branching off from the main thoroughfare. If you sneezed you would practically drive through it without noticing. It's about halfway between Tillamook and Pacific City.

Wait, did I say Tillamook? If you know me, then you know that I loves me the cheese, and Tillamook happens to have a great big ol' factory that just pumps out the stuff. So that was the second stop on our journey.

What was the first stop? A Burgerville in southern Washington. They (coincidentally?) have a fantastic bacon burger with Tillamook cheese all up on it. They also have sweet-potato fries and very delicious milkshakes. Y'know, I shouldn't say that Burgerville was our first stop because we didn't actually stop there; we just hit the drive-through. We stopped at a rest stop a ways down I-5 and ate our yummy foodstuffs at a picnic table OM NOM NOM. Burgervile is kind of a tradition whenever we drive to Oregon. There was also a dog area at the rest stop, so we let Suki run around in it for a bit.

Then we headed on down to the Tillamook Cheese Factory using this route. It wound up through the "mountains" between Portland and the coast. It was very pretty. But naught so pretty as the pretty cheese in that factory.

We, as is our custom, bought the packaged odds-and-ends. When they carve cheese into those brick shapes, what do you think happens to all the leftover bits? They shrink-wrap them and sell 'em at the factory for a reduced price! They only had one style that day, a garlic white cheddar. That was okay with us!

From there we got on 101 and headed on south to Tierra Del Mar. It was after 4:00 by the time we arrived, so we quickly hauled everything out of the car and then walked Suki down to the end of the road where there was a big, huge, northwest-coast-style beach. A few miles to the south was a big ol' Haystack Rock, though not the Haystack rock—that was up north many miles out of view near Cannon Beach, where they filmed bits of The Goonies. This Haystack Rock was not in the movie The Goonies. Don't know why they couldn't give both rocks different names.

We played fetch with Suki. She seemed to like the beach quite a bit, and didn't mind getting her entire mouth completely coated with sand. It woulda bothered me. Ah, well.

Suki at the Beach

I took a short video of the beach so you could see just how crowded it was there:

Yeah. After fun in the surf and sand we headed back to the house where I hosed Suki down (she didn't like that). For din-dins that evening we made clam chowder from scratch (it just seemed right to make clam chowder while you're staying at the beach).

Carrie made this really fascinating bread product. I'll see if I can describe it:
For this recipe you will need:
  • (2) cans of buttermilk biscuit dough
  • Bacon
  • Shredded cheese
  1. Cook the bacon until it's crispy, then crumble it to bits.
  2. remove all of the biscuits from the cans. Cut them up into little 1" - 2" triangles.
  3. Arrange half the biscuit bits in a single layer (as best you can) in the bottom of a greased baking pan (it's supposed to be a fluted bunt pan, but they didn't have one there so we just used 2 regular 9" square pans). The triangles don't have to be tightly interlocked; it works better if they're just loosely arranged.
  4. Sprinkle half the crumbled bacon and half the shredded cheese on top of the layer of biscuits.
  5. Make another layer of biscuit bits on top of the bacon/cheese layer.
  6. Sprinkle the rest of the bacon and cheese on top.
  7. Bake in an oven at an appropriate temperature (??) until the biscuits are cooked to a nice, golden brown.

The cheese seeps into all the cracks between the biscuit triangles as it melts, and then when it cools it creates this matrix-like glue holding the whole thing together. To it it, you just rip off a triangle or two and pop it in your mouth. You can dip it in your chowder first if you'd like!

After that first evening, the low clouds rolled in and stayed for the remainder of the vacation. When I say low, I mean like 50-100-feet-off-the-ground low. Fog unless you were at sea level. It was actually kinda nice because it kept the weather very, very moderate. It weren't too hot and it weren't too cold. It weren't too windy, neither.

The rest of the days of the trip were spent exploring all the little towns along the Oregon coast. We went as far south as Newport, where we had some beer inside the "Brewers on the Bay" pub at the Rogue Brewery. That place was really cool; you had to actually walk through the distillery (guided by arrows on the floor and taped-off areas) to get to the pub. It almost felt like you were trespassing. We went as far north as Seaside, which we did not like very much; it had a strange, aggressive, "angry carnie" energy about it.

Our favorite town was Cannon Beach, which was clean, well-maintained, and tourist friendly. Lots and lots and lots of cute shops full of cute stuff. I didn't buy anything.

An interesting thing to note about our trip: we didn't ever eat out at a restaurant. We had beer at the Rogue brewpub, but not food. We cooked our own breakfasts and dinners, and we packed picnic-style lunches that we took with us. It was really tasty and a much less-expensive way to have a vacation than to eat out for every meal. We made horribly delicious things from scratch, such as beef fajitas, chicken salad, burgers stuffed with bleu cheese and covered with garlic cheese, etc. We made way too much; we brought home leftovers from pretty much every single meal we made (except for the breakfasts, which we usually scarfed right down).

Another interesting thing to note was that there was neither TV nor internet tubes at our vacation house. We brought my MacBook, though, and it has a nice media player. So we watched a lot of My Boys and Veronica Mars and some Anthony Bourdain while we ate our breakfasts and dinners and relaxed in the evening. We also brought some books but didn't actually end up reading them!

Early on in our stay we were were heading south through the fog along a big, forested cliff over the ocean. I needed to find a restroom (a side effect of having no large intestines), so we pulled over at this one touristy landmark type place that had a gift shop. It didn't have any restrooms, but there was a lookout outside where you could stand at the top of a 500' cliff and look out over the ocean. It was so foggy that you could only see maybe halfway down the cliff. It was like Silent Hill. Still looking for the bathroom we continued up a ways to the Devil's Punch Bowl area of the Oregon coast, where we just happened to stumble upon a winery at the edge of another (smaller) cliff: Flying Dutchman Winery.

After quickly ascertaining they did not have a public restroom and backtracking to some port-a-potties we'd spotted, we came back and did a tasting. They had really, really tasty berry wines. We bought half a case of blackberry and raspberry wines. We'd never have known about this place if I hadn't had to go to the bathroom!

While driving through Pacific City we noticed something familiar about the place. We'd eaten at a restaurant there and stayed at a motel there many, many years ago on an overnight trip we'd taken with Geoff, Josh, and Melissa! It was the trip where Josh and Carrie both tried to learn how to drive stick with Melissa's car. Ah, nostalgia.

There was also a cute little town to the north called Nehalem. It had like two blocks of cute little shops, all linked up with covered walkways. It also had a bead shop (we stopped at at least two bead shops during this trip) that had a going-out-of-business sale happening. Hey, I just learned that there's a Google Street View of Nahalem, of all places! Go take a look.

Eventually it was time to head back home. But just because it was our last day didn't mean we were done with our vacation! Not by a long shot! It was time for wine. Wine time!

Instead of going back the way we came, we jutted south and then headed east on Highway 18 towards McMinnville, towards the heart of Willamette Valley wine country.

Traveling generally northeast on 99, we hit the following wineries:

Yamhill Valley
Had a cool koi pond out front. We bought a couple of whites.
Anne Amie
Very classy place. We bought three bottles, including a shockingly tasty Müller Thurgau and an easy red blend they called Amrita. We ate a picnic lunch at a table on their patio
Archery Summit
Least-expensive bottle there was $48. We didn't buy any but did the full tasting (generous amounts). Got to drink some $100 pinot noir. It was easily the best wine there, but honestly not $75 better than a good $25 bottle of pinot noir.
Our perennial favorite. We got a couple of interesting whites, including a dry Gewurztraminer (which was kinda fascinating). We tried to have a snack on their patio but were driven away by bees.
Interesting little place, had an unusual selection. We got a bottle of sparkling rose wine (the most expensive single bottle we got on our trip) and a very delicious ice wine.

Carrie did the driving so I did most of the drinking, and I was a little tipsy by the end, I tell you what. But still—still—we weren't quite done!

Late afternoon, following phone directions, we wound ourselves into that strange hilly area directly south of downtown Portland to the apartment of Heather & Chris. They took us all up curvy roads towards the top of the hill.

The roads skirted around huge, forested chasms, along the sides of which were many terribly expensive houses built on stilts hanging over these chasms. It was kinda crazy. One house was only connected to the hillside by its driveway; the rest of it was supported by stilts. The road was actually level with the TOP floors of these houses. Often they extended three or four stories down into the chasms. Is Portland a more geologically stable area than Seattle? 'Cause it'd be suicide to build like that up here, what with this being earthquake country 'n' all.

Anyway, we did not fall into any chasms on the way to Council Crest Park, which is basically at the summit of the hill. It's a pretty cool park with a big watertower in it. There's a steep hill on the southeast side of it that dogs can run around in, so Suki ran around in it with us all.

After that we got back on the freeway and headed north for home. About the only thing we missed on the whole trip was a jaunt to Voodoo Doughnut in downtown Portland, but we didn't feel like stopping either time we drove through the area.

It was plenty dark by the time we got home. But get home we did.

As a P.S. of sorts, this post wins the record of having the most labels of any of my posts!

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posted by Christopher at 4:13 PM

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Wotta Weekend! 

This last weekend was crazy/awesome! Let's see...

Thursday was Melissa's rehearsal/dinner thing. To my surprise Mr. Sanders was there for the rehearsal! I hadn't seen him in like four years.

Din-dins was at Gateway, which is always rather tasty. To my surprise, Brandy was at the dinner! I hadn't seen her in more than a year! Okay, so I'd heard she was coming into town, but I'd only learned like a day or two beforehand, and I didn't know she'd be going to the dinner, so it was kinda a surprise.

I was wearing my shyguy thermal, but it was much, much too hot for the crowds. Fortunately I live only a couple of minutes away from Gateway so I was able to book it home and change into a comfy TMBG t-shirt.

Friday was the ACTUAL wedding. Carrie got herself all prettified and headed on down to the Ballet school around 4:00. I went down to the end of the Link light-rail at 6:00 and met up with the other two Bead Boys named Chris (and Josh, who is NOT named Chris). Our job, other than to look good, was to drive guests from the light-rail station up to the Ballet school. See, the wedding was at the Ballet school, but the reception was gonna be at the Museum of Glass. So Melissa had people park at the museum and then take the light-rail to the end closest to the Ballet school. Then one of us guys named Chris (or Josh) drove them the rest of the way to the school. It worked pretty well.

The wedding was pretty and funny and nicely short, which is good because it was a li'l hot in there. My favorite moment was when a woman dropped her program and it slid out into the middle of the aisle as Cat was walking down it. Thinking quickly, the woman stuck out her cane and dragged the program out of Cat's way just in time! It was really funny.

After the wedding I jetted back to my car and drove people from the Ballet school back to the light-rail station so they could get to the reception. After the school was cleaned out I picked up Carrie and we drove down to the Museum of Glass ourselves, where the reception occurred.

Carrie & I helped put centerpieces on the table at the reception hall part of the reception, and then went upstairs (outside) to where the first part of the reception was happening.

Anyhoo, it was a nice evening, and it was cool to get everybody together in one place. Here's a picture of the newlyweds:

Saturday there was another wedding thing: the post-wedding barbecue. It was at 1:00, and it was closer to 1:30 by the time we finally found it at Point Defiance (we actually got there before anybody else, which is why we couldn't find it at first). I basically had enough time to drop Carrie & Suki off before Brandy drove me on home so I could meet up with my brother, who drove me down to Olympia for Fools Play.

Fools Play was at the Midnight Sun in downtown. Midnight Sun is a strange, black-box-like performance space. It's weirdly laid-out (for instance, the only bathroom is behind the performance area, so you'd better hope your audience doesn't have to potty during the performance). The show was, of course, FPRL. We got down there so early so we could set up the space and all the technical stuff (and so I could get some final footage for the FPRL Introduction) and then practice everybody's moves.

Then at 5:00 Mike, Josh, Esa, and I all went three doors down to the Thai place for some Phud Thai.

After dinner we went back to the Midnight Sun and got ready some more and then performed Fools Play Rasslin' League: Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight!. Here's what happened.

Afterwards it was off to Denny's.

Sunday you'd think the wedding stuff would be over, but you'd be wrong. Around 1:00-ish we went over to Melissa's folks' house for to help her open her myriad wedding gifts! Honestly, so much happened this weekend that I can't remember anything else right now.

