Archive for December, 2005

coffee shop conversation

I have to share the conversation I just overheard, between the two young women making the coffee at my favorite local shop:

Girl One: “You have the most amazing hair.”

(For the record, it was red, bedraggled, and pulled up into a ponytail.)

Girl Two: “Thank you. You know I just jammed it up into a rubber band this morning…”

Girl One: ” I know, but it still looks amazing. You know, some people just have this thing. Their hair, no matter what they do, looks great.”

Girl Two: “I know. I feel blessed.”

Girl One: “You really should cherish that. It’s a gift.”

Girl Two: “I know. Believe me, I’m grateful every day.”

I’m sure the Dalai Lama would be proud of their gift for awareness and gratitude.

Is this what we’ve come to in Seattle?

Year end basketball, Washington style

The Sonics are on the road this week with games at Minnesota and Denver tonight and tomorrow night, respectively. Both the Timberwolves and the Nuggets have better records so far than the Sonics who will probably have two of their guards sitting out due to injury [espn]. On the other hand the Minnesota Timberwolves have dropped 6 of their past 7. Should make for an interesting match up.

Brandon Roy
image via: csports

In other, more important basketball news, the Washington Huskies will play their first conference game against Arizona State tomorrow night (7 p.m.) at home (and Arizona on 12/31). Currently ranked #7 in the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls and #1 in the Pac-10, the Huskies are off to their best start in 30 years, but don’t count ASU out. Some think, due to their easy early season schedule, the “Huskies are still a mystery” [pi], not to mention that in “a long-standing hallmark of Rob Evans-coached teams, ASU will scrap, fight and work for every point they put up on the scoreboard.” [] It looks to be an interesting game for those eager to see if the Huskies can continue to rack up wins now that the “real” competition has begun. The ASU game will not be televised, however individual tickets are available still online [gohuskies] or you can listen on Husky Sports Radio Network / KKOL (1300 AM) in Puget Sound area.

The Zags on the other hand lost to Memphis last night in a 83-72 bout [espn] that clearly demonstrated the Bulldogs’ weakness this year. That is, when Adam Morrison is well defended, they have no other go-to guy. Sure J. Batista scored 15 points, but the rest of the team failed to pick up the slack with a combined point total 11 points less than Morrison’s (23-34). This loss brings Gonzaga to 9-3 and will surely drop their standings in the national polls this week. The Zag’s next game is at home on Dec. 31 (3 p.m.) against St. Joseph’s and will be televised on ESPN2.

A tip of the hat

A tip of the hat to the sales staff in the Nordstrom menswear department: I was there, yesterday, the day after Christmas, the start of their Half Yearly Sale, so I saw firsthand their heroism in the face of the onrushing hordes. Their smiles were unwavering, their suits unrumpled, their aplomb unbreakable.

Beans make people fart…

On a recent flight out of town to visit family, we “splurged” on an upgrade to business class, by using some hard-earned miles. Part of the whole upgrade thing is that they actually feed you a real meal. If you’ve been traveling on our airlines recently, you’ll know that they stopped feeding us shortly after 9-11 (something else I blame the terrorists for), no matter how long the domestic flight. I’ve flown across the entire country to Philadelphia, and almost starved getting across to the other side. And did I mention the whole shoe thing through security? I hate the shoe thing. But I digress.

The point is, that we got fed on this trip, and not only did we get fed, there was an additional festive-looking red package sitting on our food tray. As my eyes focussed on the note attached to the package, and started reading “Beans Make…” my faster brain had already inserted the end of the sentence, “… People Fart!”, and I had to stop and laugh for a while, before reading the actual title of the card, which began with, “Beans Make Spirits Bright.”

It really didn’t make any amount of sense until I turned the package over and saw the Starbucks logo, and realized we were talking about COFFEE beans. Then came the fine print about how coffee makes a great gift, yada yada yada. Good to know. Maybe go with a different slogan next time. Or not. That one was pretty funny.

Following Alexander

If you don’t see Shaun Alexander on the field against Green Bay this week, don’t hold it against him or Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren – Alexander’s aunt passed away Monday morning, and he has returned to Cincinatti to be with family.

Seattle is a long way away

I’ve been in Birmingham (that’s the Alabama one) the past week and stuck in a perpetual state of Southern culture shock. 2000 miles from Seattle, and yet there are a million Starbucks in the BHM metro area, to go along with Piggly Wiggly and Goody’s. But hey, they have BBQ, something you can’t get in Seattle (well, any good barbecue).

