Midweek Tidbits

I sure wouldn't have wanted to be in the shoes of the Kings of Leon at this concert, but I wouldn't have wanted to be a fan either.

Your nerd link of the day, because I'm sure you're dying to know: How does Google work?

Another nerdy link... who am I? There are Internet Keymasters!!

I met Dylan when I was a freshman at SPU - he walked the 500-mile Camino de Santiago in Spain last year and is working on his memoir of the experience. Check out his blog. Now. 

What did one man learn from his four-month Internet fast?

The Great Gym Switcharoo

So this title may be a bit misleading as no switcharoo has occurred just yet. I'm weighing the pros and cons of switching from my current gym, LA Fitness, to 24 Hour Fitness. I have a ton of bullet points for each gym, so bear with me.

Pros for staying with LA Fitness
  • The gym is less than a block from my office, making a lunchtime or post-work workout super convenient.
  • I get off work at 4:30, so I get to this gym before the after-work rush hour - better machine and weights availability. The earlier I get to the gym, the earlier I get home.
Cons for staying with LA Fitness
  • If I forget any piece of my workout wardrobe, say my shoes, I'd have to drive home to Seattle - and there's no way I'm coming back 15 miles to work out.
  • There seems to be a high concentration of creepers. 
  • The gym is small - when it comes to weights, there are only two sets of everything. Two sets of fill-in-the-blank-pound weights, two sets of leg press machines, two sets of incline benches, etc. When the gym starts to fill up, you have to get in the rotation with everyone else. And as I like to say, I don't play well with others.
Pros for moving to 24 Hour Fitness
  • The gym is about two miles away from our apartment - I can easily drive, bike or run there.
  • I'm much more likely to go 2 miles to work out on a weekend than drive 15 miles out of the city (I drive down there every day, why would I want to go on a weekend?)
  • My friend Lori also works out there - everything is better with a friend.
  • The monthly rate is $5 cheaper.
  • Bigger gym = more equipment.
  • Free parking garage after 5 p.m.
Cons for moving to 24 Hour Fitness
  • Bigger gym = more people.
  • I'd be working out during the prime time of weekday workouts - 5:30ish - which would push back the time I get home.
  • The area where the gym is located is sketchy at best.
  • Street parking on the weekends.
I think I've already made my decision... now I need to stop flirting (the seven-day free pass at 24 Hour was helpful) and COMMIT.

Sibling rivalry

Mark and I biked to the Sounders game last night to watch our team take on the Colorado Rapids – a family rivalry, since my brother is among the Rapids’ staunchest supporters. I forgot my cell phone so I started the trash texting on Mark’s phone. Below is a recalling of our conversation though it isn’t quite word for word since I don’t have Mark’s phone in front of me. But you get the gist.

Heather: Hey this is Heather on Mark’s phone, I forgot my phone! We are already at the game.
Richard: Heyyyy! I am at the Bulldogs pub downtown for the game!
Richard: We’re going to beat the Flounders!! Hahaha!

The Sounders score, then the Rapids score 30 seconds later, causing me to cancel my celebratory text…

Richard: GOOOOOOAAAALLLL! Did you celebrate too early???!!
Heather: I was just texting you when you scored so I canceled it!
Heather: What did you pay off the ref or something?
Richard: Yes we did…
Richard: Meh poor defending led to that goal…

Sounders score again.

Richard: dammit!!
Heather: He’s big, he’s tall, he’s a mother ‘----ing wall, Kasey Keller! [Sounders goalkeeper]

The game is called, Sounders win 2-1

Heather: next time man
Richard: Ahhh I am so sad!!

Gotta love rivalry.

Clothing diet?

Six pieces of clothing. Could you only wear six pieces of clothing for one month?

A group of about 150 people have taken upon themselves this very challenge. While I think it's a bit extreme and couldn't say I'd ever do it myself, I'm now trying to figure out what six items I'd choose from my closet if I did. Certain items don't count toward the total: undergarments, work-out clothes, outer jackets and shoes (although if outer jackets weren't included, I know my North Face would make the top six!)

1. Black slacks - a must for work.

2. Jean capris - I can suffer through a hot day with them and they'll kinda pass for pants on a cooler day.

3. Black tank top - I wear one of these under nearly everything, so it has to be top six. 

Here's where it gets tricky.

4. Black short-sleeve collared shirt - dressy enough for work, casual enough for play.

5. Plain green v-neck tee - see above.

6. Black shirt-dress - it's work-safe but easy to move around in. My shorts substitute.

But could I actually go 31 days wearing (mainly) only these six pieces? I'd get pretty bored pretty fast and wonder when my co-workers were going to start asking me if a fire burned down my place and all I escaped with were a few items I could throw in a backpack. But according to the NY Times article on the experiment, some participants reported that no one noticed their lack of variety. So... I'm going to stop feeling awkward when I wear the same dress twice in two weeks. Booyah.

