Mar 30, 2008

Doing Much Better

Well, it seems the fire has done it's intended job.

The kitty is warm and happy once again.

P.S. You know what's really good?
I'll give you a hint:
You can get it here but I bought it here.

Volunteer Meeting

Yesterday afternoon / evening Hotness and I went into the big city to join other like-minded folks for our first ECCC volunteer meeting.
Y'know... to cover who's doing what, who wants to do what, and what'll be different compared to previous conventions.

It went pretty well and everybody is excited for it to happen. It looks to be a very fun convention this year. (Like it hasn't before? Yeesh!)

We got there a bit early and met up with Dr. Zoltar & his lovely assistant (that would be his wife) and had drinks before the meeting started, then after it was over we went and grabbed a bite and more drinks before heading home.

It was snowing a bit when the meeting got over but by the time we finished eating it was pretty much just rain. Didn't seem to be much of a problem driving as there wasn't anything on the roads (snow, slush, etc...)

That is, until we got just past Woodinville and closer to home. Then the roads had snow on them and every mile closer to home got worse. At one point there were three cars that had slid off the road and at least four tow-trucks trying to move everybody off the path of cars still trying to get by.

Made it into town and up the long, twisty road to our place and found even more cars had slid off to the sides. A tree had fallen over the road in at least a couple of places, making everybody have to s-l-o-w down and manuever around it.

In the last mile or so to our warm and lovely little casa in los woods, the truck couldn't get proper traction even in 4-wheel drive so we slid a bit here and there. Then going up the last hill we almost made it and then..... VROOOOM!!! No traction. Then we started to slide. Backwards. Down the hill.

Only a little bit thankfully, but still, it was dark, late, and snowing. My car was parked at the house and wouldn't have made it up or down the hill, and Hotness's truck was looking like it might go into the ditch but it didn't.

But there we were. Stuck on the hill, less then a mile from the house, and angled across the road so that nobody could get by us coming from either direction.

After some terse & colorful verbage to nobody in particular between the two of us, she turned on the flashers and we both walked the rest of the way home. I carried a 'break-n-shake' glowstick to help light our way but mostly to signal to anybody that we were in the road.

Got home. Changed into grubby, warmer clothes.Put on our headlamps. Grabbed the snow shovels and a gas lantern. Then walked back down the hill to dig out the truck.

I gotta say, it was a pain to have to go through all that, but it wasn't safe to leave the truck and it really didn't take all that long to get un-stuck.

We dug snow away from the tires and made a little 'runway' for getting some traction.

I got under the truck and put the chains on. And with a little bit of oomph the truck made it up the hill and all the way home without further incident.

We got home and got inside... oh wait.
Did I mention the power was out? Yeah, that too.
We made it home finally only to have the power out, so the house was cold.
The cat was not happy, let me tell you.

We got out of our wet and muddy clothes, and crawled into bed after 1:00 a.m. with the cat snuggled bewteen us trying to stay warm.
This morning, we got up and the power was still out so the house was even colder.

Hotness had to go check on her horse, but I was still in bed debating whether I really needed to pee or if I really wanted to stay in bed where it was warm. The cat crawled under the covers with me, so I decided to stay in bed for a while longer.

Finally, nature's call could not be ignored so I got up (much to the cat's dismay), did my business, and went to start a fire.

Wherever I went, the cat followed and tried to snuggle up to me to stay warm.

I had a nifty idea about that time.
I opened up some self-heating hand warmers and stuffed them under her sleeping pad.
Once she figured out it was warm, she curled up and went to sleep so I could finish getting the fire started.

With that out of the way, I started on breakfast.
It helps to not only be able to cook, but also have a ton of camping gear handy nearby.
I brought in the propane campstove (and yes, I know about carbon monoxide poisoning. I made sure I had ventilation) and heated up water for jasmine green tea on one side while I made an egg-white cheese omlette and hashbrowned potatoes on the other.

As soon as I finished cooking and eating... the power came back on*. Perfect timing!
Hotness was coming back from the barn shortly, so I made her breakfast on the regular stove and brewed a proper pot of coffee. (In a proper coffee pot!**)

It began snowing again, and has continued off and on now for a while.

I'm thinking I may not be going into work tomorrow at this rate.
While the road is actually clear now (they plowed it), I can't get through the snow to get to the road.

Oh well.
I'm warm. I'm comfortable. And even though it's supposed to be spring outside, it sure is pretty out there.
I might finally get caught up on my comic reading now.
* If you were on Google yesterday, you probably noticed that they were promoting Earth Hour.
Well, our power was out for over 12 hours, so I think I can safely say I did my fair share on conserving energy, don't you think?

