6.17.2012

$

I don't mind spending money.  I actually freakin' like it.  It's super fun and satisfying.  I earned the money, what the hell else am I going to do with it?  (I know, I know - save, retire, buy a house - whatever.)  But still, I'd stay that I'm on the fairly conservative side of consumption.  Waste makes me feel yucky.  Waste of all kinds - time, money and/or resources.  I certainly realize that's a fairly personal calculation.  I prefer finding my clothes at thrift & consignment stores.  I do the math when it comes to portion sizes claimed on the side of a box.  I rinse & reuse ziploc bags if they aren't gross.  I buy store brands.  But there's more to value than a spreadsheet and I also take things into consideration like convenience & desire.  Some nights you couldn't pay me to cook a meal, not to mention leave my house; so hell yes I'll pay extra for delivery (+ an excellent tip, mind you).  Totally worth it.  And some days I'll throw down an exorbitant amount of money of this amazing, high quality, perfect-for-me dress that comes straight out of the Upper-Middle-Class-Liberal-Neo-Hippie-Shoppers monthly catalog.  I desire it too much to deny.

There are some things that it KILLS ME to spend a lot of money on.  Due to the power of the internet, I can track down those things and find out if there's a cheaper or better or DIY way to get it. One thing that is appalling is the cost of of beauty products.  I'm going to start in my bathroom, and see what I find.

5.31.2012

certain unalienable Rights


I'm guessing this was national news yesterday, but it was so so so local for me and my community: 6 people died in Seattle yesterday from gun violence. The cafe where the shooter shot 5 people (two dead on the scene) is 10 blocks from where I work.  Another person was shot in the head downtown and died on the scene when she apparently tried to prevent the shooter from jacking her car -- about 10 blocks from where Mark works. The shooter was found and surrounded by the SWAT Team a mile or two away from where he dumped the car in West Seattle (which is my 'hood).  He shot himself in the head. The shooter and two of the victims died later in the day at Harborview Medical Center where I used to work. The two men who were dead on the scene at the cafe were known and loved by people who I know and love.
I express all this not to highlight what a dangerous place I live and work in, because I don't think I do -- not really.  None of these places are what would be considered by some to be those neighborhoods.  What I want to express is that this really could happen to anyone -- not philosophically, but literally.  For totally actually real.  As a friend of mine said yesterday: "It's all 'us.' There is no 'them.'"  Even the shooter.  We are all us.  Those neighborhoods are our neighborhoods; all of them.  We live there, everywhere.

And yet, we choose as a nation to continue to make it easier to get a gun than to get adequate affordable healthcare (physical and mental).  That's broken.


My parents have long maintained that locks aren't to keep thieves out, but to keep the rest of us from a moment of weakness. We'll never be able to stop those who are hell-bent to do harm. But to reduce easy, instant access to instruments of harm would go a ways to mitigating moments of impulse --- no matter what the root causes of those moments are (illness, grief, rage, etc.).

4.16.2012

10 + 10 + 10

My run today felt like the first ten minutes for the entire time.  Erg bergle.  But I ran to the track near us and logged 30 minutes none-the-less.  Probably would've been less except I didn't want the kids' soccer coaches to think I was too lame.  Vanity wins again!

4.15.2012

lincoln lincoln i've been thinking

An easy 2.5 mile run, best in the late afternoon.  You can often see seals kicking it, ferries traveling back'n'forth from Vashon, the Olympics across the Puget Sound.


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the (egg) scale: Was it worth it?

