Thursday, September 30, 2004

Let's get presidential on your ass.

What did people think of the first debate tonight?

Up until now I haven't been a great fan of John Kerry. I've been planning to vote for him because I don't see a good alternative, but I haven't felt very happy about it. I was looking for him to do well in the debate tonight, both because I've been trying to find reasons to feel good about voting for him and because he has these debate credentials.

I have to say that I was basically pleased with what I saw.

I particularly liked his eventual response to Bush's unflagging criticism that a president cannot show uncertainty or change his mind once decisions have been made. John Kerry's response that certainty is great if you're right, and that certainty will come back to bite you in the ass (loose paraphrase here) if you're wrong and don't adapt your decisions to new information, was long overdue. I'd been wondering why he hadn't answered along those lines sooner, so I was glad when he finally did.

Kerry spoke very well, and Bush did okay for Bush, which is sort of the problem: people have a lower bar for Bush when it comes to public speaking. He can win debates without really winning debates.

Kerry comes across as very smart, very articulate, and not at all charismatic. Bush comes across as smart enough, not very articulate, and very charismatic.

I'm wondering what other people thought, since I was clearly looking for Kerry to do well from the get-go and was probably not really objective.

So? What of it?


I learned this morning on the way to work that one of the carpool guys was an avid fan of the second season of America's Next Top Model. He was not one of the duo who chided me yesterday morning for same.

I just wanted to correct the record. These things are important.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Cute boys, booze, and other

Lots of random stuff today:

My concert-going plans have been thwarted. Snow Patrol is sold out, and I'm not sure that I'm motivated enough to head out to see The Libertines by myself. The guys who were going to come with me still plan to go drinking in Belltown, but I'm less up for that than I would have been for a band. And so it begins, my descent into lameness. (Begins?)

I'm volunteering with Girls on the Run this fall, a program where women who run mentor elementary and middle school girls getting ready to run a 5K. I'm very excited for our first meeting of the season next week. I wish I had more time to participate more actively, but even limited involvement should be a great time.

Cathy wrote me a set of requirements for the spec for our party this afternoon, including cute guys, booze, and other.

The boys in my carpool refused to believe me that America's Next Top Model is a great show. Once upon a time I was skeptical too, but now I appreciate the raw creative force that is Tyra Banks and her team of production geniuses.

Monday, September 27, 2004

The plot thickens.

My plan to throw a raging party continues to gather steam. A friend of Pankaj's who actually DJed Pankaj's and my co-birthday party last year is on board to DJ for us, and we've decided when we're having it (10/23). A week before Halloween -- this way we don't compete with all the Halloween parties and we don't have to have a Halloween party as such. I'm excited! Chris restocked all our liquor this weekend after a tequila-finishing evening of dubious distinction on Friday night. We'll be sending out evites in the next week or two.

I got my fabulous haircut. It is a little fabulous, but not fabulous enough to be worth what I paid for it. The hunt continues.

Sunday, September 26, 2004


The music calendar at

lists a lot of pretty good shows coming up soon. Shows that I am tempted by include:

Wed, 9/29 Snow Patrol (Showbox)
Wed, 9/29 The Libertines/Radio 4 (Neumo's)
Fri, 10/1 Visqueen/The Muffs/Johnny Polanski (Crocodile)
Fri, 10/8 Badly Drawn Boy (Showbox)
Sun, 10/17 The Concretes (Neumo's)
Tues, 10/19 The Old 97's (Showbox)
Sat, 10/30 United State of Electronica/Aqueduct (album release) (Crocodile)**

Plus some shows further afield, such as the Magnetic Fields show in November that I already have tickets to.

So which of these shows should I go to? Of these bands, I've only seen U.S.E. and Aqueduct live, and they're both really, really good. I've been meaning to see The Old 97's and Badly Drawn Boy for a while and have had narrow misses with shows for both of them. In general I'm getting old and lame enough (and getting up sufficiently early) that I'm not as interested in going to see bands during the week as I used to be, but there's no great excuse for missing the weekend shows.