** If you don't get this, ask me next time you see me.

Mar 29, 2008

The Pregnant Man ... or, XX vs. XY

The other day I heard about a man who claimed to be pregnant. It was in the paper that day and my co-workers were talking about it. I didn't read the article, but I found it online and read about it at my desk.

Here's the condensed version:
A "man" who was formerly a woman, underwent gender re-assignment but kept her(?) uterus and ovaries. She (now a "he") is married to a woman who is unable to get pregnant, so the "husband" had artificial insemination.... and is now about 5 months along.

Normally I don't use really foul language on here because I try to keep this an all-ages atmosphere... plus my mom might be reading it... but I think FUCKED UP comes to mind.

Your life is your's to live as you see fit. A pregnant man isn't going affect me or my home, so really... whatever. Knock youself out. (or "up" in this case)
But really, if you were born with female chromosomes (XX) and kept your ovaries AND uterus even though you are taking testosterone and had gender re-assignment, that doesn't make you a pregnant "man". It makes you a pregnant transgender, so let's be accurate okay?

And how exactly DID the husband get artificially impregnated? They don't mention that she had her 'lady bits' removed and a working 'johnson' installed, and if that's really the case (that "he" doesn't have penis) how can you call yourself a "man"?
Sure, she had constructive (or is it DEstructive?) surgery to appear as a man. She had breast removal (or at least severe reduction), is on testosterone and dresses like a man. So if I saw this person on the street I probably wouldn't think twice about whether or not it WAS a man.
But she kept her womb and all the working equipment inside. What for? If you want to change your sex because you feel you're in the wrong gender, go all the way. None of this half-way crap.

"Well, I know I was born a woman, but I really feel like I should've been a man. So I'm going to start taking hormones to increase my body and facial hair and go through painful and multiple surgeries to correct what nature gave me... oh! except I'll be keeping the plumbing. Yeah, that's right. I want to become a man but I don't want that icky 'thing' attached to my body."

To add insult to injury, was this really necessary to begin with? Couldn't they have adopted?
Why did the "husband" have to get pregnant? Was it for notoriety and to garner media attention? Sure, it'll make a great book and possibly an ABC miniseries, but c'mon... is that really worth it?
There's a good chance that the baby, who's supposedly a girl, will be born and grow up with more masculine features. Great. As if it isn't already hard enough for kids to find self-identity nowadays, their F'd up parents have to load even more emotional baggage on them to carry throughout their life.

I'm not going to to their neighborhood and protest outside their house or anything. But I do have to shake my head and ask... WHY?

Not enough weirdness for you?
Then check these out:

Spring 2008

Happy.... wait.
This is supposed to be Spring?!?!
This picture was taken from my porch just an hour ago.
Where are the blossoms?
The birds chirping happily?
The deer frolicking in the meadow?

(It sure is pretty, though!)

Mar 28, 2008

Hero Machine

Not to be confused with War Machine, by the way.

This site will let you 'create' your very own hero (or villian... if that's how you wanna roll).
Here's my feeble attempt at making Thor real quick during lunch:

You can use them for character references when you're gaming.
Use them as your online avatar in chatrooms (Yeah, baby. That REALLY is me!)
You can make trading cards out of them and share them with your friends.
If you don't add color to it, you can make your own coloring book.
Or just dink around online while you're bored at work and see how awesome (or dorky) a character you can dream up.

Happy Little Tune

You know what song you can never get upset listening to?
"Linus & Lucy" by Vince Guaraldi.

I always feel a little bit happier whenever I hear it.

Mar 23, 2008

I Pity The Fool!

Technogreek keeps finding cool and goofy knitted things on the web, but I'll be he hasn't come across this...
A Mr. T sock monkey!

Yeah, that's right sucka!

Good Friday On Into Saturday.....

I had mentioned earlier that my friend Dug and I were making plans to meet up for lunch since I was off early on Friday.

In observance of Good Friday, my company let us out at noon. So I headed over to the Microsoft campus in Redmond to join Dug, get some lunch and take a short tour of the offices.

Not really a lot to report about the tour. We weren't able to access some of the labs, so I didn't get to see the blood, sweat, and guts of the 'inner workings' of Microsoft.

I did, however, get to see how their offices are laid out in a very relaxed environment, the cafeteria, and we visited the Microsoft campus store (where you can buy their software at really low prices!).

(these three pictures of Microsoft were NOT taken by me. I 'borrowed' them from the web)

We also had lunch at an Indian restaurant that was off-campus and is VERY popular. In fact, we got there after the noon lunch rush and it was still pretty packed.
Mmm... Tandoori chicken!

