Sunday, December 02, 2007

Rudy Giuliani as Beowulf

Last night, some friends and I watched Beowulf in IMAX 3D. The plot of the movie is notably different than the epic poem we read in high school. Looking at some of the traits of the warrior in this new interpretation, I notice several coincidental and amusing parallels between the flawed heroics of Beowulf and the flailings of present day Rudy Giuliani.

The evidence:

[Spoiler alert - you may want to stop reading if you plan to see Beowulf]

A public mistress
While Beowulf remains married to Queen Wealtheow, in the later parts of the story, he favors the younger Ursula.
Rudy carried on a relationship with his now wife Judith Nathan while still married to and living with Donna Hanover.

A willingness to embrace the enemy for personal gain
In the movie version, after Beowulf defeats Grendel, he seeks to destroy Grendel's Mother. Beowulf instead sleeps with Grendel's Mother, who promises him riches and power in exchange for siring another child. He allows himself to be seduced, and together they conceive the dragon, a super beast far worse then the original pest Grendel.

From the linked article:
The contradictory and stunning reality is that Giuliani Partners, the consulting company that has made Giuliani rich, feasts at the Qatar trough, doing business with the ministry run by the very member of the royal family identified in news and government reports as having concealed KSM [Khalid Sheikh Muhammad],—the terrorist mastermind who wired funds from Qatar to his nephew Ramzi Yousef prior to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and who also sold the idea of a plane attack on the towers to Osama bin Laden—on his Qatar farm in the mid-1990s.

A reputation based on exaggerated heroism
After not slaying Grendel's mother, Beowulf returns and recounts the loaded and boastful tale of how he killed the beast and saved the day. He ascends to the throne, and allows his people to immortalize him with the epic Song of Beowulf, which retells his heroic Grendel- and Grendel-mother-slaying.

Rudy has relentlessly portrayed himself as America's Mayor, running on the platform of his leadership on 9/11. Joe Biden sums it up pretty well when he observes "Rudy Giuliani, there's only three things he mentions in a sentence — a noun and a verb and 9/11"

So what's behind this supposed leadership?
  • Giuliani is blamed by many in the FDNY for screwing up the situation with their radio communications equipment before 9/11.
  • In 1999, Giuliani insisted that the new Emergency Operations Center be housed in the World Trade Center itself, despite the fact that the complex was one of the most likely sites of a terrorist attack, and it was directly across the street from where terrorists had struck in 1993.
  • Giuliani was an original member of the ten-person bipartisan Iraq Study Group, but never attended any of its meetings. He was out cashing in as a paid public speaker instead. The chairmen of the Iraq Study Group, former Secretary of State James Baker and former Representative Lee Hamilton, had to give Rudy the ultimatum "either show up for meetings or leave the group."
I tried to draw parallels between respective sidekicks Wiglaf and Bernie Kerik, but the well came up dry.

While I haven't decided who I will support in the 2008 presidential election, you can bet your bones it will not be Rudy Giuliani.


New Zune owner Eliot asked me last night which podcasts I listen to.  Here's the answer, shared for the greater good.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I couldn't resist

Chat Information Welcome to's Customer Service Live Chat! You will be joined with a chat representative as quickly as possible. (Less than 2 minutes)
Chat InformationWelcome to Customer Service, you are now chatting with Brynn.
Brynn: Thanks for visiting, this is Brynn. How can I help you?
you: I'm writing with regard to an order I placed a week ago
Brynn: To help you better, please let me know your concern.
you: Sure. The order number is 60*******.
you: According to the Overstock site, it was shipped on Nov. 21
you: I contacted DHL, and they indicated that the vendor, Wholesale Interiors, never delivered a package to them.
Brynn: I'm sorry to know that, however, I'll check this for you.
Brynn: For security purposes, can you please verify the name and billing address on the account?
you: Thank you
you: Sage Kitamorn
you: ******
you: Seattle, WA 98101
Brynn: Are you referring to the "Jarcy Full-leather Espresso Storage Cube Ottoman"?
you: That is correct
Brynn: Sage, thank you for confirming the item and verification.
Brynn: After reviewing your account, I see that the item was shipped out on 11/21/2007 via the DHL and it is currently in transit to you.
Brynn: Under the general shipping option, you can expect your order to be delivered to you within 10 business days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays) from the order date.
Brynn: However, the tracking has not been updaetd.
Brynn: I'll immediately contact our Specialized Representatives regarding this.
you: I called DHL ...
you: thanks
Brynn: They'll check and get back to you within 1 to 2 business days via email or phone with the updated information.
Brynn: Is there anything else I can help you with?
you: Do you type each message you send, or do you have macros for common phrases?
Brynn: We do have a shortcut keys for responses and we type as well.
you: I only ask because you are able to respond rather quickly with well-formed responses.
Brynn: Thank you.
you: Thanks for entertaining my curiousity.
Brynn: Would there be anything else I can help you with?
you: No other business concerns. I look forward to hearning from the representative regarding my shipment.
Brynn: Thanks so much for shopping with . Have a pleasant night.
you: You're welcome, and good night.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanks, iTunes. 'Preciate it.

A few days ago, I noticed that I was almost out of diskspace on my 110 GB "sage" partition. I wasn't totally surprised, since I do take a lot of pictures, and my new download habits with my all-you-can-eat Zune Pass subscription was sure to be responsible.

I don't have a Zune, but I'm switching to the newly released software Zune software since it a generational leap ahead of iTunes. As part of the switch, I was transferring my podcast subscrptions. Lo and behold, look what I found...