Skillet Diner on Capitol Hill (FRI 4/6):  I've been dying to try this place.  As much as I always wanted to, I never got to their food truck mostly because they didn't park their truck in front of my house.  But the concept is up my alley: down home with a gourmet touch; anything that mixes my blue-collar heart with my fancy-pants palate is not gonna have to try too hard to get to second base with me.  We got there early-ish, because we figured it would be a scene (it is).  The food is near perfection; it strikes a great note -- not too fussy like a lot of "simple concept" places can be.  But there was something I couldn't quite put my finger on about the service; more than that -- the overall ambiance.  It wasn't bad, exactly; it was just not fully satisfying.  Our server was cute and (mostly) pleasant when interacting with us, but nobody seemed to enjoy working there with each other.  Nothing overt, but shrugs, sighs, whispering - being an open concept floor plan where there are no hiding places for staff, this bleeds.  I ordered one of the specialty drinks, but the house rye was out; did I want to substitute?  Well, sure, whatever.  So she has me pick from the menu; I didn't care.  But right off, I think this is odd; wtf do I know, the bartender should sub based on his apparent expertise, yeah?  But no biggie.  Until I overhear the bartender talking to our server (open concept!) about what the difference in price should be since I'm not having the house rye...uhhh, pardon me, barkeep.  Later, I subbed the poutine for fries with my meal (uh buh duh), but got plain ol' fries anyway.  Again, no biggie at first, but when I pointed it out, our server (our only direct unhappy moment with her) huffed and said merely, "Oh. I thought you said fries." - definitely with a tone that implied that she was still pretty sure I'd said fries - and then walked away. What the...? Turns out she was going to the kitchen to order a poutine, but still.  The rest of the meal was without further hitches, but it was too late.  By that point, I was too aware of the atmosphere to lose myself in any surface charm Skillet might have held.  But dammit, the food was phenomenal.  But their truck is in West Sea every Saturday now within walking distance, and I think I'll just go there.  This restaurant is (egg)-tolerated!

Canon on Capitol Hill (FRI 4/6):  Fuck this place.  I guess it's maybe a speakeasy concept, but there's a dude outside who has to tell you if it's okay for you to go inside.  Meh.  We waited outside for a minute, then he lets us in where we then wait for the unsmiling and rather cold hostess who tells us there are no seats.  Then why did that dude let us in?  We are allowed to stand by the bar until something frees up.  Jesus.  Really?  People do this?  I guess so, it's packed, and there are more people outside waiting for Zuul the Gatekeeper to grant them passage.  But I just want a quick drink, so see ya suckers.  This bar is (egg)-shunned!

Tavern Law on Capitol Hill (FRI 4/6):  Thank you, Canon, for douche'ing us so we could go here instead.  Everyone is friendly; people (staff!) actually smile.  It was crowded, but not packed.  The drinks were effing delicious.  And they have a way more bad ass speakeasy -- through a secret door, and you use a special phone to call up to to see if they've got space.  I can't wait to try it!  What Canon can only dream of.  The bar is (egg)-acclaimed!

Happy Days @ New City Theatre (FRI 4/6):  This show was great; better than great.  Really well-done from top to bottom.  It's basically a one-woman show, with some occasional appearances by a husband (is Seanjohn Walsh ever not spot-on?), and Mary Ewald is a fucking force.  I admire Beckett, and love to read his work.  But do I enjoy Beckett? Onstage?  I dunno; I'm wary.  Rightfully so, I think.  Like Shakespeare, it's incredibly delicate; really hard to make it sing and really easy to make a clunker. So I was reluctant to have high hopes despite the glowing reports I'd heard.  The first five or ten minutes had me worried:  you could tell it was done expertly, but it felt stilted and stylized, intellectually stimulating but not emotionally so.  I'm not even sure when that feeling disappeared, but certainly by 15-20 minutes in, I was caught.  This play and Ewald's performance wormed its way under my skin, stayed there, and every once in awhile buried deeper.  I starting crying at curtain call, and I can't even fully tell you why.  A grotesque and beautiful show.  This show is (egg)-acclaimed!