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posted by Christopher at 10:25 PM

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Signal Patterns 

This is actually one of the more accurate personality tests I've ever taken. I tend not to take these things at all 'cause I don't like being pigeonholed, but I agree with most of these results, especially scoring a zero in the "Traditional" category. I scored highest in "Stable," "Open," and "Agreeable." So there you go.

The test is from Signal Patterns, which is an interesting website if you like that kinda stuffs.

(via ゆがまえ (Yugamae))

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posted by Christopher at 7:53 PM

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wow, You Really Missed Some Important Stuff 

If you missed Fools Play this past weekend, well then shame on you! Not only did you miss some really hilarious stuff, but you missed some horribly important changes to the status-quo of the show!

First off, Mike Harris the Blue Fool was fired. Yup! He and Fools Play's business manager, Dana Cox, had an improv showdown, which Dana won. She then summarily fired the Blue Fool! Mike left to become a secret shopper, which he seems to have combined in his head with secret agent.

Dana Cox was then hauled away by a rival improv troupe, The Intellectualles. So both Mike and Dana are gone! But... for how long?

Not to worry, though. Fools Play did gain a new member:

Actually you should probably worry, because that right there is the Improv Spawn, an evil mythological creature that was birthed by Josh Hird the Maroon Fool and has pledged to return to Fools Play week after week and use its mystical powers to make Fools Play's scenes un-funny.

Plus, its a freakin' puppet! Fools Play Improv has a puppet in its cast! OMGooses!

How will the Fools ever be able to stop their new arch-villain, the Improv Spawn? Nobody knows, because it's all improvised!

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posted by Christopher at 4:11 PM

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Monday, June 09, 2008

hello naomi's photosets on Flickr 

This woman who calls herself "hello naomi" makes the world's mostest awexomest cupcakes. If you don't believe me, go take a look at hello naomi's photosets on Flickr.

(via Loup-Vert)

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posted by Christopher at 9:46 PM

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008



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posted by Christopher at 11:57 PM

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Birfday Funtimes Continue 

Tuesday (my actual birfday) I got a bunch of cupcakes at work, and my boss gave me a gift certificate to NoiseBot. There were several other good ones, but in the end I selected this T-shirt:

Carrie had to work late (until like 6:00 or something), but then after she got off we went down to Gateway to India for my birfday dinner, where we were met by Christine & Lawrence. I had Gosht Korma! Very good!

Later on in the evening Carrie & I went out and saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Another "Blanking Blank" title movie!). It was very funny and incredibly intelligent. Now I have two movie reviews to write.

Wednesday we cleaned the house and then in the evening went downtown to The Harmon restaurant, where we met my whole family, which came to 9 entire people around one table. Carrie & I hadn't been to The Harmon in a few years, and we were pleased to find that it was still very tasty (and they still had their beer ski). I had a steak with a green peppercorn reduction on a bed of crispy onion straws.

Then everybody came back to our house, where we were joined by Neighbor Gary. I then opened presents. I got cool stuff!

Carrie made me some lemon cupcakes with chocolate frosting (my favorite cake combo), and after those I played some Smash Bros with my own Bro and Cassie.

Thursday in the afternoon Lawrence took me out to see Iron Man. I now have three movie reviews to write. When I got home I got a package from, which I thought was odd because I hadn't ordered anything from them. Turns out it was a birthday gift from Taisha, Battlestar Galactica - The Complete Epic Series (Limited Edition Cylon Head Packaging)

Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday in person, online, over the phone, and/or by giving me a gift!

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posted by Christopher at 8:06 AM

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Friday, May 02, 2008

They DON'T Go On Your Roof 

Hey! Guess what I got. Here's a hint:

It's shingles! The second coming of the virus that causes chickenpox!

It thankfully isn't a very bad case. It's only a couple of inches on the back of my neck, and is more annoying (and unsightly) than actively painful. Just stings a little. The swelling is starting to go down and the blisters are starting to crust over, so I should be getting steadily better over the next week or so.

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posted by Christopher at 4:28 PM

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Kobe Blue, the Greatest Pilot in the Galaxy 

I thought this was pretty funny (marginally NSFW):

(via Dustin Weaver's Livejournal)

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posted by Christopher at 2:28 PM

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Coleslaw Clothes 

This is probably the funniest piece of Engrish I've seen in a while:


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posted by Christopher at 2:11 PM

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

オバッチの Jacket Lunch Box 

Whoever runs the オバッチの Jacket Lunch Box has the unusual hobby of re-creating album covers using only ordinary bento lunch box ingredients.

(via Pink Tentacle)

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posted by Christopher at 3:22 PM

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The Incredible Upside-Downs 

The incredible upside-downs, created in 1903, are first read right-side up, then finished by reading upside down! Gustave Verbeek accomplished this for 65 installments! Weird but topsy-turvy!

(via Arflovers)

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posted by Christopher at 3:19 PM

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Oh Yeah! 

Happy April Fools Day to all y'all! I'll be back tomorrow (so you don't automatically think I'm lying) with stuffs.

(via Ryan)


posted by Christopher at 9:53 PM

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Footprints Leading to Good Food 

Yesterday (Friday) when I got home from work this is what my front yard looked like:

Yes, it looked like some kinda crappy inspirational footprints poster. It snowed basically from the time I got to work until the time I got home. This was continuing the last two days of snowstuffs. This freakishly weird winter weather at the end of March came as quite a surprise to my small cluster of tulips! Look at them:

They're so surprised! They're all like, "What the!?" They totally thought it was spring. Whoops!

For lunch I had leftover chicken soup that Neighbor Gary had made the night before whilst I was in Seattle. Have I mentioned that Gary is staying on our couch for his Spring Break? No? Well, now I have, suckers!

Then for dinner I pulled out all the stops and made a full-on gourmet meal. It looked soooo tasty that I had to take a picture of it. Here is that picture, in all its splendiferous glory:

From the top of the plate going clockwise we have:
  • Greek-style potatoes (leftover from Taki's Mad Greek).
  • Carrots sauteéd in butter and seasoned with pepper. Then at the very end of the cooking process I poured in a couple of dashes of soy sauce and let it get all caramelized on the carrots.
  • Pan-seared, salt-and-pepper steak smothered in sauteéd & caramelized onions.

Whoo-eee! Them's good times! It tasted oh-so-very good.

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posted by Christopher at 2:08 PM

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Hard To Drive a Bus in the Snow 

Yesterday (Thursday) we woke up to snow on the ground. This was no big surprise considering that it was snowing Wednesday evening. It was kind of a surprise that it was snowing at all this close to April, though. This never happens 'round these parts. I got Carrie off to work nonetheless, and from there she left for Portland for the weekend (boo).

After work I came home, had a sammitch, fed Suki, took care of a couple of sundries around the house, then I headed up to Seattle. It started to snow again while I was on my way up there!

I hung out with Sandy a bit and then we went and got Mathias and proceeded to have dinner at Taki's Mad Greek. This has got to be one of my favorite Greek restaurants evar. Especially the Oven Baked Feta appetizer. And their pork is cooked just right: not too much, but not too little. And everything just tastes really, really tasty.

I also took a photo of the decorations in the men's room:

On the left there we have a completely nude Poseidon, but on the right we have Theseus covering his privates with a leaf! I wonder why. Does he not measure up to Poseidon? I just thought it was funny.

After dinner we parked near their apartment and then walked through the bitter cold (though it wasn't snowing at that time) to Neumos, where we met up with Jason and his wife Jennifer, as well as Geoff and Lisa!

Why were we there? Why, to see Busdriver, of course! Look:

The man moves as fast as he raps; it's difficult to get a good picture of him. Just look at the blur lines on his left hand in those pictures!

When we got to Neumos we were basically the only people there. Everybody else was in the attached bar. When Busdriver took the stage we were still practically the only people there, but Busdriver plunged ahead anyway. A handful of other people trickled in after he started (30 to 40). Last time I saw him the place was packed so we all thought it was weird, until we figured out that this was a 21-up show, and he usually plays to all-ages at Neumos. I guess only the kids like the Busdriver.

Anyhoo, it was a great set, and he did that cover of Man, It's So Loud in Here by They Might Be Giants that I really like. He played for just under an hour. We all met him over at his merch table, where Sandy bought the last copy of his rarities CD. He told me he'd go to his car and see if he could find another, but I wasn't able to catch him again before we left. I talked to him a bit about that TMBG song he does, and he said it was pretty old and he was thinking of retiring it. He's very shy and awkward off the stage. Hopefully he'll have another copy next time he comes into town.

Sandy kinda creeped him out by showing him a picture of the Busdriver Bot magnet that she made.

An hour after he left the stage the "main attraction," the Gray Boy All-Stars took the stage, and suddenly the theater was swarmed with frat boys, bros, and similar early-to-mid 30s types (and the kind of women who hang out with them). They were a jazzy kind of quintet, with drums, bass, guitar, sax, and keyboards. They were all very skilled musicians, but it was just not what we were in the mood for, and also didn't really sound like what they offer on their MySpace page. They sounded like they were straight out of 1985. Seriously! They even looked it.

At one point Sandy turned to me and said something to the effect that she felt like they were a band that the Huxtables would go and watch on the Cosby show. Mathias summed it up best by saying they were "Sportscoat and Bluejeans" jazz. They didn't go with Busdriver at all, so it wasn't a big surprise that none of their fans came out to see Busdriver go crazy.

We left after four or so songs. Jason gave us a ride back to S&M's apartment, and from there I drove on home.

You can read Mathias's "version" of events over at his website. He's got some really crazy pictures up, too.

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posted by Christopher at 4:41 PM

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hope Y'all Had a Happy Irish Day! 

Yesterday (Monday) Carrie, Laura, & I went over to Carrie's folks' house for din-dins. I had corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, 3 pints of Guinness, and green pistachio pudding!

Then while walking to work this morning, I passed this on the street:

Seems likely that a transient is gonna have a happy day today!

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posted by Christopher at 6:13 PM

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

My New Favorite Animal 

The microscopic Water Bear: TARDIGRADE!

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posted by Christopher at 2:37 PM

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Kind of Weather that Makes for Cool Photos 

Yesterday (Monday) as I was driving home from work there was this incredibly dark cloud directly overhead with a super-sharp edge to it, running southwest-northeast. After I picked up Carrie and took her home I rushed outside and snapped this photo (taken at about 1:30 in the afternoon, facing due west):

Them's dramatic!

Then this morning after parking I started walking to work when the sunrise caused this really vivid orange color to appear over the Cascades. I kept walking until there was the top of this cool downtown T-town building between me and the mountains, and then I took this photo (taken at about 8:55 AM, facing southeast from near 539 Broadway, Tacoma):

Them's priddy!

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posted by Christopher at 5:41 PM

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Someone Took a Bite Out of the Moon 

And I watched it (well, parts of it). This is when it was being regurgitated back into the sky after being eaten.

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posted by Christopher at 12:33 AM

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

In a Round-About Way 

Earlier this week I was going through all of my They Might Be Giants music to see what I still needed to get in order to have a "complete" collection (knowing full well that some songs are impossible to get right now, like Monsters of Mud) of studio recordings by Them. In researching, I discovered that not only do They have a podcast (which I knew about and enjoy), but they've been doing a video podcast for kids as well!

It's hosted by the Puppet Johns and they play a couple of videos from their two most recent kids' album-slash-DVDs, Here Come the ABCs and Here Come the 123s. I'd seen most of the ABCs before, but I'd never seen the 123 videos.

One video in particular, the one for Eight-Hundred-Thirteen Mile Car Trip, struck me as being particularly well designed (and passably well animated for a low-budged flash video). So I went to This Might Be a Wiki and discovered that it was designed & animated by someone named Pascal Campion.

A quick Google search turned up not only a website for Pascal, but a blog as well! I have to say, I really dig his style. It has kind of a Maurice Noble vibe, but is still very individualistic. He's got great lines and a phenomenal sense of color. He's actually done a handful of videos for TMBG, including some on Venue Songs and ABCs.

Art by Pascal CampionIt's safe to say that he's one of my new favorite artists, and I discovered him in a very cool round-about way.

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posted by Christopher at 2:34 PM

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy H'ween, Everybody! 

Today (Wednesday) is Halloween! Hooray!