Looks like iTunes has been creating a temp file several times a day, 11 MB-19 MB each, for a total of 1641 files and 17.2 GB. And what for? The typical usage pattern is that the file is written, read once two hours later, and then never again.

iTunes says these are safe to delete, but it doesn't excuse the fact that it keeps "temp" files that are years old.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Bald Eagles

Conservapedia. For a site created to be a pro-American and pro-Conservative alternative to Wikipedia, I would expect a decent article for bald eagle.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cecks and Balances

Two topics in this post.
Topic 1: A week ago today, I got pulled over.  It was the first I've been stopped in over seven years.  I got a ticket.
Topic 2: Today I wrote my ninth check since moving to Seattle.  I've had this checking account since February 2005.  With electronic bill pay and credit cards, there are very few reasons to write checks.  So few, I can enumerate them:

Check  Date                Purpose


100      Oct 20, 2005   Title and License fee for my Honda Civic    

101      Jun 8, 2006      Payment to a friend who paid for a group whitewater rafting trip

102      Sep 12, 2006   Small balance owed in rent payment to my apartment

103      Nov 21, 2006    Passport renewal fee

104      Jan 20, 2007    Down payment for my new car

105      Apr 18, 2007    Gas money owed to a friend who paid when my card wouldn't swipe

106      May 22, 2007  Payment to a friend for drinks on the links fee

107      July 2, 2007     Magazine subscription

108       Nov 19, 2007    Payment to my lawyer who is contesting my traffic ticket J


Making Over My Office

Last week, I decided it was time to start "personalizing" my office. Here's what it looks like after one weekend of work.

Later phases will add a small ottoman, some speakers, and art in lieu of the whiteboard above the couch.

This is the back half of the office. See the front half here.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Romeo and Maria

This morning I was driving to Redmond and rocking out to Tchaikovsky.  I was listening to the Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture, which you probably know from the incredibly famous love theme . 


There's a part near the very end of the twenty-minute piece  that caught my attention.    


Listen to the low strings in this clip.  


Sound familiar? 


There's a place for us ...


Is this a coincidence?  Or is Bernstein quoting Tchaikovsky?  West Side Story is itself inspired by Romeo and Juliet.   It seems equally plausible that the score from the musical also pays homage to its forbearers.


The placement of these segments within their pieces is very similar as well.  Musically, in the Overture, it's pretty clear that this part come after the lovers are dead (or at least Romeo).  In West Side Story, Somewhere is sung by the living Tony and Maria, but the theme reprised again in the Finale after Tony is shot. 


 I think this is intentional, but I can't find proof.   (While searching, I did find this cool NPR story, though.)  What do you think?


Previous musical scavenger hunt posts:

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Daylight Saving Time

So much for having more daylight ... Seattle's northern latitude, plus the fact that we set our clocks back, means that the sun will set tonight at 4:47 PM.
It will keep getting worse until December 21, the day the sun sets at 4:20 PM.
But it does balance out.  There is always that great time in June to look forward to, when we have nearly 16 hours of daylight and a special parade to celebrate the sun.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The best-tasting things I've put in my mouth

This is in response to Kayla's post on my Facebook Wall:

A few weeks ago when describing some food I said, "This is one of the best-tasting things I've ever put in my mouth." And then I thought about how you might think that was funny and that I should tell you. but I didn't remember to tell you until just now. And also I'm in the process of compiling a list of the best-tasting things I've put in my mouth. If your list wouldn't be too extensive, perhaps you should compile one as well. so far mine only has a handful of dishes.

So here you go, "The best-tasting things I've put in my mouth"

Opah with Cucumber Macadamia Nut Relish
Opah fillet is flash-seared with Thai chili, yellow curry and lemon grass, served on sticky rice with sweet chili sauce and cucumber-macadamia nut relish. 
From Seastar in Bellevue.

Crispy Garlic Chicken (King's Favorite)
Stir-fried crispy chicken in a rich garlic sauce and served on a bed of crispy basil. 
From Chantanee in Bellevue.

'Cheap Dates'
Medjoohl dates wrapped in bacon, grilled eggplant, red onion
Bistec a la Parilla
Grilled beef tenderloin, black bean pate, Yukon Gold potatoes, truffle jus
From Tango in Seattle

Tamales de Mole' Negro
Black mole' with your choice of chicken or pork, wrapped in a banana leaf
La Carta de Oaxaca in Ballard:

Two Meat Plate
With brisket and dark meat chicken.  Green bean casserole and peach cobbler for sides.
From Pok-e-Jo's in Austin

Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings
Made only for special occasions
From my Mom's kitchen in Round Rock

Chicken Chipotle Chile Rellenos
Made by me

Monday, September 17, 2007

Seems to Me

It feels like this song has been trying to find me. Last week it was on the radio in a friend's car while we were driving home. Last night it was playing outside of Ralph's Grocery and Deli as I walked to meet Stephen downtown for dinner.

Today I read the full lyrics and it's surprising how well it fits for whats been going on lately.

Walk Away by the James Gang

Plus you can't deny- this is a pretty kickin' video.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Speakers: This is what they look like

A picture may say a thousand words, but it will not give you any idea what these works of art sound like.

I'll have to have some kind of listening party soon.

(This is not my living room.)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Speaker Shopping Playlist

If I were going to make a CD to take with me speaker shopping, this is what I would put on it.

Dave Matthews Band - #41
Breakestra - Stand Up!
The Betales - Blackbird/Yesterday (from LOVE)
KT Tunstall - Silent Sea
Paul Simon - Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
Frank Zappa - Montana
The Good Life - Lovers Need Lawyers
Cake - Comfort Eagle
Toadies - Away
Beethoven - Symphony No. 9, Choral, 2nd Movement
Rossini - William Tell Overture

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Today I got a piece of semi-spam at work.  The hilarious part was this disclaimer at the bottom, especially the ominous first sentence. 
Important - This email and any attachments may be confidential. If received in error, please contact us and delete all copies. Before opening or using attachments check them for viruses and defects. Regardless of any loss, damage or consequence, whether caused by the negligence of the sender or not, resulting directly or indirectly from the use of any attached files our liability is limited to resupplying any affected attachments. Any representations or opinions expressed are those of the individual sender, and not necessarily those of [name of organization removed to protect their confidentiality].