**I totally saw the photo shoot for this album on my way back from downtown yesterday. The lead singer from Aqueduct and his girlfriend were hanging out with one of the vocalists from U.S.E and some photographer on the overpass on Pine Street.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Breakfast helps

I'm not exactly hung over this morning, but it wasn't for lack of effort last night. Blurg. I'm going to go running in a little while so I can get to my fabulous haircut appointment on time. Yes, people, I'm going to Gene Juarez. Those of you familiar with my last visit to Gene Juarez, not blogged about but written about in another medium, may express some surprise at my voluntary return. But once again I have been stricken with a hair stylist vanishing act, and it's time for a change. What they charge amounts to unmitigated, shameless robbery, so they have this one shot to get it right. If they do so fabulous a job that even I can make my hair look fabulous on a more or less regular basis with the total paucity of effort that I'm willing to invest, then I'll pay them anything they ask.

Moral of the story: Chris mixes awfully heavy drinks.

Second moral of the story: breakfast helps.

So this carpool I'm in has come together, even if it's like commuting to work in a mobile frat house and even if they're writing me awkward and embarrassing e-mail about how I've left my birth control in the car, and even if it turns out that that birth control isn't actually mine. I think the mobile frat house spirit is contageous because now Chris and I have redoubled our planning efforts for the raging party that we're going to have. It occurs to me, not for the first time, that we need to know more people in Seattle who have interest in attending raging parties. In the meantime, who's flying in to attend?

Thursday, September 23, 2004


Quick! What should I do this Saturday night? Name something pretty and popular and well befitting the fabulous haircut I'm getting Saturday afternoon.

If you're around to participate, so much the better. But even if not.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Dad-xaggeration strikes again

This past weekend my dad went to his college fraternity reunion. Putting aside for a moment the fact that the Greek system is ridiculous (making the sorority sticker from my (real) sister's sorority that's stuck on my car an ongoing fiasco), it sounds like he had a really good time.

One of his old friends is a serious runner. Not just serious in a Dad-xaggerated kind of way, it turns out: the guy is nationally competitive in his age class, and he's hooked into a training community of elite runners, including Deena Kastor, a personal favorite of mine and the recent bronze medalist in the women's marathon (on whom see previous blog entry:

So my dad calls me up and asks if I want Deena's autographed picture. Now I don't care so much about stuff like that as a rule, but my dad is all excited about it and I do like Deena Kastor, so I figure what the hell. Next thing I know Dad's friend is asking if I want to train in Monmouth with him and Deena and some other elites; at this point I'm wondering what Dad-xaggerated running prowess this guy thinks I have. The one race my dad has ever seen me run (a 5K) I had the completely atypical experience of finishing as the fastest women in the 20-29 age bracket; I don't know how many of us there were in that bracket, but it was a small race in the middle of north Jersey winter and there couldn't have been more than 15 or 20. So now Dad thinks I'm just a heartbeat away from Deena Kastor, about to win the Olympic marathon any day now with my four-hour time.

At the end of everything I'm still getting the autographed picture, though.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

My favorite neighborhood quirk

I read a few other blogs regularly. The links to a couple of them I have posted here in the past. Others are semi-secret, not because I'm ashamed to be reading them but because their owners are semi-secretive about them. In an odd twist, my favorite neighborhood quirk recently posted on afks asking about secret blogs and whether it was okay to out their owners. S/he was presumably referring to this one, except that this one isn't a secret.

Is the world better for having cute boys in it? I really think it is.

My most un-PC co-worker took issue with my characterization of cute boys as boys yesterday. I was surprised. I stand my ground. And oh, if only the co-worker in question could meet Cassie.

The world really is better for having cute boys in it. I'm serious.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Lewis Lapham sings the blues

I love Harper's. I really do. I consistently find three quarters of the articles interesting and cogent, and it's no trouble to gloss over the rest because the parts that I enjoy are just that good. Six months ago when my subscription came up for renewal I had no qualms about signing on for not one more but two more years.

