Archive for November 2006


We’re braving the snow beast tonight to head to the Seattle Center to see Seattle Repertory Theater’s production of The Great Gatsby. It was a last-minute suggestion by a friend, whom we’re meeting there. It’s odd, but this will be our first visit to the Rep in years, and our first Seattle theater in the last year. Odd, because we’re members of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and have been engaging in week-long theater orgies in Ashland for the last 12 years. We spend that week being dazzled by live theater and promising ourselves to keep the momentum when the fall seasons start in Seattle, and somehow we never get it done.

Back in the late 80s/early 90s, we had ACT season tickets for several years, but encountered a particularly weak season and decided we’d bag the season tickets and cherry-pick from the various theaters instead. Predictably, we never saw anything ever again. I read Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby When I was about 25, and I don’t remember it making a great impression. Probably because I wasn’t old enough, and, as someone who didn’t yet own furniture, didn’t really comprehend the nuance of nouveau-riche angst. I won’t, then, be able to make a credible comparison of this production to Fitzgerald’s novel. Usually, though, when I see a movie based on a book, I try to divorce the two, and evaluate the movie as film and not as an attempt to recreate literature on film. I believe I’d rather approach this play the same way.

I’ll let you know.

Winter Illustrated

Carroll taunted me in comments for not having my camera along to document the snow-dusted palm tree, so I did a walkabout today in the few minutes of daylight allotted to us in this arctic latitude.

In a park near the house, I was startled to see a pair of golden delicious apple trees bereft of leaves, but with apples intact:

Click any photo to enlarge

Even though the sun had shone for most of the day, it did little to remedy some dicey driving opportunities on the residential streets:

Our local pseudo-Polynesian Trader-Vic clone restaurant, The Luau, seemed to figure, “if life deals you lemons, turn them into Lemon Drops“.  The tiki god or whatever looks a little underdressed, and wondering if REI can supply some down hula skirts:

And, finally, here’s the Christmas palm.  O Tannenpalm, O Tannenpalm:

Snow Way To Live

If you were watching the Seahawks-Packers game on MNF last night, you’ll know that the snow referenced in my Sunday post continued on Monday.  Actually, it started just before the evening commute, like 4:30, and the combination of that and the MNF traffic handed me a commute home from Redmond on the east side of Lake Washington that lasted almost 2 1/2 hours.

Once home, the aroma of turkey soup suggested persuasively that I skip my trip to the gym and hunker down with some comfort food, even though I’d skipped my scheduled session there Sunday.  A hopeful call to the gym to see if they’d closed early disclosed instead that they would be open as usual, so I bundled up in double-layers and gingerly trotted down there.

As I did so, conditions on the streets seemed to be worsening rapidly.  The so-called invisible “black ice” was all over, but especially on the streets.  I was amazed, however, by how many people were riding bicycles.  A gaggle of bikes, in fact, was parked outside the cheery-looking Latona Tavern.  The concept of “designated bicyclist” is hard to get my lobes around.

 Another sight that was a little jarring on the way home: a 3-ft palm tree strung with Christmas lights, its fronds weighed down by snow.

Missed Opportunity

I was shopping on Craigslist for a replacement computer for Mrs. Perils (which I procured - more about that later), when I came across this ad.  I’m not sure whether $489,000 is a record for a Craigslist listing or not:

PhotoSharing / PhotoBlogging Site for sale! $489,000
2551 members
34088 photos
and growing everyday

This is a fully developed Photo Sharing | Photo Blogging | Social Networking site that is feature rich and ready to be taken to the next level. With the superstar success of sites like YouTube, MySpace, FaceBook, Flickr, & Fotolog, _________ has a lot of similar features and is a great entry level to this market - especially when it comes to the ubiquity of digital cameras and the hot trend in online communities.

It is a SQL VB.Net development with great architecture and superior coding practices. All subscription payments are fully integrated with PayPal. The site is configured to display banner advertisements, we currently are not running ads.

The site is operated on a newer and very upgraded Dell server. Hardware and software are included in the sales price.

For a list of site features and membership prices (feel free to sign up and road test all the member functions): 
_________ is located in Santa Barbara, California.

Dang.  If I hadn’t opted for the wireless mouse and keyboard on Mrs. Perils’ machine, I’d have had just enough in my PayPal account to cover this purchase.  By Tuesday, I’d be flying in Google’s Boeing 767 corporate jet on my way to Mountain View to cash in on my billion-dollar payday, cuz they’d surely buy me instead of competing with me.  Now, it looks like my conservative instincts have screwed me.  I just never wanted to carry more than half a million in the PayPal account at one time - I’m all about limiting my exposure to identity theft.

I’m sure someone will have snapped it up by Monday.

A Veritable Blizzard

Just as we get a break in our social life (someone has actually invited us to dinner), the weather threatens to nix it. We’re goin’ anyway. Film now, news at 11.>/p>

And here’s little video of snow falling in the yard, threatening to cover our garden sphinx, who is demurely covering the breasts she flaunts exuberantly in the spring. Behind the sweet little soundtrack (from the Winter Light album by the 70s group Oregon), you can hear the swish and gurgle of the snow falling, and melting.

Click to play video (4.1 mb)

Next Victim

Rip Van Winkle here. I’ll quickly recap last weekend and move on to current events.  That was a very satisfying victory over UM.  It’s hard to believe how many points were scored by both teams (81) against what were considered a couple of the top defenses in the country.  Well, I certainly don’t want to have to play them again in the National championship game, and, with USC’s win over ND, it looks likely we’ll be trying to burst the Trojans’….bubble in January.

The weekend at my brother’s was relaxing and convivial.  I think it’s remarkable that we end up seeing each other 3-4 times a year, living as far apart as we do, and that we’ve grown to like each other as we have.  The weather pitched in again this year - highs during the day were 65 - 70F, although it got very chilly at night.  For that, we had the fire pit, and some finely crafted beers from our Atlanta contingent.

One sort of flawed strategy that could have doomed the entire day if the sports gods had been paying the least bit of attention: my youngest brother, 10 years my junior and a fellow OSU marching band alum, goaded me into bringing my trumpet down.  This wasn’t a trivial request, since it meant schlepping it once again through the Seattle and Detroit airports (as I did in September to play in the alumni band game) as carry-on luggage, since I would be loath to check it as baggage.  On Saturday afternoon, leading up to game time, we dragged them out.  If you’re strong of stomach, or deaf, here’s a short film clip of our endeavor.  Please keep in mind that the moment captured here is literally the first time the horn has touched my lips since Labor Day weekend:

Click any picture on the page to enlarge

Click to play video (3 mb)

Despite the inauspicious start, it was a great party.  We had 3 TVs hooked up to my brother’s satellite dish, so that no matter which way you had to turn to either grab a beer or open one, you wouldn’t miss any of the game action.  Even when it was causing looks of concern:

With the game in hand, we got down to real business.  My Charleston brother and sister-in-law had significantly widened and improved the fire pit in his field, and we roasted 80 pounds of oysters and boiled/grilled lobsters that another guest had sent.

These 3 seem to have been caught, Pompeii-like, in the midst of some Roman bit of dissolution:

After dinner, we stoked the fire against the icy November tendrils of air

Until not even our scintillating conversation could hold everyone’s interest.

Just so you don’t think that all we did was drink beer, gorge ourselves on unfortunate shellfish, and watch football, we got out for several nice walks around my brother’s ‘hood, a mixture of farms and rural residences.  One disappointment down by my brother’s pond was the no-show by his (now pet) largemouth bass, Shamu. Apparently the fish in his pond have entered a period of inactivity, and they didn’t even surface when food pellets were scattered.

As much as I love ‘em, it’s always good to get back home to Seattle.  I always try to sit on the right side of my Seattle-bound flights, just in case we make a “bad-weather” approach from the north, and I can get the “money shot” view of downtown and, every now and then, my neighborhood as we descend.  Reliably, for this time of year and especially for this wettest of Novembers, we turned for the airport just a couple miles north of the house. 


My ‘hood

Lake Union

Downtown Seattle

Tailgate Tails

I’m at my brother’s place in Charleston, SC - here with my brothers, their wives and my mom to again roast oysters and watch the Ohio State-Michigan game, something we seem to be making a tradition. Here’s my post on last year’s meetup. It seems the game has taken on mythical qualities this year, as OSU is ranked #1 and Michigan #2, and ESPN is flogging it 24/7. Adding to the mix of hype and over-exposure was the death yesterday of former long-time Michigan coach Bo Schembechler, a day after he’d spoken to the team. Bo and Woody Hayes were chiefly responsible for “branding” the rivalry, spending most of the 70s throwing lightning bolts back and forth at each other and devising all manner of psychological ploys to get their teams ready for the game. Hayes used to slit the stitches on his baseball cap so that he could rip it to pieces at a strategic point in practice. Against that backdrop, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Bo has staged his passing, and they’ll resurrect him in the locker room at halftime.
The timing of Bo’s death also couldn’t have been worse for this Columbus punk-rock band called The Dead Schembechlers. They’ve been trading on an arch and clever parody of the animus of the rivalry, and had a major on-campus performance scheduled for Friday night. They announced yesterday that it would be their last performance under that name, and they’re donating the proceeds to a charity of the Schembechler family’s choosing.
Well, kickoff’s only 5 hours away now, and I’ve got to get my game face on. I’m sure I’ll have some photos to share later.

Phriday Phun

Flying home from Milwaukee tonight, but not before my sense of humor wins yet another convert:

Early And Often

Well, that was satisfying but, oddly, I didn’t feel a surge of euphoria, didn’t feel compelled to gloat and go all Terrell Owens.  Maybe it’s because I’m working this week in Milwaukee and, although the state tends to have a blue tinge, the folks I’m around here pretty much don’t, so it would have been a lonely little party.

I remember, though, working with another client group the Wednesday morning after the 2004 election, the sadness weighing on my chest like pleurisy, and having to sit through their smug smiling and repeating, “It’s a great day in America!”  And I had a target-rich environment here, where a fragment of a phone conversation wafted out of someone’s office Tuesday, “..where are we going to move if Nancy Pelosi becomes Speaker of the House?”  Although he was joking, it was oddly reminiscent of the pouting from the left in 2004 about moving to Canada.

However, we’ve done no more with this election than stop a careening 18-wheeler by bumping it fortuitously into one of those runaway truck lanes we get every two years, having badly missed the last three.  We’re stopped, but we’ve all got whiplash and the cargo has lost much of its merchantability.  This respite may be exceedingly brief if we don’t act, before the insurance adjustors, creditors and auctioneers show up, to articulate an alternate reality, one that can inspire those who changed their voting patterns in disgust or protest to participate in a new business plan.

In order to accomplish this, we need a plan, first of all.  As I was considering this, I remembered what I thought was a great manifesto for how to rebuild trust and confidence in a progressive agenda penned by Rob at Emphasis Added in the ashes of the 2004 election.  In that post, he doesn’t simply splutter rage at the Bush administration - he outlines the shortcomings, some of them systemic and perhaps intractable, in previous periods of liberal ascendancy, and begins to suggest how they may be ameliorated.  The following excerpt makes a terrific overall mission statement to build on:

So what is the liberal agenda? Briefly stated, it’s the belief in the affirmative power of government to provide for the common good, in the rights of all Americans to participate fully in society, in cultural expression, and in international cooperation as a way of solving conflicts, with force as a last resort. I firmly believe that the march toward fulfillment of this agenda and America’s embrace of these ideals from 1933-1980, and again during the Clinton years, contributed directly to America’s rise to global prominence.

While I think it’s hard to connect the dots between Carter and Clinton without at least mentioning the Reagan years, I’ll leave it for a different discussion.  We need to patiently deconstruct the straw men that people have been trained to fear in a progressive vision, and find ways to articulate it and execute it.  There’s a lot of work to do, and not a lot of time to lose in happy-dancing.

Like I’m So Prolific Here…

OK, the cat’s partially out of the bag - I’ve been two-timing you.  I’m sort of dabbling with a reader blog on the Seattle P-I with my neighborhood as a nominal topic.  You can find it here - I put a new post up last night.  I’m not sure how far I’ll carry on with it, but the idea sort of interested me, and we do so much dorking around in our neighborhood that I don’t think non-Seattle people find meaningful or interesting.  I want you to know that it’s only a flirtation and that I’ll always return to you.  I’m sure that’s a comfort.

I’ll be back tonight with an election day post if I can stomach the results.