Monday, August 20, 2007

Organizing mp3s

I'm thinking about once-and-for-all cleaning up all of my mp3s.  The scope of the task:
  • Half of my music is ripped from CDs.  These are very well tagged and organized. 
  • And then there's the 6,700 "acuired" mp3s dating back to the days of original Napster.  Most of these live in an "unsorted" directory, with horrible metadata, inconsistent naming, tons of duplicates, and the occasional poor quality rip.  I would like to get these in shape. 
Does anyone have any experience doing this, or have a recommendation for a good piece of software that can help automate the process?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Posting to Blogger from Word

Hi Imma,

Posting to Blogger from Word has been a challenge. I really love writing in Word, especially the 2007 version. It sure beats Blogger’s online editor.

There are three things I do a lot, and only one of them works:

1. Write a new post. This one works. The best I can do to answer your question is to show you a screen clip of the settings I use to connect to Blogger. I didn’t have to do anything special beyond this.

2. Post pictures. This fails. I can’t tell if it’s because of a bug between Word and Blogger or because of my ftp site or settings.

3. Edit an existing post. Doesn’t work. This was what my original blog post was about.

Since the Word->Blogger posting has been so inconsistent, I usually post to my blog via email. One of the settings in blogger is to create a special email address to which you can send posts, and they will automatically be posted to your blog. I usually send from gmail in the web browser, but to get the full functionality of Microsoft Office Word editing, you could write the email in Outlook, which is what I’m doing now. I’ll try to post this email to my blog as well to see how well it shows up. My guess is that it will look fine, except the picture will be too large.

Good luck,

[edit: The original post of this image (from email) failed. I had to go back in through Blogger's online editor to re-upload it.]

Picture Posted from Word?

I remember from some past posts that I had trouble with inline pictures when posting to Blogger from Word 2007. If you see Jennifer below, it works.

For those of you not on Facebook, this picture is from yesterday's lovely Saturday afternoon.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Musical Scavenger Hunt

A few weeks ago, I happened upon an outdoor concert at Volunteer Park.  Between bands, they played some classic rock, including The Door's song L.A. Woman.  Even though I was concentrating on reading my book, I had one ear tuned to the paino solo, which I have probably heard forty six times before.   
On this Sunday, hearing this solo was like finding the prize on the bottom of the cereal box.  This little gem is hidden at the 21-second mark of the clip (2:55 if you have the full song), and is only two measures long.  Do you know what that's from?
Probably not.  If you do, let me know so I can shower you with accolades.  If you're curious to know, click for the answer
After I came home and listened to both songs, I still needed to confirm that this was a really a quote and not just a coincidence.  A quick search for both song titles returned a second opinion, so I'm glad to know I'm not alone in noticing this. 
Looking at the Pandora music genome project's features of this song (not L.A. Woman, the song whcih is quoted), it's no wonder it is one of favorites:
great musicianship
acoustic sonority
demanding instrumental part writing
a busy horn section
a vocal-centric aesthetic
a clear focus on recording studio production
electric rhythm guitars
prominent percussion
humorous lyrics
vocal harmonies
intricate arranging
Any song with all of these qualities is guaranteed to be awesome. 

Friday, June 29, 2007

Life Balance

One of the great things about working at Micrososft is that work/life balance is measured and considered a metric of health for a group. In the last few weeks, I had the opportunity to discuss with my manager "how do I measure work/life balance" in an effort to get an individual understanding and work toward improving the balance.

My answer included these two measurable quantities (among other things):
1. At what rate am I finishing books?
2. Am I cooking for myself more than I am eating out?

Now that I have defined these metrics, and I am paying attention to my own progress, I consciously try to fulfill them.

Sicne I started counting, I've finished about one-and-a-half books. This is enabled by the fact that I started taking the bus to work about 80% of the time four weeks ago. (The other 20% is split between carpooling and driving alone.) Riding the bus is great. It gives me back about an hour-and-a-half that I would otherwise not have in my day. I love driving, but not in traffic. Walking to and from the bbus stops also gives me a nice chance to be outside.

Today, I also cooked a healthy, quick meal for myself. I thought it was tasty, so I'll share it with you. This was partly inspired by a recipe on Everyday Italian with Giada DeLaurentiis.

  • Whole wheat penne
  • Fresh baby spinach
  • Red pepper, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Basil (dried), Garlic powder, S+P
  • Tuna
  • Parmesean
  • Fresh Mozzerella
Cook the pasta according to the directions. Drain it and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a skillet. Use extra because this becomes the sauce.
Saute the peppers until they're soft, then add the spinach and cook it until it gets limp.
Add the tuna and and all seasonings, mix well
Add the pasta to the skillet and stir together
Add parmesean and mix to melt

Serve topped with slices of fresh mozzerella.

This dish comes out very colorful with the green spinach and red peppers. If I were to do it again, I would use fresh everything, Then again, the beauty of this dish is that it can be made with mostly pantry ingredients. I would definitely use fresh garlic (I was already in the checkout line yesterday when I remembered garlic). Fresh basil would completely change the flavor, but can't you just imagine how delicious a bite with basil, red pepper and fresh mozzerella would be?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

24 Facts about Sage

Inspired by Erin Dean's "26 Facts about Erin", I've compiled 24 Facts about Sage.

1. I organize my clothes by type of collar.

2. For exactly the same reason as Erin's second fact, I have not bought a polo shirt since 2004. [edit] I looked into my closet and realized that was false.

3. When Erin ate my pizza, I felt closer to her.

4. Why I started riding the bus to work …

  • 70% - Time to Read!
  • 20% - I get exercise by walking uphill to the bus stop on 4th Ave
  • 6% - I'm on track to exceed my 10,000 mile/year lease
  • 4% - Al Gore and polar bears

5. Whenever I write a grocery list, I intentionally misspell "serial" and laugh quietly to myself

6. I have five years worth of saved IM conversations.

7. I enjoy hanging out in Steinbrueck Park because it is also popular with tourists, homeless people, weirdoes and drug dealers.

8. I can taste the difference between Starbucks, Seattle's Best and Tully's coffee.

9. Since high school, I have read exactly one fiction book.

10. I have enumerated the shortcomings in the user interface design of my car.

11. I have won a pie eating contest.

12. My college roommate Brendan and I once took our laundry quarters and bought 42 bouncy balls from a prize machine … one each for every person riding the trombone bus.