Afterwards, I went home to meet Hotness. She had vehicle trouble and ended up not working that day. It was double-jeopardy for her, as not only did the torque converter go out in her transmission but her horse had colic so she had to call a vet.
Not a very 'good' Friday for her, but all ended well as her truck got fixed and the horse is doing okay and back to his regular self again.

I had to take her back to get her truck, so after dropping her off I headed over to Dug's house to deliver a comic book for him that I'd forgotten to bring with me at lunch.
Well, that and to see my niece. I mean, c'mon... who could resist this little cutie?
She's at that age where you can tell her to say something and she'll repeat it even when she doesn't know what it means. Man that's fun!

Back home to have dinner and then off to bed.

On Saturday, we found ourselves in Bellevue.
Hotness had a hair appointment, so I took off for Bellevue Square Mall.

No incidents of scaring people there this time. I dressed a little more 'upscale' so as to blend in with the locals there.

Also, I didn't end up helping anyone as their personal shopper either, but I did manage to pick up a new tie and three new shirts. One of the shirts being a very sharp white one with French cuffs.
Except for some cuff links, everything else I purchased was on sale for a super-duper price.
In fact, the white shirt was originally $30.50 but I got it for $6.80. What a steal!
I love to shop and I love a bargain... and I'm straight. Go figure.

Her hair done and my shopping finished, we grabbed something to eat before going home and getting ready to leave again for the evening's event.

We bought tickets to go see Greg Behrendt at Laughs in Totem Lake along with her boss, his wife, her boss's brother and his wife. (*whew!*)

Our seats were right near the front since we got there early, so we didn't have to watch the show from the back of the room.

It was awesome. I have Greg' s CD (which is now out of print) and it is some some truly funny stuff.

Afterwards, we got to get his autograph and take a picture with him (or at least, Hotness did).

A very nice guy and we hope to see him again at a show.

So far it's been a great weekend.

Mar 21, 2008

Science & The Bible.... AGREE!

"It really is better to give, than to receive", says a report in the paper today.
According to the study, people who spent money on others (i.e. charities, gifts for friends and family or even to strangers) made people feel happier and more cheerful.
That's news?

I know I feel happy getting gifts for my friends, but really... they had to do a study on this to prove it's true?
Isn't this just a universal truth whether you believe in the Bible or not?
Or do some people just feel the need for validation in their spending?

I find it a little too convenient that we're hearing about this now as those IRS refund and economy stimulus checks start coming out in the mail for everyone.

Just remember, nothing says 'love' like spending large amounts of money on others.
Now you can feel good about it too.

Mar 20, 2008

Yeah Totally, Sometimes

I can relate (as I'm sure a lot of you can as well) with the folks in this video.
Except that instead of computers... I'm envisioning people's heads.
Thank goodness the voices in my head keep telling me NOT to do it.

Thanks Dr. Zoltar for sending this my way!

*update* Hmmm... first time didn't work. Fixed the video so everything should be fine now.

Mar 19, 2008

Personal Shopper

Today went okay for the most part... until my boss left me hanging out to dry with a customer.
Yeah, good times at the office.

Aside from that, I met up with Senor Mysterioso himself... G-rod.
We drove up to the Comic Stop to get, what else? Comics. (if you were going to say "crack" you'd almost be correct)
Saw Technogreek and caught up on the latest, then went over to the mall to pay a bill and spend more money.

G & I went to Macy's so I could make a payment on my credit card and while we were there I wanted to look at a few new dress shirts and ties.
I should mention that my New Year's resolution to wear a tie at least once a week is still going strong. I was wearing one today, along with a nice dark blue shirt and black slacks.
I was looking sharp, if I might say.

So I'm standing there. Mixing and matching up ties and shirts and getting G's opinion when a woman came up to me and asked if I worked there.
I told her I didn't and she apologized.
She said, "I'm sorry to bother you. You just seemed to know what you were talking about and I thought you might be able to help me."
I told her if she had a question it would be no trouble to ask me. I might actually have an answer for her or could find someone who did. All I was doing was killing some time shopping.
She explained that she and her fiance were about to get married and she was looking for a particular type of shirt / pants / tie combination for him to wear.
The shirt she wanted to get needed to have French cuffs, but there weren't any to be found at Macy's in the style she was looking for.
I suggested she try Nordstrom's, and she said, "Yeah, they have them there. But with the pants, tie and vest it's over $400. I just can't afford that much."