On Friday Carrie got me a Wii because I'm an awexome husband. Take THAT, all you lousy husbands! Har har! Score! She also got me The Legend of Zelda - Twilight Princess. Boo-yah!

Gina came and stayed with us over Halloween weekend, because Halloween weekend was also the Bead Factory's 15th anniversary weekend. They needed extra help, so they paid for Gina to take the train up from Portland for the weekend. She slept on our couch. I cooked breakfast for us (scrambled eggs & sausage on Saturday, Li'l Smokies and orange rolls (Christmas breakfast) for us on Sunday). We like her. It was nice having her around, even though we really didn't see her that much because everybody was working so mucho.

Saturday evening was Fools Play Trick or Treat, our annual Halloween show. Not as many people came as usual, but here's what us Fools dressed up as:

As Cactus Jack - Jake Ynzunza the Pink Fool:

As the victim of a pillow fight - Taisha McFall the Jade Fool:

As James, ½ of Team Rocket (with the very lovely Tia as Jessie of Team Rocket) - Mike Harris the Blue Fool:

But I know what you're asking: What whas Chris Harris the Purple Fool's costume? And what awexome punkins did he carve this year?

Well, lucky for you all, I wrote a new Article all about that! What was my costume? What were my punkins? What new H'ween craft did I do this year? And what could possibly make The Ocean Shores Pirate cry a single, gigantic tear? You can only find out by reading...

A Halloween Surprise for The Ocean Shores Pirate

Well, my in-laws are coming over soon for our annual H'ween tradition of soup, Reuben sammitches, and handing out full-sized candy bars (not them crappy little dinky things) to everyone who comes to the door!

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posted by Christopher at 4:45 PM

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Cutest Graffiti Ever 

I work downtown T-town at 9th and Pacific, but I usually park near 4th and Broadway (5 blocks up and two blocks over).

There is a lot of construction happening on Broadway (they're building this). I've recently noticed while walking to and from the car that there are some really cool instances of graffiti popping up on some of the storage units for the construction. This one of an adorable jellyfish is by far my favorite:

I've seen this jellyfish elsewhere around Tacoma, like on a picnic table in Jefferson Park.

Another pretty cool graffiti piece just popped up of a whole, repeated line of monsters holding up a clawed hand in front of their faces. Very cute. I'll try to get a photo of it as well. There are a couple of graffiti signatures that pop up in these areas: Düm and Rubr, so it might be one of them.

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posted by Christopher at 5:46 PM

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Little Puppy Foofoo 

I have to admit that Rufus is pretty darned cute:

I still think my Suki is prettier. And much better behaved! Hopefully when Rufus is older he and Suki can be good pals.


posted by Christopher at 2:32 AM

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Calendar System Courtesy Jerry Seinfeld. Used Without Permission. 

Yesterday (Thursday) evening I implemented my new calendar-based chore system. I think it's really going to work well, because it makes us both visually accountable for what goes on. This system is for the kitchen/laundry room, and also has watering the outdoor plants on it. Take a wook:

You can see that yesterday I washed a load of laundry, dried a load of laundry, put a way a load of laundry, scooped the kitty litter, watered the plants, hand-washed some dishes, filled up and ran the dishwasher. All I didn't do was put the dishes in the dishwasher away. Not bad, eh? I think this will work much better for us than Chore Wars would.

We're having trouble getting Suki to go bathroom outside. When we woke up yesterday morning there was poo on the dining room rug. We tried to walk her in the evening to get her to go potty, but at one point she got spooked at some random little noise and bucked really hard, ripping the leash right out of my hand. She started whining and running around, but fortunately after a couple of blocks she ran right up to us and let us walk her back to the house.

Hopefully we'll be able to convince her that when she goes outside, that that's when she's supposed to potty. Hmmm... I wonder. Oh, well.

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posted by Christopher at 3:20 PM

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Must Have Been Some Impact 

Aight! It's late. I need to go sweeps. Peeps! Let's see what happened yesterday (Wednesday (it's after midnight after all—double afters)). Carrie went in to work a little late (on purpose), so I didn't have to drive her there before heading to work myself.

Work itself was relatively uneventful, but it was the walk back to the car that was startling. I'd parked on Stadium Way, so as I was walking back up there I was eating some blackberries here and there. When I got to the section of the road where 4th I noticed something odd. See, 4th is a rather steep hill that points directly down to and ends at Stadium Way. Opposite 4th is just a super-steep hill covered in blackberries, with a fence and a guard rail. I noticed as I was walking up the sidewalk that the blackberry bushes seemed a lot farther away from the sidewalk than they were the day before. They used to be right up against the sidewalk, but now they were like eight feet away.

It was at that point that I actually started paying attention to my surroundings and noticed that the guardrail, the fence, and in fact the entire area at the end of 4th had been pushed away from the sidewalk. It looked as if something horribly heavy had come roaring down the hill and gone straight across Stadium Way, over the sidwalk, and into guardrail, pushing it, the fence, the blackberries, and a tree about eight feet from their usual position. It'd uprooted the guardrail's posts completely out of the ground and also completely flattened a road sign.

Isn't that amazing? It must have been one hell of an impact. Look at how crazily the tree is leaning in that first picture, and notice the completely-flattened sign and broken guardrail posts in the second picture. That guardrail should be right up against the sidewalk, maybe 2 feet away at its greatest distance.

The strangest thing of all, though? There was a toy guitar at the scene, just leaning up against the railing:

I didn't notice any broken glass anywhere at the scene, though, so I'm really curious as to what could have possibly happened.

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posted by Christopher at 1:16 AM

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Walk from Work 

On the way walking back to the car parked on Stadium Way there was a wonderful aroma wafting up from the hillside beneath me. Here's what made it:

Sooo good! I ate a handful and picked another handful that I brought to Carrie when I picked her up from work.

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posted by Christopher at 3:43 PM

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What The!? 

So the last couple of days have been pretty un-eventful. Yesterday (Monday) Carrie & I went over to her folks' house and barbecued a whole bunch of good food. There was, let's see, Yoshida salmon, zucchini, potatoes with onion & garlic, and green beans with bacon. Carrie went and picked up Grandma K. from her place; I went straight to the Hamm house; and Carrie's folks met us all there, straight from the airport. They'd been in Kansas visiting Jim's mother, and their plane only arrived that...Whoa, wait a minute, what was that? Was that a picture of a dog? In my yard? What the!?

Let me take another look:

Hey, waitaminute, what's that dog doing in my car now? That must be how it got to my yard. But why would a dog go in my car?

Well, the answer is probably pretty obvious. On Saturday, Carrie & I got a dog. We went in the morning to Ikea and bought dog supplies, then in the early afternoon we went to the Tacoma Humane Society and when we left an hour later, a dog came with us.

We named her サツキ (Satsuki), but we just call her スキ ("Suki"). She's a four-year-old, 43 lb Spaniel mix (probably mostly German Spaniel). She'd been living in the wild for upwards of five months, so she's still VERY skittish and shy, but she's getting steadily better as the days go on. She has a mild case of "kennel cough," but that's hardly surprising considering she was at the Humane Society for four days before we got her.

Carrie is very excited. She's been wanting a dog for YEARS. Fantastico, however, is not so excited. She's mostly just confused as to why that thing is still here. Dogs have been over to our house before, but they've always left after a while. Suki's been here three nights running!

So anyway, yes, we have a dog. Yes, you can come visit her. But, no, she can't hang out with your dog(s) until she's over her kennel cough and no longer contagious (two weeks from now).

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posted by Christopher at 11:42 PM

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Joss Whedon has written a new, entirely un-Jossverse related comic book! It's called Sugarshock and you can read it here.
©Dark Horse Comics.

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posted by Christopher at 5:35 PM

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Nostalgia Digging 

On Thursday evening I went over to my folks' place and went through several boxes in their garage. I did really well; I only came home with one box of stuff. A lot of it was old coloring books that I vividly remember from when I was a kid. Also the Color, Cut-Out, and Fly series of books. I think tomorrow (Saturday) I'm going to look around and see if those books still exist in any way, shape, or form. If not, I might just write an article about them.

I also found an entire screenplay that I wrote: Relentless. I think it actually has a good (in a crappy way) story in it. I just need to make it take place in an ACTUAL location. Either that or in the future (which is how I originally envisioned it).

It was pretty cool finding all those old things from my childhood. I vividly remember the coloring books. I'll update this post with pictures as soon as I get 'em scanned in.

UPDATE: Here are the first couple of scans!

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posted by Christopher at 11:44 PM

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cutest Towel EVAR 

Over the weekend I went to Ryan's 30th birthday party up in Bellingham. I snapped this photo of the hand towel in his bathroom.

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posted by Christopher at 4:42 PM

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Friday, July 20, 2007

The "K" to the "Wik" to the "E" to the "Mart" 

On Thursday whilst leaving an excellent dinner at Taki's Mad Greek in Ballard (get the feta cheese appetizer—trust me), Sandy, Mathias, & I passed by one of the 7-11's that's been converted into a Kwik-E-Mart to promote the upcoming Simpsons Movie:

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posted by Christopher at 8:32 AM

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What's Going On!! 

The Puget Sound Bead Festival continued for the duration of the weekend. I actually went and walked around the show on Saturday for a bit, and saw the out-of-town girls (in order I saw them) Nicole, Brandy, and Gretchen.

That evening Fools Play did an ambitious new format called "Learnin' the Ropes" in which we try to get our apprentices ready to perform in the span of five (5) days. It had a really large audience, due mostly to friends of the apprentices wanting to see them perform.

Sunday I left Fools Play practice early so I could help tear down the classrooms at the PSBF. Then I drove up to Issaquah for Mike's birthday diner at XXX Root Beer. Man, that place is so good. I had a bacon burger the size of my plate. Then afterwards I went and ordered onion rings.

Carrie & I both took Monday off so we could recover from the PSBF, but also for another reason: we needed to buy a car. A couple of our bead colleagues had bought a car just last week from Toyota of Puyallup and highly recommended the salesman, so we went down there as well and talked with him. And ended up buying the exact same car that they'd bought. They didn't have our 1st choice color available at all, and our 2nd choice color was down in Portland, so it would have to be driven up and so wouldn't be ready until Tuesday. But we were also satisfied with the salesman (though the paperwork department for some reason took for-freakin'-ever). So if you ever want to get a Toyota, go to Toyota of Puyallup and ask for John Martinez, and tell him that Chris Harris & Carrie Hamm sent you (we'll get some sorta kickback if you do).

Monday evening Carrie & I went out on a date and saw Ratatouille.

That brings us to Today, when, after an afternoon nap, Carrie & I went and picked up our new car from the dealership. And here it is:

It's a brand-spankin'-new Toyota Yaris 4-door sedan. Only 400 miles on it. And it's so freakin' cute! I made Carrie drive the rental home from the dealership just so I could drive the Yaris home [evil laugh].

I bought a new car! In the past 8 months I've bought a house, a MacBook, a new mattress set, and a new car. I'm a grown-up! All I need to do now is get a dog.

Then after I dropped Carrie off at the store to teach her evening class (I dropped her off with my NEW CAR) I headed back home and noticed a car in front of mine had the same Toyota of Puyallup dealer plates that I had. "Hmm," I thought, "they got their car at the same place I got my car. That looks like the same type of... hey, wait a minute!" Indeed, it was Robbie, the friend who bought the same kind of car last week! He pulled over at our house and we talked about how cool the Yaris cars are. What's plural for Yaris? Yarisses? Or Yari? Anyhoo, I also gave him back the couple of Gamecube controllers that we'd borrowed, oh, quite a while ago.

I leave you with a pretty picture of the clouds reflected in my new car's hood:

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posted by Christopher at 7:39 PM

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Jam Packed 

Yesterday (Thursday) when I got home from work my dad was already there, working on the backyard patio. Carrie & I took him out to lunch at El Toro up on 26th. A short while after we came back he left, and then I did as well. I headed out across the hills to Auburn's frightful Auto Row to get all of my personal belongings out of my totaled car. Amusingly, on the way there I actually drove right by the place where I pulled over after failing to catch up to the white pickup that hit me.

I found the place no problem, and was led by a young man who called me "Amigo" through a series of back rooms, a repair floor, a paint shop, and finally into the back lot where there were rows and rows of defunct vehicles. Funny thing, though, I had parked basically right next to this lot, so I didn't have far to walk with all of my belongings.