Crawling into a hole now

An Asian supermarket just opened last week at the mall next to my office, in one of those larger spaces where a Penney’s or Macy’s would normally be. The one thing this area needs is a grocery store, so I thought I’d check it out during my lunch break. I’m not sure if it’s because the store just had its grand opening or whether it will always be like this, but I have never felt as socially overwhelmed as I did when I walked through the front doors. Just think of Uwajimaya (another Asian supermarket in Seattle) on a Saturday and combine it with REI during a sale. It was that crazy. Not only is it a supermarket but there’s also a food court inside, adding to the mayhem as customers jostled in line and cashiers shouted out numbers so the next hungry buyer could move forward.

I was hit by at least three carts steered by little old ladies. And I didn’t even have a cart. My heels probably have dents in them. After about 10 minutes of wandering around the store looking for tahini so I could make edamame hummus, something in me flipped and I ran out the side exit. The hummus can wait until tomorrow.

On enablers and doomed friendships

Netflix has been a pretty good friend to us through the year or so we’ve paid for their services. But lately… Netflix has been a JERK.

We’d lately gotten into a show called “Party Down”, a comedy originally airing on the cable network Starz. Netflix even recommended it to us based on what we’d already watched – they know us so well. It’s a tad creepy. Anyway we’d watched the first season and were one episode into the second when, without warning (or maybe they had been posting a warning and we didn’t see it), Starz decided to remove the show completely from Netflix. This came on the heels of Starz’ decision to cancel “Party Down” from its lineup since most of its lead actors were moving to bigger and better projects. So not only were we beginning a friendship that was already destined to end, but our means of participating in that friendship was destroyed.

Starz, how dare you remove your product from the clutches of the mainstream. I hate to break this to you, but there are plenty of people out there who refuse to pay for your channel and would’ve never seen the show without Netflix. I will not forget this.

Netflix – YOU ENABLER.

The establishment has forced us to take drastic measures, so we will still be enjoying “Party Down” through other means.

Midweek Tidbits

I am the poster child for childhood phobias induced by movies. I saw "Jaws" at a young age and for years couldn't watch footage of sharks or even look at images of them without having to look away. I can now handle pictures of them (my heart rate still increases) and have since snorkeled in the ocean without having to make a hasty exit, but the movie did impact me for life. And then there was "Psycho"... I couldn't close the shower curtain for months after watching it.

Does anyone else find it disturbing that the world's most expensive coffee is made from the excrement of this animal? Apparently Muslims do. 

You've heard of Spell Check? What about Tone Check?

"Hansel and Gretel" to be remade by Michael Bay. Looks very Tim Burton-esque.

A pink sari: the new gang symbol in India.

Spin me a tale

I’ve participated in my fair share of spinning classes (stationary cycling) at the gym but hadn’t been to one in months until last night – it was everything I remembered and more. Burning quads, dripping sweat and an instructor warning us that we are not to leave our bikes, even for water – raise your hand and he’ll refill your bottle (heaven forbid if you actually forgot your water bottle). While most of the class members are ordinary joes like you and me, I’ve identified certain types of people you tend to find in these classes.

1. Lance Armstrong 2.0
He doesn’t wear a helmet but he will wear his skin-tight bike shorts, butt padding included. He’s probably supplementing his training for an upcoming race and will surely outshine the rest of us, and maybe even the instructor too. He usually sits front and center – the leader of the pack.

2. The Girl Who Refuses to Sweat
Full disclosure: I am not this girl. Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE to be this girl but I have accepted that it will never happen. Anti-perspirant’s got nothin’ on me. Whether her lack of glisten is from not working hard enough or just great genes, you’ll find her pedaling away and probably thanking her lucky stars not to be one of the sweaty messes next to her. Oh and her eye makeup stays perfectly set and smudge-free. Jealous.

3. The Noob Who Underestimates Spinning
“You’re on a fake bike, how hard can it be?” Spinning is not for the faint of heart, especially with a great instructor. Some join the class because they remember bike riding to be a leisurely activity of their youth (this might have been me). Those who aren’t fully committed from the start tend to lose heart halfway through and make a hasty exit – you can tell by their broken spirits. Tip: don’t let it break your spirit.

Am I missing anyone else?

Garden Update: 12 weeks in

The fruit of my labor. The spoils of my plunder. The effort paid off! Our snow pea vines are blooming and producing beautiful pods. Nothing beats veggies straight from the garden - I can't pick 'em as fast as I can eat 'em. That's right - I eat 'em raw.