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (TUE 4/10):  On rental DVD; I completely missed it when it came out in 2002.  Oh my gosh, I really liked this movie.  Sam Rockwell is astonishing as Chuck Barris; a portrayal that is not merely impersonation or mimicry.  Clooney's direction is so unusual and refreshing.  Theatrical -- single shot scenes that are hard to believe.  My favorite trick of the movie (credited directly, I think, directly to Clooney & Rockwell equally) is that there is not one wink or nod in the whole movie commenting on what an unbelievable premise it is.  That one choice makes all the difference between it being the funny but mean comedy it could've been and turning it into a funny but piercing character study.  Secondly, it's packed with style and doesn't rely on straight narrative technique, giving it a dreamy quality that forces the audience to decided for themselves: real or fantasy?  A moderately patient movie, though; was slow for me in some places, but never for long.  The movie is (egg)-acclaimed!

Pan Africa Grill (WED 4/11):  Monkey and I will travel far for Ethiopian when the mood strikes us (well, to the Central District, mostly), and we were excited to have a place in our own neighborhood.  Pan Africa is actually authentic and fusion African, but I honestly went for the Ethiopian vegetarian platter with injera.  It was good, but not crazy good; it didn't beat our fave places in the CD.  The injera wasn't as flavorful, not as sour as I like it, and it also seemed a little dry.  The veg platter wasn't as varied as I've had, but it was all good; however don't think I go back just for that.  What I would go back for are the other entrees we got with the combo platter (veg platter + 1 entree sample for each person).  Holy crap.  The lamb tips were amazing (Monkey's choice) even though I don't love lamb, and I got a chicken thing that was really good.  The prices here are higher than the places we love in the CD, but we don't have to leave W-Sea and that's hard to beat.  When I crave the straight up comfort and taste of a Ethiopian veg platter, I'm still going to go to the CD, but Pan Africa will be a welcome addition to my regular neighborhood places.  This restaurant is (egg)-condoned!

Lark Eden @ Theater Schmeater (THU 4/12):  What a delight; this show was quiet and lovely and ultimately quite moving.  The story of three women's best friendship from schoolgirls to old ladies, it unfolds exclusively in the notes and letters they've written to each over the years.  Like almost everybody in the whole world, there's nothing extraordinary about their lives except for the impact they've had on each other.  The play is charming and unassuming and rings true.  All three actors match each other, note for note.  Nobody steals this show, but rather they share it and make the entire package better by doing so.  They are wonderful, and I can only assume the director (also the playwright) had a hand in guiding that.  However, the director's hand is not obvious in the show (appropriate, I think) ... except for two staging choices that were odd and could've been distracting if the lovely play & performances had not won me over instantly.  The first was the configuration:  Three music stands with three chairs, and the actors were stationary; this worked quite well because of the style of the show, no problems there (I might have given them writing desks instead music stands for a prettier picture, but no matter).  But it was staged shallow, wide, and flat with the actors fairly close together at center stage and also fairly close to the audience; while the audience stretched the entire length of the space.  The audience at either end (including me) had to physically turn body & head to center for the whole show - weird (and possibly uncomfortable).  The space has more depth they could've easily taken advantage of - scoot the actors back, cut the ends off, and add a few more rows.  Or a modified 3/4 thrust - a semi circle with the ladies in the middle - would have been lovely.  The second staging issue I had was that they had their scripts in binders with them on the stands; they were decorated to look like scrapbooks but they were clearly binders since they were clearly turning the pages of the scripts.  It was so obvious that this was obviously a choice, but I didn't get it.  I like the scrapbook idea, but I wished they'd been pulling physical letters and photos out of them.  I got over both issues quite quickly because the journey was so compelling, but they apparently stuck with me since I just spent so much time cataloging them here.  I think mostly because I couldn't figure out why.  But these are all thoughts I had after the fact; during the show, I was completely engrossed and engaged, and I left wanting more.  This show is (egg)-acclaimed!

(egg)-regulars:
The Deluxe - I like this place; the staff is always great and the food is solid.  They don't mind when Bug Poppa and I want to play Jenga.
Endolyne Joe's - One of our "go-to" choices in the neighborhood; they never disappoint.
Capitol Club - Good happy hour food, good drinks, great staff, and PILLOWS!