So here it is, the last any of you will ever see of my car.

You can easily see where the impact took place.

But the reason it was totaled was because the impact was so severe that it actually caused damage to the opposite side of the car:

So the whole entire front of the car would have had to have been replaced, including most of the engine, the entire frame, the front axle, and both front wheels.

I made a thorough search through the entire car and grabbed everything of any possible interest, including the old, ratty Jack in the Box antenna ball. I had a Sealab 2021 air freshener hanging from the rear-view mirror, and it was a b*tch to get that thing untied. We also had a small pair of bells from Cat's wedding. I figured that was a sentimental item, so we should probably save it. It proved to be impossible for me to untie, though, especially since it was approaching 100 degrees inside that car sitting in the hot sun.

After several struggling minutes I got a flash of genius. I grabbed onto the rear-view mirror and applied torque until it popped right off of the windshield. Then I simply pulled the bells right off. It's not like the car's gonna need a rear-view mirror anymore!

So I loaded everything into the rental and paused to use the restroom inside the place before heading back to T-town. It took me just about two-and-a-half hours round trip to do all of that.

So I needed something fun to do. So when I dropped off Carrie at the store to teach her evening class I went directly to Lawrence's place and picked him up and we went and saw Transformers. I'm going to write a movie review of it on Monday, ya hear me?

After the flick I noticed that I had a cryptic phone message from Gina, something about not going galavanting after the movie because I was needed to take her home. The message was a little bit garbled and cut out a bit. So Lawrence & I headed to the BF and caught Carrie's eye for some clarification. She just wanted to make sure I didn't go out of town or become unavailable like that time that Mike & I went and saw Grindhouse on a whim and she'd tried to call me to get a ride home but couldn't reach me because I'd turned off my phone like a responsible movie patron.

So I took Lawrence over to Christine's and then came home. Carrie called after a while and I picked her and Gina up with a hearty, "Hi, cute girls!" and drove Gina to her folks' house. Then I drove us on back home. Whew! Quite the day!

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posted by Christopher at 3:34 PM

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

4th of July 2007 

Yesterday (Wednesday) was, of course, the 4th of July. We got up at a reasonable time so Carrie could go meet her friend Erin and give her all of the jewelry she'd designed for her wedding. I worked in the meanwhile on gathering supplies for our day-long cookout. I also baked brownie bites (brownies baked in miniature muffin pans) which were very, very tasty fish.

Carrie brought Erin back to the house to give her some CDs for wedding music, so I got to see her. I had seen her before, but many, many years ago. She left, then Carrie & I continued gathering things and supplies (and a lot of food). Christine & Lawrence went down to Point Defiance Park and after a false start found an absolutely fantastic place where we could all set up. So as soon as Melissa was dropped off at our house we loaded everything into the rental car and headed down to the park to join them.

It was a great spot, the first barbecue area after you pass the area that has all of the playground equipment in it. It was really nicely shaded, and there was a big enough open area that I could actually set up a badminton net for some Two-Sticks action later on.

So by the time 1:00 rolled around we had the coals a-burnin' and everything all set up. That was also, unfortunatley, the time when Christine had to take Lawrence away because he had to work on the 4th. Honestly, why is Starbucks open until 9:00 on the 4th of July? Lame.

Soon other people started trickling in, and Travis brought Christine back, and there was much cook-outing and frivolity. The whole Lareau clan even stopped by with their two pugs and three kids and hung out for quite a while. Lila really liked Gabby, the puppy. She learned how to say "Gabby" (and apparently she's been asking Jen, "Where Gabby?" pretty much nonstop since the 4th).

There were several games of Two-Sticks throughout the day. Julian & I actually had a pretty successful team ("Team Broken Backs") that won three games in a row. It was fun explaining all the rules to everybody.

Oh! And Chris Fantz showed me the iPhone his folks had gotten for him. It is pretty spiffy, but there's no way I would every pay that much for it (especially right now), nor would I really want to switch to AT&T. T•Mobile is so very cheap!

Anyways, after almost eight hours of cooking out things started to wind down. So we packed up our group, got a grip, came equipped, pack our proton packs on our back, and we split! We took Christine with us, and after we got home we drove down to Starbucks to wait for Lawrence to get off of work. It took a while due to somebody messing up a till or something. I dunno. But then we picked him up and drove through the northern Stadium district looking for a parking spot within easy walking distance of the intersection of Yakima & Carr (here), which is a primo place to watch Tacoma's annual 4th of July Fireworks Display. We met up with the entire Lovejoy clan there and all watched the fireworks together. I discovered a while back that my camera actually has a "fireworks" setting. I think it might work better if the camera is on a tripod, but here are a couple of good shots:

Anyway after the big show the four of us (Carrie, Christine, Lawrence, & I) all walked back up to the Rental car and took everybody home.

Here is a photo album I made of the day's festivities in case anybody is in the least bit interested.

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posted by Christopher at 3:50 PM

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Der Tag der Väter 

Yesterday (Sunday) was of course Father's Day. For lunch Carrie & I met her folks at Doyle's just down the hill. I had a very good French-dip-style sammitch. The Au Jus was made with Guinness, so it was also very good.

For dinner we went to Anthony's Home Port in Des Moines and met up with my family. A lot of my family, in fact. There were I think 13 people seated at that table, five of whom were Minnesota relatives. I don't know that I'd ever met them before. Cousins of some kind. One of them was very funny. When asked what method they used to get to Washington, he replied, "Balloons."

After that we went back to my folks' place so Dad could open his gifts. Mike and I both got him Gene Autry CDs. He was very excited about that.

What I was very excited about, though, was the drawing that Alexis made for me:

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posted by Christopher at 3:39 PM

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Sunday, June 17, 2007


Yesterday (Saturday) Carrie woke me up in the morning and informed me that she was taking me to breakfast. But first we were picking up Lawrence and taking him to get his learner's permit at the DMV.

I wisely grabbed my DS before we left, because the whole DMV process took two-and-½ hours. At one point when we were wondering just why it was taking so long, Lawrence joked out loud, "It's because I'm black, right?" It took the ladies sitting next to us a few seconds to figure out he was joking. But soon they were on our side and rooting that Lawrence's number would be called next. When he did finally get called up they all applauded for him. Very funny.

By the time that was all done with it was time for lunch, not dinner. We went to the Pine Cone Café again. I had a Monte Christo sammitch! My favorite sammitch! With raspberry jam and everything. Lawrence had pancaces, and said they were some of the best pancakes he'd had in years and years.

We stopped by the dollar store on the way home so I could get some supplies for the evening's episode of Fools Play. While I was in there Carrie let Lawrence drive the car around a mostly-empty parking lot for a bit, then we all met in the bakery section of Safeway so I could pick up a cake, also for Fools Play.

When we were walking back to the car I realized that I needed disposable plastic forks for the cake. So while I went back to get those, Carrie and Lawrence went across the street to the pawn shop to see if they had a part Lawrence needs for his guitar. They didn't. So instead he got a PlayStation 2, a couple controllers, and a Grand Turismo game. For "driving practice."

We took him home and came home ourselves. I had to rest for an hour or so, then gather together all of the various sundries for Fools Play in the evening. It was a lot more stuff than usual.

That's because it was a special show — Fools Play Surprise! The surprises included:
  • The Red Fool is here—but he's not going to perform!
  • Chris is hiding somewhere in the theater, and whoever finds him wins a prize! (I was dressed like a Tamagotchi
  • We've been training our apprentices at the Fools Play Compound! Let's take a look at that footage...
  • It's YOUR birthday! Here's a cake and a birthday present!
  • Easter egg hunt!
  • One of the Fools has a suggestion card hidden on their person. You get to find it!
  • Shave-off!
  • Roomba Fight!
  • And, finally, at the end of the show Mike gets a limo!

After the show there was a lot of tear-down, but Mike thankfully came back from the limo and helped out a bit. I was the last person to arrive at Rib Eye, and there were no more spaces at any of the occupied tables! Thankfully Sandy (and later Jason) helped me start a NEW table.

I also gave Jason my digital camera to take photos during the show, so here's a slideshow of those photos!

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posted by Christopher at 9:52 PM

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Happy Birthday, Leia 

Yesterday (Friday) Carrie was forced to stay late at work because of meetings running long and all that. So I only got to hang out with her for like half an hour before I left. Why did I leave? Because that evening was Leia's 21st birthday party! Hooray!

It was a lots of funn. It basically consisted of eating food, playing video games, and watching people play video games. I played some Wii and I played some Guitar Hero 2, and I ate some pizza and I hung out with a bunch of my friends, so all-in-all it was an A+ night in my book! Here are some pictures I took:

Here's the gang all playing Wii

Leia taking a picture of me taking a picture of her

Leia's sister Hannah

The best present that Leia got! Sandy made her a Unicorn Robot during the course of the party!!! (Leia made the robot on the right)

Another photo of the robo-buddies

And Hildegard, enjoying the party as much as anyone else.

And here are Leia and Kedar playing Guitar Hero 2. Leia is really good at it! And watch Kedar keep on looking up at me while I film them.

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posted by Christopher at 3:41 PM

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Let's Do a Comparison, Shall We? 

Here's what my flower bed looked like exactly one month ago:
And here's what it looks like now:PRETTY!!


posted by Christopher at 2:57 PM

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Year of the Cone 

Yesterday (Saturday) Carrie & I got up relatively early in the morning. We drove out to have breakfast at the Pine Cone Cafe in University Place. The readerboard there proudly proclaimed 2007 as the "Year of the Cone." I had CBH with pancakes. Carrie had French waffles, which are waffles that have been French-toasted with cinnamon and sugar. And then you put syrup on them. Mmm... syrup.

On the way to and leaving the Pine Cone we passed the staging area for some sorta parade or something that was going to go up Bridgeport. We didn't know what was going on, but there were a lot of old cars and a couple of high school marching bands.

Umm... let's see... after that there was some of my family stuff, after which Carrie was not feeling at all well. The massage she got on Friday really screwed up her musculature. So she laid down for quite a while in the afternoon, until about 4:00.

In the meantime I brought out all of my soldering stuff and got cooking. We'll see why in a moment.

Around 4:00 Carrie & I went down and joined some other Bead people (and some non Bead people) at Gina's house for her graduation party! Her house has a deceptively big backyard. You go out there and you think you know how big it's gonna be, but then you look at a corner and realize it keeps going. And also that it has chickens in it.

We sat outside on a swing seat couch thingy, which shielded us somewhat from the rather hot weather. I gave Gina a graduation/birthday present: I soldered her a pendant with Robot & Bird #3 inside of it:

She was very happy. She was so excited that she ran inside and immediately strung it on some chain and wore it. Very, very cute. She couldn't have actually been surprised, though, because she'd hinted to me a few times in very un-subtle ways that she wanted me to make her a pendant.

Anyway, we stayed there for maybe an hour. I ate a whole bunch of deviled eggs, potato salad, and a hamburger. I was on vacuum-cleaner mode for sho'. Then I dropped Carrie off at home and continued on south to Fools Play.

We performed Exhibition, and there was a surprisingly large audience for that format. It was most likely because it was Geoff's next-to-last show. We did a very excellent episode of The Espionager. I'll paraphrase my favorite story that I told:
I was hired as a bodyguard for a London mob boss. We got wind that the Espionager was gonna try to assassinate him, so we set up a trap. We took the mob boss to an abandoned warehouse. The Espionager, being as bold as he was, walked right through the front door as we knew he would, and stepped right into our trap: We'd rigged a solid steel box to drop and trap him inside. The inside of the box was lined with explosives, which went off destroying everything inside. I heard a sound behind me and when I turned around I saw the Espionager stabbing the mob boss through the heart. When we opened the steel box, we discovered that the Espionager had survived the explosion by shielding himself with the body of the mob boss, which was now a charred corpse.

It was a really funny show and a lot of fun to do. Afterwards we all went to Rib Eye, where Jason Brunee for some reason had brought a Fireman puppet. Geoff got his hands on it for quite a while, which was quite hilarious. My phone just happens to have (crappy) video capabilities, so I recorded some of it. I uploaded it to YouTube this morning. Unfortunately they're kinda hard to hear:

There are actually a couple of more. I might upload them later. Or not. Whatevs. Anyway, I sat with Devlin and Becky and ate a Cheesburger Dipper. Very tasty. Before I left a whole bunch of people gave me their tots, and I might have gotten a lead on a new client. It was a very fun evening.