I told her that if it were me, I would piece a few separate items together into one nice, whole outfit. Maybe get the shirt at Nordstrom's if they had what she wanted and find the pants, etc. elsewhwere. This seemed like a good idea to her also, so we went off to look for a pair of pants.

Shortly after that, I got a call from my buddy Dug who I'd been trying to contact before this Friday. (I'm off early, and we talked about meeting for lunch if that ever happened)
I turned around to see that the woman was back with a something in her arm and waiting to ask me another question. I got off the phone and she asked if I would mind looking to see if the pants she'd found would go with the vest she was holding.
The pants were black with a very fine, thin pinstripe but the vest was a solid black.
As she was holding them together, I just looked at it and my face kinda scrunched-up.
"It doesn't look right, does it?" she asked. "Mmmm... not really," I said.
She had mentioned that her husband worked in construction so I suggested that perhaps he would feel a bit overly-dressed by having a vest, since he's probably never dressed up like this before. He might be more comfortable in just the pants and a nice shirt and tie. She thought about it for a moment and said, "Yeah, I think you're right. He might think it's a bit too much."
"Do you think just a shirt and tie would be okay with these pants for him?" she asked.
I said based on what she'd told me about him, I thought he'd be more comfortable and still look very dapper if she went with that ensemble.

We went and looked at a few ties, and I found one that had a woven paisley print in black. When you moved, it caught the light just right and had a slight eggplant color to it (which happened to match the color in the trim of her dress).
She loved it and thanked me for being such a help.
I said it was no trouble at all and I'm glad I could offer assistance. Then I wished her congratulations and good luck for her wedding.

I also picked up a few more ties and even a nice, new copper-bottomed sauce pan to use in the kitchen. (They were having a really good clearance sale!)

When G and I were finished we took off to get my car so we could each head home.

Now I'm home and trying to wind down from the day's events.
We'll see what tomorrow brings....

Mar 18, 2008

Your Very Own Robot Servant

Just think, if you were handy at genetics and gene-manipulation and could graft skin onto it, plus if you were mechanically inclined and handy in robotics you could make your very own (*insert dream celebrity*) robot servant. Or love slave. Whichever.

It is pretty cool-looking, but I can think of much better ways to spend that kind of money.
Not to mention... where would I put the darn thing?

Mar 17, 2008

The Green Movement

A great article in the Seattle Times about organic and 'green' products on the market and the consumers who buy them.

Whoa! This's like my smallest post ever. So far....

Ballet Review

Saturday evening Hotness & I went to the ballet.
As I've mentioned before, we have season tickets so we go to whatever pieces are being offered for the season (with the exception of the Nutcracker).

This time it was another night of four separate performances under the title "Director's Choice".
No pictures to accompany this post this time, but I'll keep it short so I don't bore you.

The first performance was called "Sense Of Doubt".
It started off a bit slowly but built up momentum and my interest as the piece continued.
The costumes were very unique and I think added to the dancers moves and the music being played.
It's funny how that kind of stuff kind make a difference, but it does.

There was an intermission and then we had the second piece which was "Fur Alina".
From the program notes, this promised to be a sparse musical piece played on the piano for the dancers.
"Oh great," I thought, "Some 'plinky-plinky' piano music. This'll probably be b-o-r-i-n-g."
It actually surprised me and was quite good.
Well, the dancers were quite good anyway. The music was still rather.... eh, 'plinky-plinky'.

A brief pause and then the third piece we had was called "Vespers".
Performed by all female dancers it was meant to evoke the feeling of "urgency & restraint" (according the PNB website), like one would experience during prayers.
I thought this would be rather cool because of the way they described it, but turned out not to be all that exciting... in my opinion.
It received a very enthusiastic applause from the audience, so again, it's just my opinion. Obviously others at the performance felt differently.

Another intermission and then we had the last piece called "One Flat Thing, Repeated".
This is difficult to say whether I enjoyed it or not.
It was a very interesting piece, but I found myself asking "How does this qualify as ballet and not modern dance?"
It was very organized chaos on the stage.
In a nutshell, the dancers dragged out a bunch of tables and set them up equally spaced on the stage. (Table = 'one flat thing' / bunches of tables = 'reproduced'. See? It kinda makes sense after you've been going for a while like we have)
Then they proceeded to bend, stretch, twirl, jump and all manner of types of movement between, under, over and on top of the tables.
It was amazing to see, but as ballet... it wasn't.
And the music. Yeah, this was probably what kept me from really enjoying the piece all that much. It was very discordant and pounding with no real sense of rhythm.
If you know me, you know that I have a VERY broad sense of taste in music. There is little that I will not listen to. But this music definitely falls into the "nope, don't like it" category for me.
I guess I'm sort of a fuddy-duddy, but this just wasn't quite ballet for me.