4.09.2012

the (egg) scale - i review last week's activities

West Seattle Bowl (SAT 3/31):  If there is something to not like about this place, I haven't the hell found it.  I adore this joint.  Parking's a breeze.  It's clean and not skeezy at all.  The counter dudes are always pleasant and funny, and they always banter with me, which I adore.  The bar is reasonably stocked, but I am always sad about the lack of my bourbon of choice (Bulleit).  The attached restaurant just recently changed from a Chinese place to the Highstrike Grill, which is pretty good bar food.  It closes for restaurant seating at 10 PM but serves the alley until 11 PM --- thank god; kitchens that close before 11 PM are the bane of theatre people everywhere.  I've heard that purists hate black light "rock'n'bowl" but screw them, it's effing fun.  Also easy online reservations --- I reserved 3 lanes for our closing night party and put down a $75 deposit.  The actual cost on Saturday nights is $26 per lane per hour.  If you're bowling with 4 or 5 per lane, I think this is super reasonable.  We ended up only needing 2 lanes, and they were cool about it and only charged us for what we used.  The total cost was about $125 for slightly over 2 hours, which broke down to $5/person/game.  This activity is (egg)-acclaimed!

Lola for brunch (WED 4/4): One of the Tom Douglas mini-empire.  Which is to say, high quality and conceptually specific.  This one has a "Greek spirit" according to the website.  A beautiful interior.  Warm and comfy, but not "homey."  Feels casually fancy; like we're eating brunch in a movie.  The food was absolutely delectable.  I cannot name one less-than-excellent thing about it.  And yet ... you know what?  Maybe just too fancy for me for a non-dinner meal.  I didn't want to try that hard to impress my own breakfast.  This brunch is (egg)-tolerated!

Hunger Games @ Cinerama (WED 4/4):  I liked it just fine when I saw it and for about 15 minutes after it was done.  Since then, I've liked it less and less every thought I've given thought to it, and now it's kinda starting to make me mad.  I read the book - very recently, too - and maybe it was still too fresh in my mind.  But truly, I don't think my mind was the problem.  The problem was that the movie was bloody dull (I don't know whether that pun was intended or not).  The book was soooooooooo delicious, addictive.  The movie was not fucking delicious.  AT ALL.  I kept wanting it to be, and kinda kept pretending that it was while I was watching it.  But in the harsh light of day, that bullshit did not fly.  Nothing made me ooh or ahh in delight or gasp in horror or even laugh out loud.  Everything was so fucking and boringly inevitable from the first shot.  And I know it is inevitable --- I mean, it's got to follow the book, right? --- but it shouldn't feel that way.  Good movies (books/plays/songs/etc.), no matter how many times you've seen (read/heard) them, DO NOT feel that way.  And screw that "control center" Game Maker baloney - I yawn all over your Big-Brother-tech-effects-wank-fest.  Cut that crap, and add back in 10-15 minutes of the actual interesting book-story.  Ugh.  Infinitely dissatisfying.  An itch I can't quite reach.  This movie is (egg)-ignored!

4.08.2012

West Side 20

Run/walk/talk session.  I started a FB group of FB & actual friends to meet up in West Seattle on the weekends.  The idea is we go 20 minutes one direction and then turn around.  Run, walk, find a bench and people-watch or scenery-gaze, whatever.  Some of us get farther than others; who cares?  Kids, dogs, strollers, and hooligans welcome.  Then we often go get a coffee or brekkie.

Today was with wife-couple K&B and Heath, their dog.  The weather is just turning nice, but it wasn't crowded at Alki because of Easter.  We went further than 20, because we hadn't seen each other for awhile and had a lot to catch up on.

Join us, if you wanna.  Look up West Side 20 on FB.


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4.05.2012

a lumbering hippo bear

Yesterday's run was awkward because it had been so long; I was rusty, but the basic form was still there. But TODAY. Today was a different story. I felt like a hippo or a sleepy fat bear. Clumsy and lumbering. Clumbering. A cartoon Igor without the signature tag line, but retaining the slobber. But who the hell cares? I did it. Another 2 miles. I get to checkmark this day. I'll take the W.