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posted by Christopher at 11:09 PM

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Any entomologist out there? 

I recently found that there is some kind of weird, foaming insect in the parsley plant next to the house. When I dug through the foam and found said insect, it was the cutest little thing: about 3mm long, bright yellow-green, generally beetle-shaped, with two black pinpoints for eyes. I have no idea what it is/was (they're also very fragile in the proto state I found it in). Here's a photo of the foam:

I just find it very curious.


posted by Christopher at 10:32 PM

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A Wonderful Weekendly of Deliciously Horrible Food 

It all started on Sunday. Carrie & I had originally planned to go lawn mower shopping in the morning, but we slept in some instead. I don't remember what exactly happened for lunch, though I feel that something did. Hmm... I'll have to ask Carrie when she gets home.

Anyhoo, then it was off to Fools Play practice. After that I stopped at Fred Meyer and continued on to the Tarbet house where there was a barbecue going. I took this absolutely adorable picture:

You may be able to tell by the photo that it was plenty windy out. It was a might bit cold as well! Fortunately Jay had the outdoor fireplace thing going pretty well. So well, in fact, that we made s'mores in it. Soon we will have one of those things for ourselves... plans, plans...

So I ate a hamburger, a hot dog, and some chips and a couple of brownie bites.

Linnea's brother brought over his Wii (he's an even bigger geek than I am), so after the food settled a little bit I played some Wii Tennis and Wii Golf vs Jay. Then I played some Wii Bowling with Lena.

It's sideways but I'm too unconcerned to fix it. Just tilt your head. Lena's pretty good at bowling! But then after that we played Wii Boxing, and that little 4-year-old girl whooped me but good. She's frighteningly good at Boxing. I finally managed to beat her once, but I had to really, really work at it. Whew!

When we got home it was before 9:00, but as soon as we got out of the car I felt something inside of me go away and I became instantly, unabashedly sleepy. I went to bed and fell asleep and didn't get up until the next morning.

Carrie had to work on Monday, but I did not. In the morning I drove to a few places and found the best price/quality ratio on a new lawn mower. I guess I should say a first new lawn mower, because it's the first one I've ever actually owned. Pretty exciting. I got it at Home Depot. I had the sense to ask for help getting it off the shelf but not getting it into my car, but I manned up and stuffed it in there all by myself. I a big boy now!

It was much easier getting it out of the car and dragging it up the stairs than it was putting it into the car.

At noon I went up north to Grandma K's place for a big barbecue they were having for Memorial Day. I had a hamburger and a hot dog and a bag of chips. And an ice cream bar for dessert. They had a live band, the Cow Chips. They did old cowboy/ragtime type of songs. Stuff that Gene Autrey would sing (and did).

I came home and assembled the lawn mower and filled it up with oil, though not gas.

Then after Carrie got off of work we were picked up by Christine and Lawrence and we all went to Jefferson park just to hang out in the nice weather. We played some frisbee and no-net badminton (with extremely short racquets).

They're so cute!

A while into that we were joined by Melissa. Then a while after that we all started getting hungry, so we went down to The Spar and had fish and chips. Well, I had fish and chips. And so did Carrie. Other people had other things, like burgers and chicken fingers. But they missed out, 'cuase Spar fish & chips are some of the best in T-town. Anyway, Travis joined us there as well.

By the time we got home it was pretty late, but I still did an hour's worth of work on stuff that I needed to work on. Then I went to bed.

So over the course of the weekend I ate several hot dogs and several hamburgers, and some fried fish. It was all rather tasty, but I am not feeling at all healthy right now.

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posted by Christopher at 8:39 PM

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Maim-more-ial Day Bleak-end 

Yesterday (Saturday) Carrie & I did not sleep in. Well, we slept in about ten minutes longer than we were s'posed to, but we were still up and going before 9:00 in the AM. We drove over to Cat's house where we met up with her, Melissa, and Heather. Then all of us went over to the Gig Harbor Farmer's Market.

It's a nice little market, with about 80% of the vendors providing potted growing pretty/tasty things. Carrie & I ended up getting three tomato plants. Cat got a whole bunch of stuff, including a gigantic bag of horse manure. I also got an Onion Dog, which is a polish sausage wrapped in fried bread and covered with sauteéd onions. I got the same thing last year when we went to the Gig Harbor Farmer's Market. It's still very tasty.

On our way home we stopped at a Big K to look over lawn mowers. They only had two models, one with a bag and one without. We didn't buy anything, because we want to do some more comparison shopping first.

I made some Mandarin chicken for lunch, and then a short while later it was time for me to head down to the final Fools Play workshop of the season. Then Mike & I went and got some phud Thai at Mekong in downtown O-town. Then it was back to the theater for setup and performance of Fools Play Rasslin' League presents May Meleé: Maim-more-ial Day Bleak-end.

We tried to keep this one tighter and more focused than the last one, and it worked really well; it was about 40 minutes shorter. The only characters who didn't show up were Incredible Bastard, Huggernaut, and Beekeeper (which is a shame because it was the last time he had a chance to show up). Once again Shooting Star won the championship, only to have to give it up due to having a severely broken neck.

Afterwards I went out to Rib Eye. Becky took this frightening photo of me and Lacey:

That is not appealing! I look like a crazyman.

An audience member I hadn't seen in a while was there, and off-handedly mentioned a Fools Play T-shirt they'd gotten in 7th grade. I'm old!

In somewhat-related news, I learned yesterday that two people I know had benign canker things instead of the life-threatening kind. Good news!

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posted by Christopher at 9:20 AM

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

TGI Friday Harbor - Day 2 

On Saturday we got up around 8:00. Carrie's shoulder was really hurting her from her fall the day before. We showered, but there was a problem with the hot water. The problem was that it would only stay hot for 30 - 60 seconds. Then you had to turn the water off and wait for a minute before you could have any more hot water. Strange that the "water" section of Elements would have problems with its water...

Anyway, after that inconvenience Leah picked us up and drove us to the other side of the island. We saw an actual, real-life fox on the side of the road! It was a nicer day than Friday, with more sun and slightly warmer temperatures. We ended up at another cute little beach alcove at the foot of a gentle slope and book-ended by cliffs. Here are Carrie and Leah and Leah's much-too-large sunglasses on the beach:

We were at this beach to go looking at some super tidepools. These weren't no wussy tidepools. These were the real deal:

This is what much of the weekend consisted of, looking down into water while Leah pointed out all the cool things in it:

Around the corner of a big ol' rock we stumbled upon this chiton that was way too far away from the water. Look at that crazy thing:

That's its foot! You couldn't see the plates on its back because they were covered with skin, but you could feel them underneath there. The skin had an interesting texture, kind of like Floam. After we were done looking it over, Leah put it back in the water. Well, it would be more accurate to say that Leah flung it about 50 feet into the water.

We kept on poking around the tidepools, seeing cool things like entire colonies of anemones all curled up on themselves:

And this really bright orange sea star, which Leah tells me is called Henrecia leviuscula, or "blood star:"
Whose blood is that orange, though? At any rate it was a really pretty morning by this time, so here are some pretty pictures. Enjoy:

After we were done poking around the tidepools, Leah took us back into town and we had breakfast at the Front Street Café. Carrie had the Eggs Benedict, and she said that it was some of the best Benedict she'd ever had in a restaurant. I had the chicken fried steak, which was really, really excellent. The breading was really thick and crunchy and tasty. Leah had French toast.

We walked around town after that, poking into all the touristy shops along the way. We found a wine shop that sold an exclusive line of wines that you can't get in any other store, so we picked up four bottles (actually we just bought them and had the guy hold them). We also went into a bookstore up on the 2nd floor of the pier area so Leah and Carrie could buy Father's Day presents. There was a universal air of exceptional service all over the island. Everyone was friendly and jovial and jolly. Probably because tourist season hasn't ground them down yet. Cynical? Not at all!

Eventually Leah left us because she had to go back to the laboratories and do some stuff for the open house they were having on Saturday. Carrie & I poked into a couple of other stores and then walked to our hotel and picked up all our baggage. We walked the three blocks back to the waterfront and passed on the way an ice cream shop that Leah had recommended. I got a cone of Butterfingers ice cream and Carrie got a cherry limeade. Really good! We walked down to a bench on the waterfront and ate/drank our stuff there. Then we picked up our wine and walked onto the ferry.

This ferry had come from Canada, so when we got back to Anacortes we had to go through customs. Here was the extent of customs: We showed our IDs to the guy, he asked us each where we were born (Carrie said, "Cleveland, Ohio." I said, "Rentuhn!").

We used the restroom in the ferry terminal. Carrie went first, and then I went, and when I came out I was surprised to find Carrie standing with Kedar. He had missed his ferry over to Friday Harbor and now had to wait over two hours for the next one! Whoops! We wished him luck and hauled our stuff to the parking lot where our car awaited us.

I drove because Carrie's shoulder/neck injury prevented her from turning her head very far. She decided she still wanted to go to Fools Play, and called Trevor to see if he wanted to go as well. He was over at his friend Andrew's house, and they both wanted to go. So on our way down south we stopped in Fife (after a stop at a Starbucks in Federal way to go to the bathroom) and picked the two of them up. They had just seen Robin Hood: Men in Tights and were talking about how hilarious it was. *Sigh* It's nice to expose them to Fools Play so they can see stuff that is actually funny. Hopefully soon they'll become comedic snobs like me!

We didn't stop at our house on the way to Oly because I'd thought ahead and packed all of my Fools Play stuff. At least, I thought I'd packed all of my Fools Play stuff...

We got to Studio 321 shortly before 7:00, and Carrie took the boys off to buy something to drink. It was then that I realized I didn't have the box office with me. I tried calling Carrie, but she'd left her phone in the car (a recurring theme of the entire weekend, as it would turn out). When she got back she agreed to go out again and get some change with the $50 bill I had in my wallet. So it all worked out after all.

The show was Fools Play Character night, and highlighted all of Geoff's recurring characters to the fullest. It ended with an extra-length episode of Nanamo.

I did not hang out with people after the show because I was tired from having such a long weekend, and we had to get the boys back to Fife at a semi-reasonable hour. We went through a Jack-in-the-Box drivethru on the way back. We dropped Trevor & Andrew off and then went on home ourselves.

Wotta weekend!

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posted by Christopher at 11:59 PM

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TGI Friday Harbor - Day 1! 

On Friday morning I went in to work a whole two hours early, as I mentioned in my last post. While I was at work Carrie stayed home and packed a couple of overnight bags. Then she swung by the store and picked me up and we drove (she doing the actual driving) up to Anacortes to catch the Anacortes ferry to Friday Harbor!

We got to the ferry terminal plenty early. It had a stand-up of Raiden Fighters that unfortunately was out of order, so I played the other shmup stand-up they had there. We watched an episode of Teen Titans on my MacBook's DVD player, and then we boarded the ferry. It was kind of a gray day, but it was still nice enough. Here's the view out of the ferry window:

We passed a ferry going the opposite direction.

The ferry ride lasts over and hour, and weaves through the San Juan Islands to San Juan Island itself, the site of the hilarious British/American Pig War. We sat in the upper floor for most of the time, but towards the end we grabbed all our bags (since you can't leave them unattended) and wandered around the upper floor deck.

Finally we arrived at Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. After disembarking the ferry we turned right as instructed and were picked up by Leah, super-cute haircut and all! Hooray! She drove us to our hotel so we could check in, and then drove us around the island, past the lighthouse to a secluded little beach.

As we were walking across a grassy field towards the beach (actually towards the cliff you have to climb down to get to the beach), Carrie's foot entered a hole in the ground and down she went!

But we made it down the cliff without incident. Then Leah showed us around the beach.

She told us about her school project where she turns over rocks and catches all of the crabs underneath them, then measures them. Needless to say, there were a tonne of crabs at this beach.