I have to give credit to the artistic director, however.
He's taken some real chances with the Pacific NW Ballet and tried to appeal to different types of crowds.
While I don't always think that a particular performance is all that great, at least he took the chance to present it and let me make the decision. I've been quite surprised by some of the performances he's offered and each one gives me a deeper appreciation for the dancers' abilities.
We can't always have Swan Lake every year, after all.

That being said, the next performance will be "A Midsummer Night's Dream".
It's more in the classic style and is fantastic. I like it much better than the Nutcracker.
I'm telling you, if you ever want to experience a ballet AND have fun, this'll be it.

After the ballet, we went to Pompodoro for late dinner and then drove home.
Nothing spectacular to report. The food was great as always and I recommend you go there when you get a chance to.
Let me know what you think if you do. And tell them I sent you.
(They know us pretty well there. Just mention "The guy and his girlfriend who brought a bunch of people from a comic book convention". They'll know)

We tried to sleep in late the next morning, but it just didn't work.
The cat walked all over us until somebody finally got up to feed her.
Then Hotness had to go to the barn and tend to her horse while I went and played Heroclix with some friends for the day.

That's about it for the weekend.
Just pretty mellow and laid back.

Mar 15, 2008

Trailer Park

You know.... with the right kind of spin, you make make anything sound like something it isn't.

And let's not forget these "family classics"

Adventure Friday

Fistfights! Payday! Near-death collisions! Grilled cheese sandwiches!
With a day involving all of that, it's a wonder I lived to see this morning.

Yesterday started out just like any other day.
Get up, get ready and drive in to work. Answer phones all day and take orders. Blah blah blah....
But it was also payday (finally!) which came at just the right time, since I was out of money and needed to get my comics. It's convenient how that worked out.

During a lull in the day, I managed to post over on the Comic Stop Blog for the Friday Night Fights and get an entry mentioned on Bahlactus's site.
Then after work, I drove over to the Comic Stop to get my weekly dose of four-color crack.

On my way home.... wait. Let me back up a bit.
You know how I sometimes mention that Hotness & I live "way out in the woods"?
Without going into detail ('cause I don't need to post an open invitation to break into my home), we live about 8-10 miles outside a rural farming town. So when I say "out in the woods", it really is.
So, on my way home as I turned off the main road and took the winding road to get home I had to slam on my brakes to avoid hitting a deer that jumped down from the hillside and into the road in front of me. Luckily I missed him (or maybe it was her), but it just stood there for a moment looking at me. I looked around to try and find out where it came from and saw another one sliding down the hillside and on the road beside me.
I proceeded to drive off slowly and continue home.

I got about a mile-and-a-half away from the house when what should happen? ANOTHER deer leaped out in front of me!
This time it leaped over the guardrail from between some trees. SURPRISE!!!
*Screech!!* Go my brakes again and I missed hitting it.

Round the corner, turn at the fork in the road, go up the hill... and what should happen yet again?!?
No, not a deer this time.
A little black duck waddling across the road!
Luckily I was going uphill and was driving much slower than before, so it didn't take much to miss the little guy, but it was dusk and he was a black duck on an asphalt road so actually seeing him there was lucky. Otherwise he'd have been duck pate under my car.

I pulled into the parking area at our house and went inside.
Hotness was already home and I told her how the little forest critters were out to get me, then I started dinner.
Chicken noodle soup & grilled cheese sandwiches. Easy, quick, and filling. Yum!

Later, I got online to check my email and found out that I had the knockout punch for Friday Night Fights and won a hardcover edition of "Marvel Zombies: The Covers" from Bahlactus.
Awesome! Not bad for a first time try!
Then I did my taxes (Yay! I get money back!) and went to bed.

I bought a couple of lottery tickets, so hopefully my luck will hold out this weekend and I can change the name of this blog to "What's That MILLION DOLLAR Smell?"
Don't worry, I won't forget about all of you if it happens.
I'll just have even more interesting stories to talk about. Like almost hitting a herd of zebras with my car while rally racing in the Serengeti. .... It could happen!

Tonight, Hotness & I are going to the ballet.
A post-show review will be forthcoming.
Have a great weekend!

Mar 13, 2008

You Better Run

Even the World Wide Interweb knows the awesomeness that is.... CHUCK NORRIS!
See for yourself:

Mar 12, 2008

More on Mom's Birthday

As I mentioned I would do earlier, here I am with more birthday wishes for my mom.... and an embarrassing photo!