13. I built a flame throwing trombone with my friend Will.

14. In elementary school, I would skip recess once a week to go to the library and play Geo Jeopardy.

15. I really only cook for other people, rarely for myself.

16. After I'm done watching a movie, I usually can't recall the character's names.

17. I think it's really adorable when girls sit cross-legged in the front passenger seat of my car.

18. I lived in New York for 11 years 2 months, Texas for 11 years 2 months, and Seattle for 2 years 3 months

19. Double Fact: Watching SuperSize Me made me crave a Big Mac. I eat at McDonalds approximately twice per year.

20. I feel personally responsible every time my team does not sweep the music category at trivia night.

21. My favorite art in my apartment are two paintings that I bought from the artist on the side of the road.

22. I am very good at whistling.

23. My best job ever (and worst-paying) was being a Longhorn Music Camp counselor.

24. I still see "adults" as a different category of people.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Kids these days...

(BELLEVUE , WA) Nude driver cited for drinking and 'embracing' while driving

The incident happened when a state trooper noticed a sport utility vehicle drifting between lanes and driving at unusual speeds, sometimes speeding up then slowing down to well below the speed limit on Interstate 90, near Bellevue Way, about 1:20 a.m. Friday.

When the trooper stopped the vehicle, he noticed the 19-year-old driver and a 20-year-old female passenger were naked, according to a state patrol news release. The woman began hiding alcohol containers and put on a shirt but the driver, from Seattle, made no efforts to cover up.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has some even better quotes:

"There were some acts of physical intimacy going on in the vehicle that were best saved for not driving down the freeway," [State Trooper Jeff] Merrill said.


"We don't see it very often," Merrill said of nude driving.

"We harp on the fact that being impaired is so dangerous, but being distracted is equally as dangerous. I can't think of anything more distracting than this."


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

To Burgle

I learned today that burglary does not necessarily imply theft. It's one of those things that I had assumed from when I was a child (see: Hamburglar).

Well, as it turns out, burglary is just the act of illegally entering with the intent to commit some crime.

Come to think of it, I kind of already knew the difference. What would you yell if you are awakend in the night by an intruder? "Ack, burglar!" But what if you were to come home to catch someone fleeing from your house? "Stop, thief!"

The fact that burlary requires the combination of the intent to commit any other felony brings to mind some interesting combinations that have nothing to do with theft:

  • Burglary + Treason ... Break into a Kinko's at night in order to use their fax machine to send nuclear weapons plans to the Iranians.


  • Burglary + Obstruction of Justice ... Two witnesses meet in an abandoned warehouse to corroborate testimony over improper firings of US Attorneys
  • Burglary + Violating the Engangered Species Act ... While running away Fish and Wildlife agents, break the window of a parked car and discard the sea turtle eggs which you have heen carrying

Monday, June 11, 2007

Colin Powell on Meet the Press

"If it was up to me, I would close Guantanamo no tomorrow, but this afternoon. I would close it. And I would not let any of those people go. I would simply move them to the United States and put them into our federal legal system. The concern was 'well, then they'll have access to lawyers, then they'll have access to writs of habeas corpus', so what? Let them. Isn't that what our system is all about?
"And by the way, America, unfortunately, has two million people in jail, all of whom had lawyers and access to writs of habeas corpus. And so we can handle bad people in our system.

Check out this clip and the rest of the interview on

Friday, June 08, 2007

Quick Poll: Where do you read my blog?

a) Facebook
d) Some other RSS reader: ____________
e) I don't read your blog, but I'll leave a comment anyway just to be explicit.
Pleae leave a comment with your answer.
Why?  I kind of want to revamp my personal website, but I want to know if anyone ever actually goes there.  Maybe that time would be better invested making Facebook applications instead.

Where is my mind = Tyler

I just realized that Tyler by the Toadies is essentially the same song as Where is My Mind by The Pixies. 
I was walking back from lunch humming Tyler, and by the time I got back to my office, it had morphed into Where is My Mind.  I mentioned it to Brian, and he was like, "dude, the Toadies even admitted that a long time ago.  They were huge fans of the Pixies."

Thursday, May 24, 2007


I was talking with a coworker earlier today, and he mentioned "I hardly ever get downtown anymore."  I almost said, Maybe I could watch your (baby) son one day, so you can go out, but I realized immediately that I have no idea how to take care of a baby. 
For example, here are just the things that I know that I do not know:
  1. How to hold a baby
  2. How to change a baby
  3. How to feed a baby
  4. How to store a baby
  5. How to tell that something is wrong with a baby
  6. How to determine which baby subsystem is failing once a problem is detected

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Police Interactions

Scene of the Crime - click for an interactive map.Tonight I was stopped by the police. For jaywalking.

Here's what happened:

Jennifer and I were walking south on Broadway.

We decided to turn around, so we picked a nice, safe crosswalk.

The light was green for the cars, and we had a don't walk indicator.

Jennifer crossed the street. I had seen a car coming, so I decided to wait. The car was about 1 block away, and not coming very fast.

Jennifer finished crossing the street before the car even neared the crosswalk; I could have made it. She waited for me at pushpin 3.

I looked both ways again, and there were no cars coming in either direction as far as I could see.

I began crossing the street.

A police car pulled out from a parallel parking spot (Pushpin 1) and stopped in the crosswalk in front of me.

I stopped in the crosswalk, in the center median area of the street. (Pushpin 2 on the map)

Police officer: What does the sign say?
Me: Red hand.
Police officer: What does that mean?
Me: Don't walk.
Police officer: Why were you crossing the street?
Me: There were no cars coming.
Police officer: [Pauses and looks at her own car] There is now.
Me: Which is why I am not crossing the street anymore.
Police officer: Seriously, this is for your own safety. [Drives away]

The irony:

Two days ago, I sent an email to the Seattle Police Department to thank them for starting a new enforcement program called Don't Block the Box, which aims to improve traffic flow on the street I use every day to leave downtown (University Street). In the same mail, I also asked them to look out for a few other behaviors which screw up traffic on my street: trucks double-parking in the middle of a traffic lane, and cars turning left from the right-most lane (see it). Earlier this afternoon, I received a personal call back from the police department thanking me for my feedback.