Here's a cute picture of Carrie and Leah:

And here's another crab:

Here's a view across the water towards some other islands. I'm not exactly sure which direction this is looking; the overcast sky really wreaked havoc with my direction sense. I think that might be Canada over there, though:

Leah said that this gigantic stump hadn't been on the beach the day before. Tides sure are sumpin', ain't they:

I like this photo. If it were 30 degrees warmer and the beach were a little less gravelly and a little more sandy, then this would look just like some location from Lost:

Leah was getting hungry, and I was on vacuum cleaner mode (meaning I could eat any amount of food at any time), so we scaled back up the cliff

And Leah drove us back into town where we had dinner at Vic's Driftwood Drive Inn, a really cool little place with an enormous menu. The menu in fact took up the entire back wall of the restaurant. Leah eats there quite a bit, so she knows them. She ordered a breakfast sammitch even though they technically weren't supposed to serve them anymore. Carrie hitched herself to Leah's star power and ordered a breakfast sammitch, too. I ordered a club sammitch. The guy behind the counter (Vic himself?) was really funny and cool. And my sammitch was ENORMOUS! I couldn't even pick up the frikkin' thing! Just ask Mathias if you don't believe me (he got the same sammitch when he went to Vic's while visiting Leah).

After dinner Leah took us to the Laboratories where she lives and works. The University of Washington runs a world-renowned marine research lab and campus just outside of Friday harbor. And that's where she took us. First she showed us the electron microscope, which was super cool. It was like something out of an old Sci-Fi movie. Then she showed us some lab rooms, which universally had big tanks of water and hoses and grates and water.

She took us to the lab room that she uses, where there were several cool creatures in tanks, such as shrimp, anemones, sea stars, and sea cucumbers. Here's Carrie not enjoying holding a sea cucumber:

When they get agitated, sea cucumbers swell up something fierce. This one got to the size of a football before we put it back. Some sea cucumbers spit up their guts as a defense mechanism (so predators will eat their guts and not them), but this one thankfully never got THAT agitated. Its skin felt like a rubber wetsuit.

Leah also poked an anemone with a sea star and set it lurching around the tank. It was pretty funny. Some of the most fun over the weekend was watching Leah poke and prod and toss around various sea creatures. She's actually posted videos of herself doing this (including one of the swimming anemone, called "swimming anemone").

The laboratories had a cool Japanese-esque architecture to them. I only took one photo of one building, and didn't really successfully capture the Japanese feel of the place. But I like this picture because you can actually see the Friday Harbor docks across the bay in the background:

Leah showed us her dorm room and everything. Then she took us back to our hotel. We were staying at Elements, which up until just a few weeks ago was the Friday Harbor Inn. We got a "water" room, but unfortunately they didn't have any water rooms with jetted tubs left. Fortunately, though, the facilities included a pool and a jacuzzi. Very fortunately, Leah had her swimsuit with her at the labs (it makes sense for a marine biologist to have a swimsuit with her), so we all put on our swimsuits and spent time in both the jacuzzi and the pool. Going back and forth and all that. It was a tonne of fun. Carrie & I like hanging out with Leah! It was a good way to close out the day.

Day 2 coming soon...

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posted by Christopher at 11:26 PM

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

We Are Going to the Beach 

Yesterday (Tuesday) after work Carrie called me to say that she was going to Starbucks with Linnea. I drove by on my way home and looked, but didn't see them even though they were there. I went home and ate a hot pocket (the sub sammitch style one), and Carrie came home shortly thereafter with a gigantro chocolaty drink for me, and the news that we were going to go to the beach with the Tarbet women.

So we drove over to their house and had them follow us to Owen Beach in Point Defiance. Yes, Tacoma does have a beautiful, sandy beach. And since it was in the 80s yesterday, there were plenty of people out sunbathing away the Washington winter paleness.

We forgot to bring some stuff with us, like towels, sunscreen, and our digital camera (and Linnea forgot the same things), but that didn't stop us from having a good time, or stop me from taking pictures; I have a camera phone!

It was a lot of fun, and I managed not to get sandy at all.

I came home and worked for a short while. Then I downloaded They Might Be Giants' new album "The Else" from iTunes. The physical CD doesn't come out until next month, though!

I took Carrie back to work so she could teach her class, and I myself went to the Fred Meyer for to go to the bonk, get sammitch baggies, and buy some newer, more expensive stamps. I came home, made some turkey dogs for din-dins (which I ate with some macaroni salad), caught the last ten minutes of the last-ever episode of Gilmore Girls, and then watched a new episode of Veronica Mars. It was very good! It had a couple of twists that I did not see coming at all. And one that I kinda did, but it was still good.

While I was watching all of this TeleVision I was still very busy etching a high-heeled shoe martini glass for some sorta auction that Carrie's mum is doing for the Broadway Center (she wanted a matching set, and I already had one etched, so I only had to etch one more). And after the TeleVision programmes were over I did some more work until Carrie came home, and which point we went to bed.

Having been a rather hot day, the bedroom still retained much of that temperature. So I cracked the window for the first time in 2007 and we slept with the overhead fan on. Carrie had some pretty bad allergy stuff going on, too, and didn't get nearly as much sleep as I did.

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posted by Christopher at 2:57 PM

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Opposites Attract 

Yesterday I went in to work as per my usual. Carrie, however, did not. I finished with work, went home, and had lunch with Carrie, who immediately thereafter proceeded to go to work herself. We had opposite schedules! Almost as soon as I got off work, she went to work!

After I dropped her off at work I came home and watered my flowers by spraying the hose in a gentle-rain type of way. As I was spraying around, out of the corner of my eye I caught what I thought was an ENORMOUS bug hovering near the stream of water. When my eyes focused on it I realized that it wasn't a bug at all, but a hideous robot a hummingbird! I tried to get a picture of it with my camera phone, as it seemed to like to hover near the stream of water shooting out of the hose. Here's what I got:

As you can see, you can't see anything. See? Oh, well. It was a good experience even if it didn't get captured digitially.

For much of the rest of the day I rested, on account of not having gotten very much sleep the night before. I also played a bunch of Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow. It's a pretty good one!

I also went out shopping for me mum's Mother's Day prezzie. I went first to Urban Kitchen, but to my surprise they had not that for which I searched! So I was forced to go to the mall of shopping and poke around there. Thankfully, I found that for which I searched.

Shortly before Carrie got off of work she called me and asked if I'd go pick up Lawrence and stake out a table at The Parkway. So I did and so we did. We were joined a while later by Rachel and her significant figure Jake, and then a while after that Carrie, Christine, and Melissa joined us as well.

Our waitress was acting really weirdly, and not at all appealing. She said that the kitchen didn't close until 11:00, but then she kept on making weird pressuring statements about getting our orders in and wanting to get off to go drink and stuff like that. Do not want.

But the rest of the time at the Parkway was rollicking good funtimes. We drove melissa home afterwards. I just played a little C:AOS before falling to sleepy.

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posted by Christopher at 7:26 PM

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Insert Coin to Continue 

Where was I? Ah, yes, I'd gotten sleepy while writing the previous post, so now I'll continue from where I left off.

I seem to remember us eating breakfast out at the Parkway on Saturday morning, but I can't be 100% for sure.

At any rate, my brudda picked me up for Fools Play at 2:30 so we could do the whole workshop thing, then we went to Mekong for some Phud Thai, then back to Studio 321 to do a Fools Play Co-Show with the group known as "Quiet Monkey Fight." There were a grand total of eight of them, and only three Fools!

Carrie came down and saw the show, and brought Trevor (because it was his 15th birthday) and his friend Andrew. It was overall a thoroughly enjoyable show. Everyone thought that the first scene of the night was one of the best, but for some reason it's almost impossible to remember what it was. I've forgotten once again.

We all (including Carrie and the boys, but excluding anyone from QMF) went out to Rib Eye afterwards, before I drove Trevor and Andrew back up to Fife and then Carrie & myself back home.

Sunday was my birfday! The plan was to get some people together in the early afternoon and go see Spider-Man 3. Unfortunately the show sold out so early that only four people (other than me and Carrie) got into the show. Fortunately one of them was Geoff, my co-birthday buddy, because I'd gone to the theater early and bought tickets for me, Carrie, and Geoff. Unfortunately I'd managed to lock my keys in the car when I did that. Fortunately Carrie was able to get the Tarbets to drive her to the theater.

Anyhoo, after the movie people started coming over to my house, and I started up the coals in the barbeque. Carrie and the rest of the Bead Babes had a store meeting at 6:30, and it didn't get over until after 9:00. But in the interim a whole bunch of people did show up, and I made 20 hamburgers on that grill. I ran out of both buns and bread before the last one was made, so Jamie had to have his low-carb style.

We all had a pretty durned good time, and some of my friends who had never been to my house before were able to come! I like people to see my house.

Everyone started trickling out between 11:00 and 12:00 (because the next day was a Monday, and most peoples work on a Monday). Somebody left a DS at my house (see this post). Neighbor Gary spent the night on the couch 'cause he was meeting a friend at 8:00 in the AM at Metropolitan Market, and it made no sense for him to drive all the way down to Oly just to have to drive all the way back up in the morning.

That brings us to Monday, which was thoroughly uneventful. I can't remember a thing about it right now, but my brain is a little fuzzy this early in the AM.

Then yesterday (Tuesday) after work my dad came over and we took him to Katie Downs from lunch. Then he and I worked in the backyard, creating a new flower bed next to the lilac tree. We went to the Fred Meyer and bought a whole bunch of flowers which we then planted. Take a look!

Doesn't look like much now, but that's 'cause everything was just planted! Give it a few weeks to grow and you'll be amazed at the riot of colour in my backyard!

Carrie went to teach class in the evening and I went to Trader Joe's for food supplies (other than cheese, which we still have a tonne of thanks to Amsterdam). Then I watched the episode of Numb3rs that I'd missed on Friday, and then a new episode of Veronica Mars guest-starring Paul Rudd! Very funny episode.

Carrie called me to pick her up shortly after that, and we at the leftover pizza slices from Katie Downs.

When I came to bed (after ECW) I started my new tradition: writing before I go to sleep. Now that I am 30 years old I am entering a new phase in my life. I am going to start writing up a storm, for reals. In the past I've dabbled with writing, but (aside from in college) never really put aside any time to write consistently. Well, from now on I'm going to be writing almost every night before I go to sleep. I'm going to start with stuff for this website: Movie Reviews and Articles that I've been long neglecting. Then I'm going to be moving on to other writing endeavors. I'll keep you posted.

Two of my favorite writers, Robert A. Heinlein and Haruki Murakami, started writing for reals when they were 30. I think I'm in good company.

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posted by Christopher at 7:46 AM

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Somebody Left This at My Party 

It's got a ton of games, including Electroplankton. So if'n it's yers, lemme know and I'll give it back to you. Otherwise I'm keepin' it! Happy birthday to ME!


posted by Christopher at 11:03 PM

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Fish & Photos 

Yesterday (Sunday) Carrie & I got up at a relatively reasonable time so we could make a tour of tech. We started at Office Depot, then Chét Targét (where Carrie also picked up various other sundries she needed for her trip), and ended at Fred Meyer's (where Carrie picked up various groceries).

The point of this Tech Tour was to price and compare various digital cameras. I'd gone onto Digital Camera HQ and found all of the highest-rated, ultra-compact cameras under $250. Fred Meyer's had all the same ones that were at the other two places, and at the same prices, so I decided to get one there. I settled on the Casio Exilim EX-Z75. It's very cute, very intuitive, has an "easy mode" for Carrie and has enough options to suit all of my needs. It's also more than 3 times as powerful as my old camera, and doesn't take 30 seconds to turn on or a full second to take a photo when you push the trigger (it actually takes only about 0.01 seconds). I like it so far.

We then ate some Mandarin chicken, and I went to Fools Play practice. We worked on recurring character stuff, re-tooling a couple of character bits and coming up with a couple of new ones. A really good idea and a really, really bad idea. 'Twas a lots of fun.

When I came home Carrie & Lawrence & Christine already had the coals going on the barbeque, and Carrie & Lawrence had prepped 3 types of salmon: Lemon/garlic salmon, Teriyaki salmon, and Plumb BBQ sauce salmon. They were also making brownies and a big veggie tray, and Carrie even made guacamolé. I put the salmon on and it cooked away.