My other success story is this zucchini plant. I feel like he doubles in size every day and he's started blooming. Zucchinis are right around the corner.
This guy on the other hand is still trying to catch up. He has new growth on him but is obviously nowhere near the size of his neighbor. He's my Peter Pan... he'll never grow up.

Midweek Tidbits

Volunteer Park, Seattle, Washington

A conversation between a composer and a teenager about stealing music from the Internet.

And this is why Pixar is superior.

He lives in Seattle's Seward Park as its caretaker - what a perfect set-up. Living in the city without feeling like you live in the city.

This is why you don't get drunk - you may climb into a crocodile enclosure and attempt to ride a 16-foot croc named "Fatso."

Did you know there was actually a Battle of Seattle that took place in 1856? It was part of the Puget Sound War. Do Washingtonian kids learn about this in their history classes?

Lilith Fair

Some friends and I put rainy Seattle behind us two Saturdays ago and drove east to George, Washington, for Lilith Fair at the Gorge Amphitheatre. The venue looks out on the Columbia River Gorge and was a perfect opportunity for our sun-starved selves to soak up some rays and live music. The line-up included Sheryl Crow, Sugarland, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Colbie Caillat and Sarah McLachlan to name a few – Grace Potter was my favorite, you should check her out! I was also quite impressed with Sugarland. I didn’t know any of their music prior to the show but their lead singer was an energetic performer and super fun to watch. They did a great job rallying the crowd – so much energy!

The day started and ended with coffee – the gorge is two and a half hours away in the middle of nowhere. For a venue so large and established, we were surprised at how unorganized everything was. We looked up the venue rules on the Website before we left so we knew what we could bring – soft-shell coolers, beach chairs (they had to be low to the ground – elevated camping chairs weren’t allowed), food, etc. When we got there, we discovered that soft-shell coolers on wheels weren’t allowed so Maile had to leave the line and take the wheels back to the car. When Christy and I made our way to the front of the ticket line, the ticket people told Christy that they had just decided there should be a cooler size limit and our cooler was too big. Luckily for us, another ticket agent waved us through anyway, probably avoiding a tirade from us about why they should post these restrictions on the Website BEFORE people drive two-plus hours to get to the venue. Then, not even five minutes after we entered, we saw someone wheeling around a soft-shell cooler.

Some concert-goers were able to bring in camping chairs, blocking views. The group of girls in front of us had entered in two waves – one group was allowed through with an elevated chair, the other group was stopped and ordered to take their chairs back to their cars. WTH?

As if this wasn’t enough inconsistency, the ladies behind us noticed we were eating fruit out of Tupperware and asked us how were we able to bring that in? We said that no one said anything to us, and they told us that they had seen others in line who had to throw away any food that wasn’t still packaged from the grocery store. “Your watermelon could be soaked in vodka!” they said. Just as I was thinking that the venue couldn’t be that vigilant about alcohol control, a group near us was busted for bringing in a flask.

Watching all those talented women made me want to bring out my guitar again and re-teach myself how to play. I knew how once upon a time… and we do have a guitar so I don’t have an excuse. Step one: find the tuner.

There and Back Again: Goat Flats

We hiked to Goat Flats yesterday, a five-mile ascent to a spectacular view of the northern Cascades. If you go further, you meet up with Three Fingers trail, which will take you up to the Three Fingers lookout atop those jagged peaks. We went with our friends Maile and Brian and saw maybe eight other people throughout the day. Apparently the hike is somewhat busy through the summer but yesterday was definitely not proof of its popularity. It was great to have the trail nearly to ourselves.

The only downside to this hike is the two-hour drive to the trailhead. One hour gets you into the national park and the next hour is spent on an 18-mile gravel road dodging potholes at 20 mph. We weren't sure whether we were on the correct road heading up to the trailhead so we flagged down a sketchy-looking truck heading the opposite way. Mark asked the driver if we were on Highway 41 and the guy replied, "Dude... we're on planet Earth, man!" The passenger in the truck then said something about herb and 420, and it became obvious we'd get no pertinent information from them so we said thanks and drove on (we were indeed on the correct road, by the way).

Word on the street is that tons of mountain goats congregate in the area but we didn't see one... I was very disappointed. If I'm going to be in GOAT FLATS then at least show me a goat!

Measurements you never knew you needed to know

I just learned something interesting and completely useless (or I suppose it could be useful) from The New Yorker:

2 bottles of champagne = 1 magnum
4 magnums = 1 Methuselah
8 magnums = 1 Balthazar
10 magnums – 1 Nebuchadnezzar

Feel free to bust out this knowledge at the next wedding you attend.