I have mixed feelings about all of this now.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Bad Rhymes, Good Rhymes

I am mad at Steve Miller for writing this verse.  Ever time I hear it, I want to go back in time and break his pencil.  It's like an itch I cant scratch. 
Billy Mack is a detective down in Texas
You know he knows just exactly what the facts is
He ain't gonna let those two escape justice
He makes his livin' off of the people's taxes
For balance, here's a rhyme I love.  This verse is like good wine. 
Baby this town rips the bones from your back
It's a death trap, it's a suicide rap
We gotta get out while we're young
'Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run
(From Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen)

Friday, May 04, 2007

Coffee Commuters

I wondered today as I bought a mocha from the Tully's which is in my apartment building... how far do employees of Seattle coffeeshops commute to work, on average?

Or, to pose it as a question of motive, what are the reasons why a person does not work at any of the coffeeshops located between their home and the one where they do work?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Name that tune!

Last Friday I bought The Essential Bruce Springsteen, and when I heard the song Badlands, I immediately recognized the piano part as coming from an older song. Take a listen for yourself …

Badlands clip

Do you know what song it's from? Does it at least sound familiar? To be fair, I wasn't able to pinpoint the exact song until Wednesday afternoon while I was taking a walk outside. I'll post the answer in a day or two, or after someone guesses correctly.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Note to self...

Next time you're going to accelerate from zero to 100, do it with the windows up.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Lately, I've been keeping a notebook of thoughts.  This is part of a larger effort to start writing songs.  There's been some trouble...
Most great songs, which aren't pure sunshine, are grown from a burning passion, which is usually the product of profound distress, pain, angst, or longing in the heart of the artist.
This weekend, one of those latent passions reared its head, so I started writing.  But the next day, I put the issue to rest with a reasonable and amicable resolution.  Who the hell wants to hear a song about that?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Memo Shmemo

As a matter of practice, I try to avoid blog filler the likes of quizzes and gratuitous re-posts. I cave occasionally, though. I started this more out of personal curiosity then a desire to share. It turned out to be a nostalgic and reflective research project.

Originally from Holley via Facebook:

So, here's how it works:

1. Open your music library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)

2. Put it on shuffle

3. Press play

4. For every question (phase of life), type the song that's playing

5. When you go to a new question, press the next button

6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool . . .

Opening Credits: Blinded by the Light – Manfred Mann

I've been really in to this song lately. My favorite puzzle in PHA (the most recent Microsoft Puzzle Hunt) came in the form of a CD, loaded with songs, and no instructions. The key to the puzzle was to figure out that it contained a pattern of original songs and covers of that song which were more successful than the originals.

Coincidentally, the week before Puzzle Hunt was the first time I had ever heard the awesome, original Bruce Springsteen version of Blinded by the Light. The only reason I heard it is because my new car has XM, and XM has a station that plays deep album cuts, including songs that are good but weren't popular. I remember exactly when this happened, too, since it is pinned to a happy memory: this song came on just as I was picking up Jackie from her hotel to go to Trivia.

Waking Up: Extended IITB - The Price is Right

This is from a set of songs and sound clips from TPiR which I downloaded a while ago. I didn't even care to figure out what IITB was until today. Apparently, it is Price is Right shorthand for the pricing game "It's in the Bag." This 12-second track is the extra part of the audio cue for that game.

While looking up this info, I also discovered The Price is Right Font Library. This page is perplexing… it is the collision of banality and esoterica. And somehow, it has amassed 48,000 hits. (However, the fact that the site has an odometer-style hit counter is evidence that it has been online since 1993.)

First Day of School: Feeling No Pain – Josh Rouse

I got this on a Free "Virgin Recommends" CD when I bought a Virgin Mobile phone five years ago. I've never played it on purpose.

Falling in Love: Taxman – The Beatles

This could interpreted to mean that falling for someone is a tax on my emotional resources. Or it could just be about taxes.

Fight Song: Blowout –The Crystal Method

OK, whatever. I got a bunch of techno music from a friend at a LAN party. Since I never delete anything, it persists. At the LAN party, we were playing WWII Online, which is a fighting game. That game contained a really good 2-team multiplayer asymmetric strategy map – storming the beach and fighting up the rocky coast of Normandy.

Breaking Up: She Has a Girlfriend Now – Reel Big Fish

I swear I didn't cheat. This is really the song that came up.

Prom: Now's The TimeCharlie Parker

Fun Fact: My personal nickname for my date to senior prom was "Hot Cello Girl". She'll recognize herself if she reads this. J. Whether she cringes or laughs, I'm curious.

Not as fun fact: My strongest memory of that evening is the fact that I was really distracted by my feelings for a different girl. I regret that I wasn't purely focused on having a good time with my lovely date.

Life: Prologue, August 29, 1968 – Chicago

This song is about the turmoil and protests surrounding the Democratic National Convention in that year. I hope my life is nothing like that.

Mental Breakdown: Things Are What You Make of Them – Bishop Allen

Back when was cool, they had an intrepid young writer by the name of Christian Rudder. He was the mind behind projects such as "Stinkyfeet", "The Date My Sister Project" and "The Fat Project". Unfortunately, those are long gone. If you can find these somewhere online, please let me know.

It was a bittersweet pill when Christian posted on thespark that he would be leaving to spend time on his band Bishop Allen. He left us with a url to a site which contained a few mp3s. I've loved the band ever since.

Driving: Penguin in Bondage – Frank Zappa

Ahh, Zappa. This is from one of the best albums he ever put out. The 12+minute sequence of Echidna's Arf (Of You) and Don't You Ever Was That Thing? is a breathtaking live performance, including the hands-down best trombone solo in a rock song, performed by Bruce Fowler.

Flashback: California – Phantom Planet

This might bring back memories for people who watch The OC… Kayla?