But imagine my surprise when there were not one but THREE articles about Seattle-related companies on the front page of business section of this morning’s Birmingham News: one on Starbucks’ move to add drive-thru windows, one on Amazon’s sales numbers for the Christmas season, and one on Boeing’s run at a record number of commercial plane orders in 2005. (Sadly, I can’t link to them because the Birmingham News doesn’t link to AP stories on their website.)

Twenty years ago, Seattle was one of those places that Southerners had heard of and had a stereotyped picture of in their minds but zero cultural reference of. Now, Seattle is the home of their caffeine addiction, main internet bookstore, and the place that gives Delta their planes. Oh, and we’re hyperliberal quasi-Communists with flannel shirts and Kurt Cobain. Gawd save Seattle, y’all.

Summer Nights at Gasworks


Image via, uh, Peter.

If you’re the sort of person that’s already planning for next year, you might be interested to hear that the Summer Nights Concert Series will be moving again this year, to Gas Works Park.

Last year, the series was in South Lake Union near the Center for Wooden Boats. I didn’t go to any of the shows, but from what I saw–I work in SLU and live a few blocks up–they were all well attended. (This meant that we all left the office early on weekday concert nights, to ‘avoid traffic’.) But people still didn’t like the location, claiming that it got really cold down there and the view was just not that great. Part of the charm of the Pier 62/63 location was the sunset over the Sound. And since construction on South Lake Union is meant to begin in early 2006, the concert series was forced to find a new home. Again.

The showground is slated to be in that smooth grassy spot between the play area and the towers, and it looks like the harbor patrol is going to make a 100-yard no-entry zone, which’ll put the kibosh on free shows for boaters [P-I]. But it appears that not everyone is happy with this move. The secretary of my neighborhood Community Council is vocally grumpy over the whole thing, claiming troubles with parking and noise and aesthetic values [Times]. Somehow, I don’t think his concerns are going to hold any water, and everything will likely go ahead as planned.

Orphan Christmas

All of my family is on the east coast, and most of my friends are out of town visiting their families, so after I woke up to post to all of you this morning I decided to defy my cold and go see just what Christmas alone in Seattle is like.

Actually, I wasn’t completely alone. A coworker dropped her son off at his dad’s house, and she and I headed to Pacific Place to catch a movie. The theatre wasn’t quite as packed as I had expected, but there were certainly a fair amount of people there, largely small family units who looked anxious to spend a couple of hours not talking to each other. Nearly everyone was in line for movie treats–I guess Christmas is the one day it’s ok for the populace to eat popcorn.

After the movie we decided we were hungry, so we wandered the streets of downtown looking for an open restaurant. This turned out to be a completely daft idea, because nothing is open on Christmas Day. Except, of course, the 5 Point.

It’s strange to be in a non-smoky 5 Point, strange in a way I’m not sure I liked. But since fried macaroni and cheese wedges are the best present you can give yourself, that’s where we ended up. Both the bar and restaurant were full, and someone even had their laundry going next door. Chatting with the waitress, she told us that it had been busy but was nowhere near as bad as last night, when people were just mean.
Evidently, the sort of people that go drinking on Christmas Eve are not the sort you want to be drinking with.

As a whole, I rather enjoyed my solitary Christmas. It was quiet and calm and ended with fried food and beer–and this might be all that I need out of the holidays.

SeaTac Cell Phone Waiting Lot

This article {#} about drivers who park on SR518 just outside SeaTac to wait for their pickups to call them on cell phones, brings up something I’ve been wondering lately: has anyone ever found the vaunted “Cell Phone Waiting Lot” where you’re actually supposed to park? There are signs all over the place, but I always end up dumped out on 99 with no clue where to go next.

Other airports, like California’s Oakland, have waiting lots right near the terminal, but all SeaTac seems to have is a bunch of signs going nowhere. Having said that, I’d never park on 518 for risk of being sideswiped trying to pull back into traffic. I end up just parking at one of the big motels on 99, vaguely rustling papers to make it look like I’m about to get out of the car.

Snowy Owls Make Rare Seattle Appearances


Photo courtesy of

In my prior life, I was a raptor handler for a wildlife center in California, and one of my favourite birds to handle was the snowy owl. They are beautiful, serene, utterly gracious creatures…and normally not seen in the wild outside northern Canada and Alaska. But apparently the food population has dipped in Alaska, so some owls have been making the trek south to Seattle for food.

Currently, three separate owls have been spotted in Whatcom County, one in downtown Bellevue near the TCI, Inc, offices, and a final one in Discovery Park. So, take those new cameras out and go find yourself a snowy owl to photograph!

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