It dawned on me just yesterday that she's just turned 60. Six-oh.
The image I always have of her is in her 40's when I was a teenager, and she hasn't seemed to age any since then. (And I'm not just saying that. If you've ever met my mom, you wouldn't believe she's 60)

So here is the embarrassing picture:
That was taken at my graduation back in the late 80's.
Dig my awesome hair, and my brother is kickin' with his scrunched-up jacket sleeves.
And yes... our mom really is THAT short.

Among her many talents (one of them being an incredible cook... and the person whom I took after in the kitchen!) she is also a cake decorating instructor with many years of experience.

Last year, for the 5th aniversary of the Emerald City Comic Con she did a cake for the guests.

She designed, baked the layers and frosted it over at her place on the penninsula and then transported it over to Seattle during the show and put it all together.
It was a massive hit with everyone at the post dinner get-together.
She even copied the ECCC logo and made it into a frosting decoration!

During the show, I introduced her to several of the guests before the doors opened and then let her and her husband experience the convention while I attended to the guests.

She met Michel Gagne and he gave her an autographed book with a personal sketch.
She met Keith, (a.k.a. Gus F. Martin) from the self-published series "Crater On The Moon", of which I'm one of the characters in his book. (You should check it out. Seriously)
She met Kandrix & Laurie, self-publishers of the comic "A Monk's Tale" and the promoters for the Calgary Expo.
I introduced her to Terry & Robyn Moore, Brian Pulido and his wife, and many other guests from the show.
My mom, who has always supported my comic book habit, became a fangirl that day.
It was awesome.

Mom you rock! Thanks for being you and Happy Birthday!

It Ain't Mother's Day

But it is my mom's birthday today.
Happy Birthday mom!
And while she probably will never read this post (let alone this blog), I want her to know that I wish her all the best today and I hope she's enjoying it.
(I'll probably get online later this evening and give her a proper 'birthday-worthy' post, complete with embarrassing pictures!)

In other other news;
Hotness has been out of town the last three days on business. (Not far, though. She's still in the same state.)
She's coming home today, so I guess I should've cleaned up all the pizza boxes and beer cans from the living room before I left for work, huh? Ah well, at least she'll have a surprise when she opens the door, right?
(Just kidding! There are no pizza boxes or beer cans all over. Just porn DVDs. Sheesh! What kind of slob do you think I am?)

I'm glad she'll be back finally.
I never sleep well when she's gone, so I'm looking forward to getting a full night's RESTFUL sleep tonight.
Pretty pathetic, huh?

While I've been up late, I've been able to watch some movies:
A Night At The Roxbury
Ugh! Another SNL skit that should've been killed at birth.

Eh... I liked the story but I didn't like the CGI-enhanced actors. I think this would've been a much better film as live action (with CGI monsters).
... besides, who wants to see a naked CGI-version of Angelina Jolie? Real would've been much better. (Speaking of which, I need some 'alone time' now...)

Mar 10, 2008

Winter Camping.... Again

(Feeling a bit of insomnia so what better to do than blog about the weekend?)

As if camping in the snow and cold once already this year wasn't enough, a friend and I decided we'd do it again.

Actually, he had promised his daughter she could go last time, but due to a scheduling conflict she couldn't make it. With this being the last free weekend before spring, we planned a quick 'overnight' trip so she could experience winter camping and decide if it was something she'd like.
... which she did.

I got all my gear together on Thursday night and quickly packed the car in the morning on Friday before I left for work.
After the day was through, I high-tailed to my buddy's house to unload my car and load up his so we could carpool.
He was still getting his stuff ready, but that didn't take long.

After we got our stuff in the car, his daughter had to pack her things to go (coloring book, story books, crayons, etc...). Getting her ready to go is a lot like "cat herding" so this took a while.
We got her loaded into the car, made a couple of last minute grocery and liquor store stops, and a quick bite to eat then we were on our way.

It was alreay much later than we planned on getting out, so by the time we got to the campground it was almost 10:00 p.m.
We set up the tents, got our sleeping bags unrolled and shortly after getting his daughter tucked into bed, we sat around and drank some Rum and Coke before calling a night at 12:30 in the morning.

The weather was quite a bit warmer than the last time. Around the mid-30's.

Since it had warmed up some, the snow wasn't nearly as deep as it was when we were there last time. There was still plenty of it though.
There was a lot more humidity, however, with all the melting snow. And, the wind picked up and was blowing on Saturday so that even though it was warmer, we were still chilled to the bone.
Since we only planned for an overnight trip, we didn't bring firewood.

Our trip was cut short, as off in the distance it looked like the wind was blowing in some real nasty rain clouds.