Wedding: Piece of My Heart – Janis Joplin

Woah there. I sincerely hope this does not describe my wedding:

You're out on the streets looking good,
And baby deep down in your heart I guess you know that it ain't right,
Never, never, never, never, never, never hear me when I cry at night,
Babe, I cry all the time!

And each time I tell myself that I, well I can't stand the pain,
But when you hold me in your arms, I'll sing it once again.

I'll say come on, come on, come on, come on and take it!
Take it!
Take another little piece of my heart now, baby.
Oh, oh, break it!

Birth of a Child: The Peanut Vendor – Latin Traditional

This is the song is playing after Milton sets fire to Initech in Office Space.

Final Battle: I Just Wasn't Made For These Times – The Beach Boys

This song is horribly depressing. I will not go down like this. My final battle better be much more exciting than this song. I imagine it would involve speed, intrigue, flames, and possibly robots.

Death Scene: Television – Japan

I first discovered this band while shopping at Toy Joy in Austin. It was after a band rehearsal; Brendan and I were looking for bus toys for an upcoming away game. I had invited Brette to come along on the shopping trip, which was just one opportunity for me to steal her away and spend some one-on-one time with her. This was several weeks before we began dating.

Funeral Song: Get High – Sons of Champlin

Not inappropriate for a post being written on April 20. This song has a nice section where the audience gets to sing along … kind of like a hymn, except they're singing "Get high". That would beat your average funeral.

End Credits: (Everbody Wanna Get Rich) Rite Away – Dr. John

Funk would be perfect for the closing credits of life. My personal request would be for Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker) by Parliament.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Nymphs and Sirens

Nymphs and Satyr by Bouguereau: click for full painting For the most part, the walls in my apartment are pretty well decked. The dining room is full of Texas stuff. My living room has the Gerardo Arellano paintings, and downstairs I've got some Kandinsky prints.

My bedroom walls are the last ones to be decorated. Today, I found a photo I took at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. which may be the inspiration for a bedroom motif. I think if done right, this could be pretty tasteful.

The Sirens by Auguste RodinThe photo is of The Sirens, a sculpture by Auguste Rodin.

Another piece which would fit this theme is Nymphs and Satyr, by William-Adolphe Bouguereau. Many years ago, my mom gave me a card with this painting on it. Lucky Satyr.

It also strikes me that if I had a girlfriend, decorating my room with mythological sirens would probably not be on my mind.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Undiscoverable dictionary feature in

I just discovered a feature on which I didn't even realize was available. 
1. Go to an article page, like this one
2. Find a word you don't know (or any word in the body of the article).  My word was Pablum
3. Double click on the word
Woah!  Definition popup!  That's actually what I was looking for! 
I was actually trying to right-click, but my finger twitched.  I knew that IE doesn't have a lookup feature by default, but I remember that there was a Firefox extension which would open in a new tab if you right clicked on a word.  I was secretly hoping that I had found and installed such a feature in IE 
Oh, well.  Pleasant surprise.  By the way, Pablum is  "A trademark used for a bland soft cereal for infants." 
And this week, no matter what happens, you're still in better shape than Antonio Gonzales. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Unfortunate Cookie

Unfortunate Cookie
Unfortunate Cookie, originally uploaded by Sage Kitamorn.

Wow. I thought I was doing OK. I thought I was on the right track. This cookie really put me in my place. I am humbled.

You've got to give the cookie credit for successfully constructing a complete sentence, including the proper use of an adverb.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Hard Boiled Excitement

Easter Eggs Pose Together Saturday night, we had a bunch of friends over for feasting and excitement. As Erin Dean foretold, the theme of the dinner was “While You Were Out.” The main event was not the meal, but the egg decorating contest and egg drop competition. Check out the flickr for complete coverage.

There was much feasting
Our menu…

Bread and Cheeses, provided by Erin! Thanks, Erin!
Kumquats and Muscats

The Meal
Maple Orange Glazed Ham, Asparagus and Shiitake Risotto, and Balsamic Roasted Yams
Spicy Meat Balls, provided by Eliot and Julie. Thanks guys!

The Aftermath
Mint chocolate Ore ice cream cake, provided by Shawn and Brook. Yum!

Hard Boiled Excitement
The competition consisted of two aspects: Egg Dyeing and Eggs Dying. We spent a few hours creating the best dressed eggs and the safest egg-drop devices.

Erin poses with Resurrected Jesus the EggHugo with his unaltered eggg

Category Winners
Best Dressed
Claire and Guzman Overboard, by Shawn and Brooke

Most Ironic
Flying Spaghetti Monster, by Hugo

Best Tie-in to the story of the Resurrection
He is Risen!, by Erin and Jett

The Safety Award
Egg-streme Sports, by Eliot and Julie

Most Dangerous
Bond and Bond Girl, by Erin and Andrew Shawn and Brooke pose with Guzman and Claire in the Water Julie and Eliot pose with their entry, Egg-streme Sports

Friday, April 06, 2007

It’s Gorgeous

Can I find any more excuses to get outside today?

  • I took the bus to work, and got to walk to and from bus stops.
  • I walked to lunch at a remote cafeteria on campus, met with some friends and ate outside.
  • Some coworkers and I just came in from a football break on the sports fields J
Horray for spring in Seattle!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Danny Elfman

Did you know that Danny Elfman was also the frontman for Oingo Boingo?  I had no idea.
Until now, I knew Danny Elfman as the composer of many great TV and movie themes, incluging one of the best songs ever, the theme from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure.  He also wrote the theme to The Simpsons.
It came as a surprise to me to learn that he was also a singer and band leader, and was famous for Oingo Boingo before all the film stuff.  With Oingo Boingo, he recorded Weird Science, theme to the movie of the same name.  It's alive... alive!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Tainted Vessels

I keep an eye on the Seattle P-I's top stories news feed just in case a story like this comes across the wire. It's a coincidence that this happened just after I visited Bainbridge Island for the first time.

Two 12-year-old girls from Bainbridge Island are accused of attempting to elude punishment for a tardy assignment Thursday by poisoning their teacher, Kasey Jeffers, with a flavored lip balm they knew would make her ill.

Jeffers, 58, is violently allergic to strawberries -- common knowledge at Sakai Intermediate School, according to police, who arrested the youths on suspicion of assault after they were accused of coating the rim of their teacher's coffee cup and water bottle with strawberry lip gloss.

"They had discussed using real strawberries but decided that would be fatal and this would just make her sick enough to leave school, which was what they wanted," said Mark Duncan, the island's deputy police chief.

The teacher is fine, and the girls have been charged with third-degree assault.

For me the best part of the story was not the subject, but the writing. In fact, I emailed the author to thank her for delivering one of the best sentences I had ever read in print,

Though other students raced to warn Jeffers, she had already sipped from one of the tainted vessels.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Water; Brownies

I drank eight 12-ounce glasses of water today. I'm sure there have been other days when I drank this ammount, but today was the first time I counted the cups.

Also... last night, I made the first batch of Edge Brownies. Forsaking mixes, I used the brownie recipe which came with the pan. This recipe called for everything from scratch - including a big block of 99% cacao baking chocolate. Hugo and Erin report an increase in happiness after consuming the brownies.

Personally, I think I need to keep searching for the perfect brownie recipe. Anybody think they've got one?

Frozen Margarine Animals

Frozen Margarine Animals ... viewer discretion advised

Old School Memories

[I had some conversations with college friends over the last couple of days which prompted me to upload some old school pictures to my flickr. This is the story behind one of them.

One day back in 2003, Brendan and I were grocery shopping at H.E.B. In the cheese isle, we found some toys displayed on top of the food. We picked out one of those rebounding punching bag things, a Batman one. It had a reservoir in the bottom which you fill with water ... this makes the whole bounce-back action work.

We kept it in our apartment for most of the fall. After months of abuse and neglect, it sprung a leak. But not the kind of leak that would make the carpet wet. An internal leak ... the inner reservoir was leaking into the rest of the bag.

For a while, this was comically irritating. You would punch the bag, and it would fall backward then return very slowly as the water rolled to the top and then back down again. We kept filling the bottom with more water whenever it got too low. After a while, it stopped springing back up, and we lost interest in the toy.

In order to keep it from eventually leaking all over the living room, we stuck it out on the deck. Batman lived out there for most of the winter, until Christmas break, when we got really bored.
One this day, we decided it would be awesome to fill the entire punching bag with water, haul it over to Chris’s (or old 3rd roommate) and leave it on his doorstep.

Oh noes!We had enough sense left to veto the plan of leaning it up against his door. So we decided to lean it up against the wall next to his door. The only problem was that this wall was made of textured stucco, and it immediately popped our taut bag-filled-with-water.

Our prank in jeopardy, I applied pressure to the wound while Brendan went looking for a bandage. Once we gave up, we called Chris to wake him up and at least show him what we were trying to do. He was not impressed.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Art of Peter Callesen

Impenetrable Castle - papercut by Peter Callesen Castles, skeletons, vines, birds, water … If you have not seen his work, I encourage you to check this out.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

All Edge!

All-Edge Brownie Pan My life is complete. This pan jumps all other requests to sit squarely at the top of all birthday/Christmas/Passover wish lists.

If any of you have ever been around me while eating brownies, you probably know of my love for The Edge. Mmmm, edgeiness...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Falling Back

On the subject of daylight saving time, I want to talk about this whole springing forward nonsense. It causes me a considerable amount of discomfort to lose an hour. I hate feeling like I'm not tired when it's time to go to bed; not feeling like waking up when the alarm goes off.

Falling back is no big deal. I am always happy to sleep longer, watch more TV… to get more time to do whatever I was already doing. This doesn't screw me up.

This leads me to my new proposal: Instead of the naïve "spring forward" each spring, how about we "fall back 23 hours." Here's how it would work. On Sunday morning, at precisely 2AM, the time immediately becomes 3AM Saturday. The sunlight shift is exactly the same, but we get a free day.

I would like to hear from any naysayers who don't want a free 23/24ths of a Saturday once a year.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Daylight Saving Time

Yesterday, I told some friends that I would reserve judgment on daylight saving time until I had seen a late sunset. On Sunday, it was rainy and dark, so it didn't matter what time the clocks said. My body was grumpy and I couldn't fall asleep until late.

Today, it's a different story. First off, it's my first day in my new office. My new solo office J. I don't have a window, but I can look directly out the window of the office across the hall. From here, I can see that it's still light outside at 6:37, which is great. Also, the first cherry blossoms came out last week, and there's a nice coloring of pink out in the courtyard.

A closer view through the window

View from my new office

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Yesterday, Jennifer quoted a radio show claim that Starbuck's scones have 1,000 calories. This sparked a discussion about calories. It makes sense that scones would have a lot of calories. They are very dense, and probably contain a large amount of butter. But 1,000 calories is a lot. A Big Mac doesn't even have1,000 calories.

Well, what all the calories in a scone came from butter? How much is 1,000 calories of butter? Since butter is almost purely fat, which has 9 calories per gram, 1,000 calories would be about 110 grams of butter. We figured that 110 grams is somewhere between ½ stick and 1 stick of butter. (It turns out one stick of butter weights 113.4 grams, according to this site). A scone would be a liquidy mess if it contained this much butter.

After I got home, I looked it up on Starbuck's website. Since the pastry products vary by region, these are the numbers for the stores around downtown Seattle. Depending on the scone, they have between 480 and 500 calories. That's a ton of calories, but short far short of 1,000.

To put this into perspective, I decided to look up some other breakfast options. Let's go check out Denny's. Denny's closest thing to a scone, calorie-wise is a Veggie-cheese omlette. I think a semi-health-conscious person might choose either one, given worse options. This makes the scone look not so bad. It's not a cup of yogurt, by any means, but it's still within reasonable range of its peers.

It's hard to look at the Denny's menu without noticing that a lot of breakfast items have calorie counts which contain four digits. The most disturbing is the Country Sausage Bowl:

1680 calories. 108 grams of fat. The serving size is just 4oz short of being 2 lbs of food. Jennifer, the sodium count will give you a headache just by reading it.