As the even went on, more and more people started coming over, including the likes of Carly, Liana y Robbie, Melissa y Travis, and Jen w/Lila. Liana & Robbie even brought their two dogs over, which delighted Carrie (but made Fantastico none too happy).

It was a very fun evening of barbeque, beer, and video games (Robbie brought over two more GameCube controllers and we mostly played Bomberman Jetters and Mario Kart Double Dash, although at one point Travis actually brought out a working 3DO system). And since we'd used paper plates and disposable cups, cleanup was a snap!

Here's a pic of a whole bunch of peoples playing video games (taken with the new camera, of course):

After everyone was gone, Carrie then watched the season finale of The Apprentice while I finished up some computer stuff, and then we went to bed.

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posted by Christopher at 8:57 AM

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Whotta Week! 

Last week was car-azy. I worked worked worked. Last week included such notable events as working until 6:00 in the morning. Also, a bunch of pretty flower things started happening to my house!

Things calmed down quite a bit on the weekend. On Saturday morning Carrie & I went to Macy's and put some stuff on hold for Melissa to try on (during the annual event where some Bead Babes take her out shopping for her birthday). Then Carrie was out-and-about for most of the rest of the day until my brother came and picked me up for Fools Play.

Between workshop and show we drove around Olympia for a while until we finally ate at McMinneman's Spar, or however it's spelled.

Then we performed Fools Play Audience Party, which is always, always a lots of fun. And Leia was there from Friday Harbor! Hooray! It was nice to see her again. And also her sister, who was also in town. Probably not a coincidence.

Leia & Kedar drove me home after Rib Eye.

Then yesterday (Sunday) Carrie & I went out for breakfast at Knapp's with Steph & Jamie. I had a Monte Christo omelette, which was rather tasty. Then I went up to Fools Play practice, and by the time I got home Carrie had already left for the Bead Factory Fashion Show. So I didn't see her again until I went and picked her up after 10:00.

In the meantime I watched the premiere of Drive starring Nathan Fillion. Y'know, I really wasn't at all impressed. It was just kinda... meh. It wasn't a total waste, though, because I worked on Baby Eva's birthday present while I watched it. It's almost done now, and it's so frikkin' cute.

I'm 100% positive that I'm forgetting something, but that's what I get for not writing down what happened within a day or two of it happening...

Edit: Now I remember what else happened! Carrie & I cranked up the barbeque and started grilling our dinners! Yes, the weather has (finally) cleared up enough this spring so that barbequeing does not seem like an idiotic thing to do. There were pork chops and steaks, and green beans cooked with bacon (also zucchini cooked with bacon). And then just tonight there was barbequed chicken breast, thin-sliced potatoes, and grilled broccoli florettes. Good stuff, and you don't have to dirty multiple dishes cooking it all up!

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posted by Christopher at 2:40 PM

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Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Whedon Wall 

Yesterday (Friday) the weather was back to what has become the standard for 2007: gray, rainy, and a wee bit on the chilly side. Ah, well.

I actually left for work before Carrie did, but I didn't have to pick her up for lunch because she was already on her way up to Bellingham for the Bellingham Bead Festival. I made gnocci for myself, watched 60s British spy television, and got awfully drowsy.

After working some in the afternoon I went out to Office Depot to buy some binder clips and then Michael's to buy some felt glue. I bought the binder clips because the last time I was at Sandy & Mathias's place they'd put up a tonne of the stuff they'd collected in Japan. And they had a most ingenious way of putting stuff up on their walls, which involved attaching binder clips to the piece, and then securing the binder clips to the wall with thumbtacks. It makes it so it's incredibly easy to switch out your wall hangings; just unclip it and put something else up there. It also has the added advantage of not putting holes in your posters. Very nice!

So when I got home I hung up my Lost in Translation poster (after a couple of years of just having it propped up on my top toy shelf), and then I hung up my nerd-cred stuff:

Up top there is my issue #2 of the Serenity ("Those Left Behind") miniseries, signed by Jewel Staite herself (many, many thanks to Brandy for picking it up for me at NY Comic Con). Down below is issue #1 of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 ("The Long Way Home") comic. Note how the binder clips are only attached to the packaging of the comics, so as not to damage the comics themselves in any way. Suh-weet.

And, yes, you'll notice that both of those comics were penned by Joss Whedon. Well, that's because the only comic books I actually collect were written by Joss Whedon. I'd put up an issue of Astonishing X-Men, too, but I only collect the Trade Paperbacks of that series. The only thing that would make this wall of my office any more nerdy was if I had a framed poster of Serenity instead of Lost in Translation (unfortunately the Serenity poster, like most artwork generated for that film, is pretty crappy, so I probably won't get it).

Anyway, in the evening I had my own little Sam Raimi movie fest. I watched The Quick & The Dead, Evil Dead II, and Army of Darkness all in a row whilst I worked on a felt project. Then I went to bed all by my lonesome lonely self while Carrie was way up in Bellingham.

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posted by Christopher at 11:51 AM

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Weekend Apology Pizza 

On Saturday Carrie & I went over and hung out with the Tarbet girls for a while. Linnea made us lunch, which included sammitches made with ham and "horseradish cheese." I can't verify the veracity of the "cheese" part of that (it might have been processed; I'm not sure), but it was extraordinarily tasty.

Carrie & the girls then went off to the zoo and I came home and got ready for Fools Play. I went down at the early time to do the workshop, then Jake, Mike, and I went to El Nopal for dinner before heading back to the theater. We did "Fools Play Princess Party," which went pretty well but the audience was rather unresponsive. And a little small.

Afterwards I went out to Rib Eye, but I really should have just gone straight home because the roads were so wet that it was a rather frightening drive. Much hydroplaning. I'm shocked I didn't see any accidents on the way.

On Sunday I went to practice, but my brother forgot that daylight savings had happened the night before, so he was out buying Little Caesar's pizza at the time. I went and visited my folks for just a couple of minute before going back. In order to apologize for not being there to let me in to his apartment, Mike bought me a pizza. Which was very nice. And very good. I really have always loved Little Caesar's pizza. And nowadays it's so hard to find!

While I was out, the back deck was completed. Voila!

We're gonna hafta wait for the weather to be consistently dry, and then we'z gonna paint it. Probably the same pale cream colour that is used as the accent colour on our house. Also, the pile of old wood from the demolished deck still has to be drugged away.

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posted by Christopher at 8:38 AM

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Decked Out 

Over the weekend the Gouker/O'Reilly clan (Chris, Cat, and Jake) came over and tore out our old, rotting deck and started to replace it with a new, shiny deck.

Old, rotting deck:
Show it who's boss!
Where him gone?
There is her!

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posted by Christopher at 8:12 AM

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Tiny Robot Has No Legs 

Yesterday I picked Carrie up from work and took her straight to her doctor's appointment. I walked from the doctor's office to the taco place where Nyki works to buy Carrie a juice. It turns out Carrie has a sinus infection, which is totally clear-up-able. After I dropped her off back at the house I went and filled her prescription.

I made potato & cheddar perogies with a gorgonzola potato sauce for din-dins. Then after I took Carrie back to teach at the store (even though she's sick) I drove up to Seattle to hang out with Sandy & Mathias and do a new crafts project.

A while back Sandy got this completely awexome Japanese book about making tiny felt plush things, and so we decided to get together and make tiny plush robots! It's a lot of work hand-stitching something, even if it is relatively tiny.

Here's what I made!

I think it's pretty frikkin' cute. We watched American Idol (which I'd never actually seen an entire episode before in my life) and that smarter than a 5-year-old show. That one was pretty funny, although some of the questions were legitimately difficult. Do you know the name of the constellation that contains the big dipper? I do. But I could see how that wouldn't be common knowledge. Do you know how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon? I don't. Unless you cook an awful lot that's probably not common knowledge. Do you know what element on the periodic table has the initials NA? I do, but I'm rather good at science.

The funny ones are when a woman was asked how many states touch the Pacific Ocean and she said, "Three."

Anyway, I didn't have time to make legs for my tiny robot, but I brought the li'l legless guy back home to show Carrie, who absolutely loved it.

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posted by Christopher at 8:18 AM

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Monday, February 19, 2007

I Told Carrie... 

...that I wanted to redecorate our bedroom so that it looked like this:

But she said I couldn't. She said that if we ever have a kids, I could make their bedroom look like that. But then I still won't be able to sleep in it!

See all of this stuff here.

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posted by Christopher at 3:42 PM

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sandy & Jason 

What a day today! But this post is about yesterday (Friday). Carrie & I both got up earlier than normal so that she could go into the store and so that I could make it so that all of the Bellingham Bead Festival Classes had their "Sign Up Now" buttons in place. Then at 8:00 I uploaded them all so that people could sign up for them.

Calvin Sampson came in to Ever After to help clean/organize a bit in the morning. I got a lot of little programming bits done, like making a customer registration area, and figuring out gift certificates and a reward program.

For some reason, though, for the past three days I've lost contact with the server in the morning, for about five to fifteen minutes. Very strange, and not at all reproduceable as it seems completely random.

Anyway, Carrie called me right as I was leaving and said she really didn't have time to take a full lunch break, so would I gather something and bring it to her at the store? So I went to MSM II and got a Mike's Deluxe and took it to her, where we had lunch at her desk.

I took home a little handout thing for Viki's Bead Shopping Savvy class. I just had to do an illustration of a necklace, of which I already had all of the pieces. So I just finished creating the illustration and was about to email it to them at the store, when they called and told me that they had changed their mind; instead of a necklace they wanted a bracelet with a toggle clasp that had some dangly bits coming off of it. So I severely shortened my necklace illo and added some dangly bits to it before emailing it off.

After that I talked to Cupcakeface for a bit on the phone, then I went out shopping for Sandy's birthday present. I looked at the animé store in the T-Town Mall, but I was uninspired, and the guy behind the counter seemed like a total douchebag. So I started walking back through the mall towards where I parked my car, and I saw this T-shirt:

I figured Sandy would like it, so I bought it.

I also swung by Michael's on the way home and bought some canvas paper. I know Leia uses it all the time when she paints at my house, and I was very curious about it. Plus, I had an idea that I wanted to paint a pictured for Jason's birthday present.

So I got home and fixed a problem wherein Heather had messed up the code on one of the BF pages (haw haw), then Carrie called so I picked her up.

Carrie did a whole bunch of iTunes stuff, getting new songs and making playlists and schtuffis like that. I spread out my painting stuff in the office and got to work. In no time I had my idea sketched out, and then I ripped off a piece of canvas paper and some time later I had this:

I call it "Robot Plus Carrot"

I used the paper cutter to crop it to 5" x 7" and stuck it in one of the frames I have lying around. Then I wrapped it up and Carrie wrapped up the shirt, and at 7:00 we headed up to Seattle for Sandy & Jason's joint birthday party at Jason's apartment!

I printed out directions from Google Maps, and they were plenty accurate, though one of the streets we had to turn on was horribly un-labeled in the real world. We turned around as soon as I realized it (only about 30-45 seconds too late, so not bad), and parked across the street from the address that Sandy had put on the invitation.

We then walked down to the address written on the invitation, only to discover that it was not an apartment building, but a house.

So I called Jason and told him where we were, and the address that was written on the invitation. He said that that wasn't actually his address! Fortunately his REAL address was just a few numbers up the street, so we walked until we saw him standing on his balcony waving at us. Then we went upstairs and joined the party.

My brother was already there, along with Edlund and Jen (of course), and three people I'd never met before: Marie, Anne, and her boyfriend Mike.

It was a fun party! Sandy & Mathias showed up with Josiah and his GF a while later. Jason and Sandy both luuved the presents we got them. There was pizza and peanut-butter-and-chocolate cupcakes, and some sorta really yummy mango cake.

We left just about the time Geoff & Lisa arrived, because we was tired peoples. The drive back home was much more un-eventful than the drive up.

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posted by Christopher at 3:47 PM

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Just Didn't Link Up 

So yesterday (Thursday) was a very usual day. Very typical. I went to work, picked Carrie up for her split-shift, and worked some more in the afternoon.

Then around dinnertime Christine called me and asked me if she should pick me up to go to Lawrence's show up in Bellevue.

Here's the thing: I knew that Lawrence was having a show on Thursday. I also knew that yesterday was Thursday. But for some reason those two pieces of information in my brain never linked up.