We quickly packed up our gear, then hung around the campsite playing in the snow until we took off for home.

The evening was pretty uneventful and continued to be so into Sunday.
Hotness & I pretty much didn't do anything that day other than go to Lynnwood and see Brian then drive up to Everett to see Jim.

In talking to Jim, I found out more about events that'll be taking place up in Calgary when I get up there next month, which I'm excited to tell you about.... later.
I should probably wait until they actually happen before I talk about "what could happen" and jinx it for myself.
Suffice to say, I'll be taking A LOT of pictures when I'm up there!

Mar 5, 2008

Iron Man

Iron Man
May 2, 2008
Oh. Hell. Yes.

Full length trailer below:


Tonight I met up with my buddy G-rod.
It's new comic book day, so we went to the Comic Stop to pick up our latest issues. (BTW: "ECHO" came out today. You did get a copy, didn't you?)

Then we drove to Costco so he could get a few things.

While we were there, we saw that you can now buy caskets at Costco.
You know, why pay retail prices when you can get them for wholesale... and in bulk apparently?
I'm not kidding, check it out:

So besides that, I saw deodorant that is so strong it's more maximum than 'maximum strength'

Does this mean it's actually 15x stronger?

Mmmm.... hot dog lovin'

I hope they don't forget to use a 'condom-ent'.

Hey G, smile for the camera!

When we got done, he loaded his car and took off.

I needed to get some gas and if I get at least 10 gallons at Shell I can get a FREE collectible microfiber towel. Woo-woo.
Although, what makes it 'collectible' is up for debate, but whatever.
So I managed to squeeze just over 10 gals. into my car:

And got a tacky, brown microfiber towel to clean the inside of my car with.
(You actually get to choose between brown, red, or yellow. I guess your choice of colors is what makes them collectible.)

Yippee! A free towel!

Well, that was about the highlight of my day.
What can I say? It was pretty slow today.

You Call That A Small?!?

For lunch the other day I treated myself to Wendy's.
If I leave work right at noon, I can usually get there, order and get out and back to work in about 20 minutes. Pretty good for 'fast food'.

Anyway, I ordered the el Cheapo meal and a 5-piece chicken nuggets. I think my grand total was less than $4 altogether.
The meal came with a 'small' soda, but the cashier asked if I wanted to get a larger size.
"No thanks, a small will be fine," I said.

So she grabbed a 20 oz. cup and filled it up.
20 freaking ounces of soda! That's H-U-G-E!!!

No wonder Americans are fat and diabetic, we keep shovelling in the sugar like that and thinking "well, it's a small so I'm not having too much".

In just 20 years, portion sizes of food of increased radically along with obesity statistics.
See for yourself what portion sizes should be.
You can also take this test to see how portions have changed over the last 20 years.

I'd been trying to be good. I've been working out at the gym and was drinking water or tea at lunch, but thought "Eh, what the heck! I'll get a soda today."
Now I gotta work two-and-a-half times harder to make up for all the sugar I just put into my body.


Mar 2, 2008

The Fun Never Stops

I have awesome friends.

No really, I mean it.

Today I got to spend a good portion of my day with one of them running around Seattle again.
This time we hit a couple of different spots.
First up: The Seattle ComiCard Convention at Seattle Center.
(For those not 'in the know', this isn't related to the Emerald City Comic Convention)
Then off to find Kurt Cobain's grave. (Or as we found out... his "memorial")

It all started like this....
My friend Jim (a.k.a. Technogreek) has a cousin who has a friend who is a B-I-G Nirvana fan.
When this friend found out that Jim was from Seattle, he freaked-out and asked if it would be possible to get a picture of Kurt Cobain's grave to put up on his wall.
As Jim was relaying this to me, I mentioned that he might like to do a grave-rubbing as a gift as well. (As I had done it myself not long ago)
This sounded like a cool, yet creepy, thing to do so we planned to get together and do this when the weather was nice.

It turned out that today was going to work out to be that day, so he emailed me earlier in the week and we made plans to meet and take care of that.
Then, last evening (as Hotness and I were coming home from yesterday's events) I got a call from Jim saying, "Hey, how'd you like to meet earlier and go to the Seattle ComiCard Covention? I have to do some shmoozing for ECCC and I can get you in for free."
I didn't have to think twice about, so I said "Heck yeah!".

We got there before they opened the doors to the general public and he went to do his "thing" while I went to talk to a couple of the guests briefly.
One of them was Mike Grell, who is a close friend of my mom's husband.
The other was Roberta Gregory, who I was able to get a self-portrait sketch from to add to my collection.