What is even in this thing? It's not on the menu any longer at Dennys's main site, so you have to look around a little.

Country Sausage Bowl

Two helpings of golden hash browns topped with two eggs, crumbled sausage, diced green peppers and onions, country gravy and Cheddar cheese. Served with two strips of bacon, two sausage links and three fluffy buttermilk pancakes.

There's a close cousin that has less calories and fat (slightly), but the description is even more bewildering:

Two Sausage & Cheddar Bowl

Two Sausage & Cheddar Bowl Smoked sausage and crumbled sausage, chopped green peppers and onions layered on top of two fluffy scrambled eggs. Served over a mound of country-fried potatoes that are covered in our creamy cheese sauce. Topped with shredded Cheddar cheese.


But we what about that venerable standard of unhealthy eating, the Big Mac? Well, compared to these nuclear bowls, it is starting to look pretty good.

Wait, just a second… as far as fat, calories, and sodium, you can eat Three Big Macs and still withstand less damage than by eating the Country Sausage Bowl. Wow.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Thank you, Blogger!

If this post shows up in my blog, then Google has fixed the bug in the new Blogger which broke posting from Microsoft Office Word 2007.



Friday, February 09, 2007

Home again

After 13 days as a refugee, the power is back on and we are at home.  It felt great to sleep in my own bed.  It feels great to sit in my La-Z-Boy.  Looking over at my closet...that's a lot of dirty laundry.
I'm hanging out with Stephen tonight, and this weekend is puzzlehunt.  I wonder when I'm actually going to get to it.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

And the beat goes on

Eleventh day since the incident. 
Yesterday was a great day.
I had to check out of the Sheraton because Harbor Steps could no longer extend our reservations day-by-day.  The hotel was booked because Microsoft's Tech Ready 4 conference is in town (and the Sheraton is next door to the Convention Center).  Why is that a good thing?  While our building still is not ready, I was relocated to a better hotel.  I am now residing in the Silver Cloud hotel.  The Silver Cloud beats the Sheraton in many ways:
  1. Free internet.  No longer do I have to flee to Tully's to send email
  2. 42" Plasma TV in my room
  3. Fridge and microwave in my room :)
  4. Free breakfast
Also because of Tech Ready 4, Jackie is back in town.  :-)  Jackie joined us after work for ...
Brie and I organized an outing to trivia.  We had about a dozen people come, so we made two teams.  In the end, my team was in a 3-way tie for first with 31 points, and our other team had 30 points.  Shawn and I went up for the tiebreaker, and we won!  This is the second time that my team has won trivia.
I didn't even have to bring it up, but several of the trivia folks wanted to do Karaoke afterward.  I sang Refugee by Tom Petty as a tribute to my living situation.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Life as a Refugee

It's been one week since the "unfortunate series of events" went down at Harbor Steps.  The power is still off, and I'm living off of free Wi-Fi and Chai Lattes. 
Harbor Steps' response to the entire situation has been stellar.  The day after the meltdown, their Hospitality kicked in... here's how we've been treated since
  • Sunday afternoon: Harbor Steps staff sets up free lunch buffet for all affected residents
  • Sunday night: Harbor Steps offers free dinner coupons to dine at one of several local restaurants
  • Monday afternoon: Harbor Steps notifies us that power will not be on until at least Tuesday.   We are offered hotel rooms at the Sheraton courtesy of Harbor Steps.  Or, if we chose to decline the hotel, we could either live in our apartment or make our own arrangements, and discount our rent for every day the power was off.  Hugo and I choose the Sheraton.
  • Since Monday: The estimate for repairs to be complete is extended until at least this coming Monday.  Harbor Steps extends our hotel reservations.
Overall, the disaster management of our building staff has been stellar.  I am very glad that we choose to live there, even if we are not at the moment.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Close Call

Saturday morning, rather than wake up natrually as I had planned, I was awoken by the sound of WHOOT! WHOOT! WHOOT!

These are the fire safety alarms in Haror Steps, informing us to get out. The alarm stopped after a bit, so I puled the comforter over my head and went back to sleep.

Over the next half hour, the alarm returned several times, but subsided after a few whoots.

I woke up and found Hugo similarly disturbed. Hugo reported that he had called the concierge, and the word was that there was no fire, no need to evacuate, but there had been a fire sprinkler set off accidentally, which summons the fire department.

I decided to spend the morning watching bonus clips of Beauty and the Geek and reading the New York Times online. My plan was thwarted, however, when the entire building lost power.

With the power out, there is really not much to do at home. Hugo and I decided to venture out into the city to find some breakfast and also track down some medicine.

Once we got into our own hallway, we found many residents stirring, including our neighbors. A short trip down the hall toward the elevaters uncovered the sound of rushing water. Opening the satirwell door to investigate, we found water streaming down the stairs from above. The apartment next to the stariwell had water seeping out from under the door.

Hugo and I decided it was a good time to GET OUT whether we were ordered to or not. When we walked outside, we found the scene from the picture above.

With the thin confidence that the flooding was happening in a separtate vertical column of units than our own (the apartments on my side of the building actually have nothing above them), Hugo and I proceeded to Walgreens, and then had a delightful breakfast at The Crumpet Shoppe in Pike Place.

Later, we ventured up to Stephen's in Greenlake to hang out and escape boredom. Up there, we met up with friends and played some Bocce in the park. Even later, I retrieved Jennifer from Cap Hill and we re-met up with Hugo and Stephen to dine at Salvatore Restaurante Italiano in the U-District. That was good. We ended the day by watching Dreamgirls at Pacific Place.

Returning to apartment after midinght, we found a moist hallway, no electricity, but no damage to our unit. A letter under the door from the management explained what had happened.

Early Saturday morning, a sprinkler head was accidentally damaged by a resident on the 21st Floor. This caused flooding in that area, and below it. The water entered an electrical closet on the 6th floor, resulting in the catastrophic failure of the electrical system in the entire building.

We're safe now, and the worst of the damage for us is melted ice cream.