Long story short, she swung by (looking very cute in a very familiar top) and picked me up about a half hour later, and drove the two of us up to the Hear Music Coffeehouse in Bellevue Square. Besides being where Lawrence works, this is also where the show was to take place.

We got there about an half-hour before the show was to start, so I went wandering over the sky bridge near Nordstrom's and into the mall proper. It was my mission to find Season One of Project Runway for Carrie to watch on the upcoming plane to Tucson. I got distracted, however, by the gigantic Apple store they have in the mall. I walked through it and drooled for quite a while.

By the time I was done there, I only had a couple more minutes to walk through the mall before I had to walk the great distance back to the Starbucks. So I didn't find the DVDs. Ah, well.

I got back in time and bought Christine a coffe, and myself a hot chocolate and a sausage breakfast sammitch (I were hungee for din-dins). The show started while I was doing this.

The first act was a girl who annoys Christine. I don't remember her name. She had a really good voice, but she was very young and didn't have any stage presence. It was better to close your eyes and listen than it was to watch her perform. But that'll come with time and confidence, so she'll be fine sooner or later.

The second act was absolutely spectacular. It was as if I had been transported back to the authentic 1970s. It was two guys with feathered hair (check out this photo)

and a black woman in a red dress and spectacular red high-heeled pumps:

And they were really, really good. It sounded like they'd been doing this for 30 years, and they had it down. One funny thing: the pickup in the guy on the right (pictured above)'s guitar broke right before their set was supposed to start, so he actually played Lawrence's electric guitar ("Roxanne") for the show. They did several very crowd-pleasing songs, and they all had really good presence, in that they were obviously very into what they were doing.

After that it was Lawrence's turn. I experimented some with the video camera in my phancy phone and got this 30-second clip:

It was pretty much a shorter version of his usual set, although he did "It's Not Easy Being Green" instead of "Rainbow Connection." Though at the end, by request, he did "No Hurricane No Cry," a version of "No Woman No Cry" with funny lyrics about being a Katrina refugee.

After the show Christine drove all three of us (four if you count Roxanne, who I dutifully buckled up in the backseat next to me) back down to T-Town.

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posted by Christopher at 8:05 AM

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Hark Your Heart Out 

So this weekend was the Christmas Weekend (duh). It was loads of funstuffs and funtimes. Let's start with:


Saturday I spent basically the whole day getting ready for Fools Play, by making/wrapping gifts for my fellow Fools and my favorite audience members. While Carrie was out doing some last-minute shopping, I painted three new paintings:


I thought it would take me until, you know, noon or 1:00 to finish them, but I weren't finished until after 3:00.

At that point we thought that Susan's boyfriend and his daughter were gonna be in Texas during Christmas, visiting an aunt or something. But we then learned that they weren't able to make their stand-by flight, and so they were planning on being at my folks' place for Christmas! So Carrie & I went to Cost Plus World market so I could grab up some shotglasses for Jason (and so Carrie could get some last-minute stocking stuffers).

Instead of etching the shotglasses when I got home, though, I worked on the six juice glasses I was etching for me granmaw.

Then it was off to Fools Play for me! It was Santa's Lap, one of the more fun formats for the audience, because after every scene an audience member gets a prize, and another one gets to sit on one of our laps and ask for a gift. And then at the end of the show there's a spectacular, half-hour-long section where many, many of the recurring characters come out and sing carols. My favorites are when Pete & Bob sing "O Holy Night" (or "O Holy Blom" as Bob sings it), and Professor Horace & Cecil's rendition of the Chipmunk Christmas Song. There were many, many others, of course, and we ended with several FPRL people singing "Do You Hear What I Hear" while having a series of wrestling matches. Really, really good times.

After the show I handed out presents to everybody for whom I brought presents (including Brandy, who showed up just after the show ended; I had a feeling she might, so I brought along the present we were gonna give to her on Early Christmas). I got a couple in return, including some cloudy sake and cookies from Sandy, and this enormous, hand-sewn pillow from Leah!


Everybody was really, really dawdling, and I didn't want to be out too late, so I went off to the restaurant and gave my presents to the people who slipped away before I could catch them at the theater. In return I got some yummy chocolates (and a pencil) from Tia & Cupcakeface. I ordered some cheese tots to go and ended up leaving right after everybody else from the theater arrived.

I got home and worked on Jason's shotglasses before hitting the proverbial hay.

Sunday (Christmas Eve)

In the morning I finished working on Jason's shotglasses, and then we met them and my family at Diamond Jim's in Federal Way for my family's traditional Christmas Eve Breakfast/Brunch out at a diner. Carrie & I both had the really excellent stuffed French toast (stuffed with ham and swiss cheese), while most everybody else got the #2 or #3.

When we first walked into the restaurant (we were the last to arrive) we were standing around for almost a full minute before Alexis saw us, and she gasped in delight and jumped up and threw her arms around Carrie. It was very, very cute.

Breakfast was a lot of crazy fun, as always whenever you get my whole family together.

We came home and straightened the house some, but then got a phone call from Linnea saying that they had some sorta stomach flu (this would feature prominently on Christmas as well; read on) and so couldn't come over in the afternoon and exchange gifts as planned. So Carrie & I had more leisurely time to finalize all of our gifts and wrappings and stocking stuffers and whatnot. I feel like something else happened during the afternoon, but I can't rightly recall now.

At 5:00 we headed to Mark & Viki's for their traditional Quebequois Christmas Eve dinner. It was basically the same menu as Last Year, which is A-OK with us! Delicious as always. We brought a cheese ball with us for the hors-d'ouvre table, and Nancy & Brian had their new-ish (seven months?) baby with them. It was the calmest, most docile baby I'd seen in a long, long time. It didn't even cry at the sight of me like most babies do at first! In fact, she actually let me hold her without even a fuss. I swear, a burglar could break into their house and ransack the whole place and she wouldn't make a fuss. The opposite of colic.

After dinner we went to Carrie's folks' house to stuff the stockings. As usual, there were about three times as many fully-wrapped stocking stuffers as there was room in the stocking.

Finally, after all that it was home, where Carrie & I exchanged gifts. Carrie gave me some nice new cargo pants; I gave her 'Twas the Night Before Christmas on DVD. It's her favorite Christmas special, but they hardly ever play it on TeleVision anymore, and when they do they edit out an entire song. So here it was, uncut and without commercial break!

Monday: Christmas

Christmas morning Carrie & I headed on over to my folks' place at 9:00 in the AM so we could (in this order) open stockings, have breakfast, then open presents. Bad news of bad news was that Susan had a horrible, vomitous stomach flu and did not think she would be able to make it, and therefore neither would Jason & Alexis (Carrie's very sympathetic response to his news: "It's Christmas; suck it up!"). We were unfortunately forced to plunge ahead without them.

Breakfast was the traditional Harris Family breakfast: Scrambled eggs, Mandarin oranges, li'l smokies, and orange rolls. We ate and ate and ate, especially Mike, who ate more li'l smokies than most of the rest of us combined. Man, what a great combination of breakfast foodstuffs.

Then it was prezzy time! The way it works in my family is that a present is given to each person there, then each person takes turns opening the present. These rounds continue until there are no more presents. It usually works out that all of one person's gifts are given out at once, i.e. in one round Mike will pass out the gifts that he got for everybody, then the next round Susan will, etc.

I got some cool stuff, including Mega Man ZX and TransFomers Season 2 Part 2. I also got a Hello Kitty waffle maker, which is extremely cute. Cute to the X-Treme! The coolest thing of all, though, was a new Nintendo wallet. Carrie got Project Runway Season 2, Stick It, and a new flax seed pillow (made personally by yours truly).


At 11:30 we trundled over to my grandma's place for her portion of the day, where I received some Batman comics (the ones based on the animated series).

Then at 1:00 it was off to Carrie's folks' house for their segment of the day. It began, as per usual, with opening of the ungodly number of stocking stuffers. I received one INCREDIBLE stocking stuffer from Carrie. I can't actually believe it's a stocking stuffer:


After the stockings was the exhausting process of opening the gifts. In this house, one person hands out one gift to each of the other people there, and then one to himself/herself. Then everyone opens their presents simultaneously and then shows them off to each other. There were many, many more rounds at Carrie's folks' house than there were at my folks' house, but it always ends up that way. And this was actually a smaller Christmas than last year!

Anyways, I ended up with more really cool things, including tonnes of geeky video game T-shirts, the complete Adventures Brisco County on DVD, and Yoshi's Island DS.

Carrie got a tonne of stuff as well, including Tetris DS (from me!).

After that I was very, very exhausted, so I took a nap in the later afternoon for an hour or two while the rest of the family played the card game "fascination." It took my entire nap for them to finish.

Around 6:00 was a very excellent dinner of goose, parmesan mashed potatoes, broccoli casserole, frozen cranberry salad, and Gulliver's corn (which I did not eat).

After dinner there was another card game, this one of Skip-Bo. I participated in this one (in fact I dealt), and came within two cards of actually winning it. By the time that game was done everyone said it felt like it was practically midnight, even though I don't think it was even 8:00 yet. The day had just been a marathon up to that point. But we decided to call it a night, not least of all because I was beginning to feel a cold coming on something fierce.

So we packed up all of the gifts from that house (so many bags) and headed exhaustedly on home, where we just lined the front of the fireplace with our un-packed gifts before going to bed.

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posted by Christopher at 12:02 PM

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Let Your Heart Be Light 

Yesterday (Sunday) was the day of the Bead Factory Christmas Party. As such, I spent most of the day getting ready for it, as well as for Early Christmas, which is tonight (Monday). Carrie, unfortunately, spent the day teaching two classes! She did come home briefly for lunch, though.

In the morning I created a couple of Early Christmas presents that I think Brandy and Travis will really like. Then I got to work on my Christmas Party present. Last year I'd given some etched glasses, but Carrie wanted to give some of my etched glasses this year. So what she did is take two Skull & Crossbones Martini Glasses and fill them each with some tiny bottles o' hooch. It was a pretty cute present!

Since she was going the etched glassware route, I decided to go down another one of my creative avenues: I did a painting. And it turned out to be a really, really awexome painting:

Click for larger version

He's so frikkin' cute! Also in the afternoon I went out and got a gift certificate and tried to find a specific kind of beer but failed in that endeavor.

When Carrie got home from work, we got ready, wrapped everything up, and headed over to Christine's for what is known as the "pre-funk." Already there were Lawrence, Jen, and her hubby Pete! We didn't think that he was going to be able to make it, but they decided last minute to stick their baby daughter Lila with a relative so they could both come. Hooray!

Christine made her very tasty version of gin fizzy and we all hung out for a while. Eventually Brandy showed up, back from New York! Although it had apparently been quite the adventure, because she'd tried to fly into SeaTac when they were still having all those problems with the power over here Friday night. Instead of getting a direct flight from New York, she had to make and unscheduled layover in San Francisco before finally getting to the airport at something like 1:30 in the AM. Oh, and her luggage came separately (she only just got it yesterday). She brought her friend Chelsea as her date to the party.

So then we all headed over to the private upstairs room at Primo and had a great time with great food and great people. In the gift exchange, Steph ended up with the etched martini glasses, and Lawrence ended up with my MountainBot painting! Carrie & I ended up with an absolutely gorgeous painting from Gina, which was very surprising in that I'd never known she could paint! It's really pretty:

Actually a lot of people brought original artwork as gifts, which is really cool. I brought etched glasses and a painting; Gina brought a painting; Heather brought a painting; Chris Fantz brought some photographs; Brandy brought a photograph of the Statue o' Liberty. I think that was it.

After the party dissolved we all headed back to Christine's (plus Melissa, Steph, and their sigfigs, and with Carly subbing for Brandy, who actually had to go home and write a freakin' final for school that night) where Steph made some hot buttered rums that were very, very tasty.

Sometime after midnight Carrie and I gathered our things and walked the six-or-so blocks back to our house, where I made some gnocci that we ate in bed.

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posted by Christopher at 12:14 PM

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Friday, December 15, 2006

We Three Trees 

I took this last night because I think it's pretty:

We keep our Christmas tree in the bay window, so when the lights in the house are on, the tree lights reflect in the angled windows and it looks like there are actually three trees in there! Kewl! (Click the pic for a larger version)


posted by Christopher at 11:51 AM

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