Book on iPod

I’m in a pickle.

The written word versus the spoken word. I’ve been listening to an audiobook I downloaded from the library and transferred to my iPod. My question is this – do I add this book to my “Reading/Recently Finished” list (which you can find on the right side of this blog)?

I almost added it. But I stopped myself because I couldn’t successfully convince myself that I was “reading” the book, and thus thought I was being deceptive. I may be experiencing the book (as read by Ethan Hawke) but I’m certainly not reading it.

So should I add it to my list? When I finish listening to the audio recording, does that mean I have still not “read” the book? AM I WASTING MY TIME?

We declare this... our Independence Day!

“Now that’s what I call a close encounter.” – Will Smith

Don’t play, you know you love it. My brother and I used to watch this movie ALL the time.

Speaking of the 4th, Mark and I hosted a party at our place on Sunday for nearly 30 people. I think we maxed out the capacity of what our apartment can handle – we’ll make sure not to go over that number in the future.

Midweek Tidbits

Good morning - hopefully you all had a delightful three-day weekend! I know I was grateful for an extra day - we hosted a 4th of July party with nearly 30 people so I needed a recovery day.


What's the fattiest food in the state of Washington? Or any other state for that matter?

Seattle to San Diego... by canoe.

Lots of situations delay planes - weather problems, mechanical problems... but maggot problems?

The 100 greatest movie insults of all time. 'Nuf said.

An absolutely hysterical exchange over a missing cat.

The unwanted bird - roosters have been banned from urban farms in Seattle. Has anyone raised chickens before? Mark went through a phase where he wanted a coop of them, and I am hearing more about urban chicken coops.

My war on drugs. I mean, slugs.

The last few weeks have been dedicated to getting these living boogers out of my garden. I was warned about their prolific presence in the northwest but naively thought that maybe they’d stay away on their own? The slugs almost completely destroyed our lettuce crop and ate one of our zucchini plants (but wouldn’t touch the other – how strange), so I’ve been employing various weapons in my arsenal of destruction.

First, I’ve flipped my watering schedule from an evening routine to a morning routine. I read that this change alone is supposed to decrease slug activity by 80% since the dirt will be dry by nighttime, making it harder for them to forage and feed. This has been the most difficult adjustment as those who know me have learned that I love SLEEP more than most other things. I was actually pleased to see it was raining this morning because it meant I could sleep in an extra 15 minutes – nature is watering the garden for me!

I’ve (mostly) lined the garden plot with copper tape. The tape is supposed to deliver a small shock to the slug’s membrane, deterring their entrance to the plot. Conversely, this can also trap slugs within the plot but I’m willing to take that chance.

Two small bowls filled with beer now sit next to the troubled plants. The slugs are attracted to the beer, crawl up the sides, fall in and drown. Death by beer. So far, the slugs appear to prefer Heineken over Fat Tire.

I’ve spread a garlic mixture near the base of the troubled plants. I think this has made a difference – after I spread the mixture, I’ve noticed a dramatic decrease in the number of slugs caught in the beer traps. But maybe they are getting too smart?

All this effort is in the name of keeping the garden free of pesticides. Yes, I’m aware that I could buy slug poison and kill loads of them, but I’m determined to keep that stuff out of the plot. I also could go on a midnight search-and-destroy expedition but, as we’ve already established, I love sleep. Plus, washing slug gunk off my hands ranks pretty low on my list of things I want to put myself through (and I’m honestly a little afraid of what I’d find out there at midnight). So where there’s a will there’s a way! Kill the trespassers!

Dentist Schmentist

I went to the dentist on Monday for the first time in AGES. Seriously. I don’t even remember when my last cleaning was so I told them it was five years ago (or somewhere around there) and waited for the barrage of judgment from the dentist and her team of dental hygienists. Isn’t that what we all normally experience at the dentist? Chair-side lectures on our flossing habits (or lack thereof) and how we should invest in an electronic toothbrush?

I can honestly say that this wasn’t how Monday went. I gave the dentist and hygienists multiple chances to pass judgment but they must have done some sort of patient sensitivity training because they dodged every opportunity.

Dentist: “When was your last teeth cleaning?”
Heather: “Um… five years ago? I know, that’s SO bad…”
Dentist: “But you’re here now, and that’s what counts!”

Well, aren’t you just Ms. Positive.

Hygienist: “Do you know where your retainers are?”
Heather: “… No…”
Hygienist: “Well… I don’t know where mine are either!”

Points for honesty. Plus they gave me some really cool floss that feels tons better than the boring Safeway brand I use. Oh and they provide free teeth whitening for life – I can’t wait to try out my whitening trays!