We didn't stay long, as this wasn't in our original plans, so we left and grabbed a quick bite at Dick's (Washington landmark for burgers) and catch up with what's been happening with each other before going to Kurt Cobain's grave.

After searching around for where he was buried we found out that there isn't an actual grave for him, but rather a memorial bench in a park in Seattle.
Well, okay. So we'll make a rubbing of the plaque on the bench.
Um... no. Can't do that either.
It turns out that the bench is just that. A bench.
And not even a newly placed one in honor of the dead musician, but just a standard, old wooden bench that was already at the park.

Can you say LAME?

I can appreciate that the fans need some kind of object to bestow their gifts on, but it's actually kind of sad that it's nothing more than an old park bench with a bunch of graffiti on it.
It's hardly identifiable from any other park bench in Seattle.

We ended up taking a few pictures and calling it good, then headed back north to the Comic Stop so I could pick up my car.

When we got there, George and Paul were also there, so we hung around and talked for while.
Then Jim had to get home to get some work done and Paul went to go grab a late lunch, so they both left.
I stuck around and talked with George a little while longer, then figured I'd better get going home myself.

Hotness called and asked if I wanted to meet her in town and grab a bite to eat. Food sounded good (when doesn't it?), so I was going to meet her at a place in our neck of the woods called The Duvall Grill.
When I arrived there were more of our friends who were also there having something to eat, so we sat with them and had a great time talking and eating. (You'd think I was from an Italian family, wouldn't you?)

Now I'm home again. Relaying the events of today for anybody who's interested.
I want to say again that I have incredible friends.

In just two days I..
1) went to a museum
2) visited a toy store
3) stopped at a comic store (THREE times -THREE stores)
4) walked to Pike Place Market
5) met some comicbook professionals and got in free to a convention
6) visited a memorial for a dead rockstar
7) drove through the parking lot of the Greek Orthodox Church in Seattle

I hope you had as much fun as I did.
Fixed Kurt's name. Sorry.
Thanks Elwood.

Mar 1, 2008


Hey there! Happy March 1st!

Hotness & I began this month by joining Liz, G-rod and Kristi for a day of fun in and around Seattle again.
We met in Bellevue and had breakfast at Chace's Pancake Corral.
It was pretty good, but the place is popular so it was pretty packed.
We ate quickly and then left so we could get stated on our adventure for the day.
Here we are (from left to right: Liz, Kristi, G-rod, me and Hotness)
After that we headed into Seattle to go to the Seattle Art Museum for the Roman Art from the Louvre exhibit.

We kind of all took our time and viewed everything at our own pace, but the museum got packed very quickly and at times was difficult to navigate through. Eventually we sort of split up and I was the last one to make it through. (I like to read everything but I'm a slow reader and it takes even longer when people keep getting in front of you and blocking what you're looking at)

Everyone waited for me downstairs, but I kind of got lost trying to find my way out of the Roman exhibit and wandered around looking at some of the other stuff on display.

For example...
Some blown-glass sculptures of antlers and skulls:

and an original Roy Lichtenstein painting:

Eventually I found my way around and started to head towards the exit where I got a couple of other pictures of these cars that were hanging from the ceiling:

I met everyone outside and discovered that we had been at the museum for quite a while.
It was well past noon and so we decided to have some lunch before doing any more sightseeing.
We decided to have Mexican, which was kind of mediocre (we've had better, that's for sure) and then walked to Zanadu Comics. I wanted to pick up a couple of books, and I knew they'd have them. (Sure enough, they did)

From there we went to Pike Place Market to get some coffee (or at least Hotness & I did) and find a restroom. Not necessarily in that order.

We also checked-out a toy store called the Dragon's Toy Box, where I picked up a couple of new Smurf characters. (That still doesn't make me gay or anything)

The morning looked kind of gray and overcast, but when we got to Seattle it had cleared up and the sun was out.... until about now.
We left the toy store and went outside to walk back to the car and it started to rain.
Nay! It started to rain and hail on us. Terrific.

By now it was almost 5:00 p.m. and the sky was getting dark so we called it quits and all headed back home.

Hotness and I made a detour into Redmond to pop into the new Comic Stop location in Redmond Town Center.
We hadn't been into the new store since it opened so we popped in and said "hi" to Mike and also make use of their 'facilites' where we were introduced to "Evil Lynn".
I was so startled, I almost lost bladder control. Luckily I didn't and took this quick pic to capture my moment with her:

We got home, picked up the mail and got into PJ's to lounge around the house in.

Another 12-hour day filled with fun and friends.


A few more random pictures from today: