Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Snowed-In in Seattle (Sort-Of)

My office and much of downtown Seattle resembles a ghost town today. The school districts are all closed and many offices have closed-up due to a bit of snow and the related traffic nastiness. Seattle is quite hilly, and there has traditionally been maybe one or two snow plows for all of the surrounding county...when it snows a few inches here closures like this occur. I get all puffed with pride when this happens...it took several feet of snow to get a snow-day in Anchorage. I do have sympathy for the northern Seattle burbs, as they tend to get more snow than Seattle-proper (snow that sticks, that is)...

While contemplating snow days and anwering email messages I discovered this hilarious Onion bit. Perhaps I find it hilarious because it reminds me of me, or of who I don't want to be. So, I have blogged it for your amusement, consideration, identification, etc.:

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Operation: Love-Handle Obliteration

So, I have been moderately overweight for several years, probably at least since 1999, when I quit smoking one pack of tobacco cigarettes per day...this was also when I began to notice my fondness for sitting at the Buckaroo Tavern, Ileen's Sports Bar (replaced by Julia's on Broadway c. 2001, r.i.p.), etc., rolling through two or three pints/shots/cocktails, on average, with essentially no aerobic exercise. Indeed, I have probably not done much of anything close to regular aerobic exercise since my distant high school days (LWHS Class of '91).

I have had two cholesterol tests in twelve months. My total cholesterol is now above 280, alas. At age 33 I currently clock in at 182 lbs., so yeah, I am still moderately overweight, and I can no longer use the quitting-smoking story as an excuse for my 20 lb. friend that circles my belt-line.

So, I am going to run my ass off at
24 Hour Fitness for a while (my employer has a corporate membership there) and use FitDay to track my calorie intake. It is humbling to see how much goes in and how little I burn relative to it. All of this stuff is a bit of a shock: keeping a journal of my every movement, from walking up the stairs at my house to a cup of decaf that I make in the afternoon to a morning walk to my office from Jackson AVE S, will take some getting-used-to. It's cool, though...I look forward to my goal of 170 lbs. by May 1, 2007. We'll see if I can make it.

In totally unrelated news: I have not yet taken a photo of my Day of the Dead altar...a couple housemates of mine couldn't wait to eat the little chocolate skull that accompanied it, so the photo will lack said skull. I will remember to take a picture of the altar tonight. Also, I have been remiss in posting a couple last batches of wedding photos: I will get on that tonight as well. I hope that the weather is nice where you are, dear reader. The 98101 ZIP code is overcast and rain-soaked today...I don't mind it so much. It gives me an excuse to wear wool.

Con sincero,

P.S. Thanks for the comments!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Hello from a while ago...

I will make no excuses for not having posted in a while...true, I've been busy with conference calls and email-jockeying at CRAB, with music mixing for The Preons and songwriting with Sun Vow, but I haven't forgotten about you, blog audience! I will work to make my musings less frequent, ever-more scintillating and random as always.

Summer 2006 was a happy blur, with the wedding and honeymoon dominating much of it. Autumn has been pleasant enough...Kirsten and I have been feeling the urge to stay indoors, out of the wind and dampness of the past few weeks.

This time of year, every year, I get nostalgic for my Anchorage childhood, and particularly for the snow...by "the snow" I mean snow in my front and backyard, all over the street, everywhere. Many friends and acquaintances will give me a crazy look when I state that I miss such precipitation. I don't know how to describe it exactly...I enjoy the quietness that I remember, in
my little cul-de-sac East Anchorage neighborhood, when the streets were covered in snow, sometimes three feet of it. I miss the way that such weather would slow people down...I even miss freezing my nose off in -20F weather in downtown Anchorage, standing with my mom at the Fur Rendezvous parade. I've been away from all of this stuff for eighteen years now, and yet I can't help but miss it, especially around the holidays.

I came to hate this time of year after my mom died in '88, basically because I missed her. With eighteen years between me and her death I guess I've come to hate this season less...on that tangent: I have decided to celebrate
El Dia de los Muertos for the first time this year, to honor my late mother, Nereida. Day of the Dead is gaining more notoriety each year, or it seems to gain notoriety in Seattle, anyway...like a good computer geek I have looked up a wiki on how one might keep this holiday, heh. The first time I heard about this holiday was in seventh-grade Spanish class...indeed, we watched a filmstrip on Mexican history that featured a long segment on El Dia de los Muertos at the end. I marvelled at the sugar skulls, the little dioramas of skeleton mariachi bands, the colors of the displays...all of it looked great to me. I liked the ideas of celebrating life and death, of seeing death as a necessary component of life, as opposed to an inevitable flaw to suffer. I still like these ideas...so, I decided: What the hell? I will keep Day of the Dead this year. My altar and ofrenda will be modest: a copied photo of Nereida, a chocolate skull that Kirsten brought back from a recent trip to Chicago, a candle in a candelabra that a friend in San Antonio bought us for Christmas three years ago...maybe I'll post a picture of it for you, pageant audience, up on my Flickr page.

I have to get back to work, but I hope this little note finds you all well. Happy Day of the Dead to you!

Con sincero,

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

An Old Mix-Tape Obsession... (reposted from last.fm)

I lived in a house south-east of the University of Washington during the 1994-95 school year, in a punk rock house that we affectionately called The Goat House, with eleven roommates spread throughout the three floors of the house. The house was a crumbling fixer...some of us were UW students. Most of us were just friends, living on our own in Seattle for the first time. We were doing things you might expect: starting bands, booking shows in our basement/practice space, throwing loud parties in the living room, etc. Murder City Devils, Modest Mouse and Red Stars Theory, among others, came out of this place. The house had been a band house before us...I remember hearing rumors that an old Seattle punk band, The Scalywags, had lived there before us. A couple members of The Walkabouts lived next door, and were quite patient with all of our noise...

Anyway, I was a junior Creative Writing major at this point, and the Goat House was the first place I'd lived outside of a UW dorm or my parents' house. I was a habitual mix-tape maker, and I was obsessed with buying vinyl at Fallout Records, about a mile & a half south-west on Capitol Hill. I picked up a 12" copy of the Smitten Love Song Compilation there, maybe during the first month it was released. The lifelikeweeds track "The House Is Between The Porch And The Barbeque On Mouth Speed" became a huge obsession for me, probably for much of the rest of that year. I recorded it off the turntable on to some crappy cassette that we'd stolen out of the dumpster of some Muzak-like corporation on Capitol Hill (I can't recall their name now)...I had an alarm clock radio that had a cassette deck wired to the alarm. I made my roommates (one of whom was literally living in my closet at the time) sick to death of this tune, ha ha...

I like the images that the title suggests, of a small town or the "bad side" of a suburb, maybe some remote part of Anchorage, AK (my hometown until age 15). I have often wondered exactly what "mouth speed" is. The volume of the song's lyrics are low in the mix, and are mostly incomphrehensible. The drumming and guitar playing throughout feels lazy, stoned, but not altogether "depressed," to me. This is one of those songs that I'll hear in my head walking down the street, even if it has been years since I last spun up a disc or tape that it's on. I suppose someone might call it "soundtracky," and I suppose that soundtrack-like music is what I tend to dig. I was reading Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son a lot that school year...I still haven't gotten around to seeing the movie adaptation. I have often imagined this song in the soundtrack of the Jesus' Son adaptation in my head.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Audioblogging at the end of the honeymoon

At the end of this post is my first Audioblogger recording, from the shore at the Cape Disappointment National Park. I wanted to see if I could get my beat-up Nokia 6010's mic to pick up the surf for you, my beloved audience. Let me know if it sounds like much of anything...

Kirsten and I had a wonderful honeymoon in Seaview, WA this past week. We stayed at a little cottage and spent the week sunbathing, recovering from sunburns, keeping the mobile phones off most of the time, relaxing, etc. This Monday we'll both get back to the daily grind of our respective non-profits.

We will soon post more wedding pictures on my Flickr page, with a corresponding link from our wedding Web site. On the wedding tip, I must thank everyone who offered me cool suggestions! I tend to worry too much about how things might turn out, and planning the wedding reception's background music was an example of this. The music seemed to go over well, when it wasn't totally drowned out by conversation, which was most of the time. ;)

this is an audio post - click to play

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Generations of Sparks

The recent news about nuclear warfare has reminded me of my late paternal grandfather, who died during the 1980s and who served in the US Navy during World War II. I have wondered about what it would have been like to know him these days. I did meet him a couple of times: in the 1970s when I was two years old (I'll have to find that old picture of me sitting on his lap) and once when he and I visited Dad's rented house on Galer Street (across the street from the old West Queen Anne Elementary School, which was still a school then), on Seattle's Queen Anne Hill. I remember his droopy ears and his black-rimmed glasses.

Dad has told me a fair bit about Grandpa Talley. Grandpa was a Navy Chief, and a radio technician, or "spark." Dad would be called "sparky", as he was the son of a spark.

Grandpa Talley was on board the U.S.S. Dixie at "Operation: Crossroads", July 1 1946, which I guess would be 60 years ago this Saturday. Dad still has the letter that Grandpa sent him from the Bikini Atoll, where the Crossroads tests were conducted. Dad would have been a year old at the time that Grandpa wrote the letter...when Dad invites Kirsten and I over for dinner I will usually stop in Dad's office at least once, to look at old pictures of Dad's salmon and halibut catches, family photos and Grandpa's letter from the atoll.
With a bit of Googling on "operation crossroads" I stumbled on this story, at the Atomic Veterans History Project, by one Harold Bakke, who was a sailmaker on the Dixie. I wonder if he knew old Spark Talley.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Wedding Music 101

Indeed, Kirsten and I are getting married this July! The wedding is not so far away now, and we're making our final preparations...I have taken the lead on getting the ceremony and reception music together. My friends and band-mates from Sun Vow are going to play during the ceremony...while they work out their compositions I have tasked myself with the creation of a four-hour iTunes playlist, to loop in the background during the family reception over the PA at Talaris.

Kirsten and I have talked about music that I might select. She has suggested that I go with soul tunes, songs with mass appeal...for some reason, as I sit here and type this, I get totally intimidated by the idea of making this list. Once I sit down with some CDs and my old laptop this task will seem more "real" to me. Weird...

I generally listen to drone/machine noise music, to vicious heavy metal, all kinds of weird stuff. Now I have to wrap my head around making a list of songs that everyone will enjoy, that people can relax with while talking, eating, etc. Maybe some of the list should include dance music. Salsa music might work...people generally seem to like it, and half my family is Puerto Rican...ah, I'm a terrible dancer, but I have this feeling that I'm going to dance at the wedding, whether I like it or not! :) Kirsten and I have taken some salsa lessons, and I know she loves to move. I need to get over my drek and just get into it...

So comments are welcome...feel free to post lists of what you think would make cool "wedding music."

Thursday, June 15, 2006

"Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world..."

Yes, I have finally created a page with Blogger. Well, I had messed around a little bit with a MySpace blog, but I'd been curious about starting a blog somwhere other than MySpace for a while, and I've enjoyed reading my friends' Christine and Jennie's pages, so I thought I'd give this site a try.

This is now where you'll be able to find my random rants, complaints, caveats, love songs, lists of neat things, etc. I have also signed up with
Audioblogger, so you can enjoy my strange tenor voice...cheers!