That's why this recent claptrap with Lewis Lapham writing about his reactions to the speeches at the Republican National Convention before they actually took place has me good and mad. Under the best of circumstances, Lapham's editorials are usually self-aggrandizing pap; the fact that I often agree with the man politically doesn't mean that I like his prose or his willingness to see himself as above the fray. But his editorials, by the weakest feature of most issues, are what I'm willing to put up with because his other editor-in-chief skills are so strong. The man puts together a good magazine.

Unfortunately, the man also seems to be a few indulgences short of journalistic integrity.

When confronted about it on the letters to the editor page in the most recent (October) issue, he gives a tongue-in-cheek cutesy response that makes me want to hurl ("... if I'd had my wits about me as an editor, I wouldn't have let the author mix up his tenses in manuscript or allowed him in page proof to lapse into poetic license. Both of us regret the injury done to the magazine and apologize, wholeheartedly, to its readers.") You can hear him patting himself on the back for his cleverness, and the suggestion that reporting on a story, as fact, before it's ever happened (without any claim that he had advance media access to the speeches) is poetic license rather than just making shit up is frankly just insulting.

The man should step down as editor-in-chief.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Mist, football, and baked goods

Last night we went for Ethiopian food at Meskel, which we hadn't tried before. I used to have Ethiopian food a lot when I lived in West Philly, seeing as there were a number of places of pretty good quality in the neighborhood. Since moving to Seattle, though, I've only had Ethiopian food twice, once at a place that has since closed and once at another place that was only eh. In the interest of full disclosure I feel I need to point out that my stomach was not in very good shape last night, but I think that was about something I had eaten much earlier. In any case, I intend to go back. I like Ethiopian food, and this place was pretty good.

This has been a very autumnal weekend: long run yesterday in the cool mist by Lake Washington, football all day today. Chris made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies last night. This is what fall is all about: mist, football, and baked goods.

Saturday, September 18, 2004


I came home early yesterday just for the hell of it, and IT FELT GOOD.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


This week feels like fall. The poor guy in the office next to mine is from India by way of Texas and is already starting to feel the lack of sunlight. The winters here aren't as bad as everyone makes them out to be -- there's really only a little rain -- but there is a gray that rarely breaks. (It does break, most days, for at least an hour, but if you're stuck working in most office situations it's hard to make sure you're outside for at least a little of that hour. I don't know how people with seasonal affective disorder function here. We're further north than many people realize, which is why we have such gloriously long summer days. But that same northern latitude means that on some days the sun rises after 8 and sets by 4. Pretty soon I'll be running in darkness in the morning.

As for me, I don't mind the winters here all that much. My violent hatred of the cold means that I'd rather deal with some mild-temperatured gray than with the crappy stuff I grew up with. I may be the only person in Seattle who hates it when it snows, which most years it doesn't do. And anyway I'm looking forward to fall produce. The pears are already showing up, as are some of the winter squash. I'm still trying to use the last remnants of summer stuff where I find it before it disappears for another several months: berries, melon, tomatoes, corn, basil. But the days are getting shorter every day and I'm starting to find myself craving autumnal foods, stuff bursting with umame.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Dana Stevens aka Liz Penn wrote this article in Slate today about Entourage in which she misses the point:

I wasn't sure whether I liked this show after seeing the first episode or two, but over the season it grew on me. Her main complaint seems to be that the show lacks what she calls conflict, which as far as I can tell means that she thinks it isn't plot-driven enough. Well, it's not too plot-driven, and it's pretty unapologetic about that; the set-up is all about character. With current TV land as a backdrop I see this as an asset rather than a liability.

(I am off to fantastically pathetic success in my football league, scoring the third lowest in week one but finishing victorious anyway because I was up against someone even lamer-duck than I was. Hip hip, etc.)

Sunday, September 12, 2004


I started off yesterday in a sad, reflective mood. I felt a little better after going for a long run, but still not feeling much like going to all the parties we had been invited to for the day. I'm glad we went, though, as it took me out of myself a bit and I had a nice time. It was definitely a Scandinavian-themed day: a Norwegian birthday party followed by a Swedish crayfish party. I got to hear lots of wacky remarks about the Finns.

Alex and Vilde have a really nice cabin by a small lake in Snohomish county. It was too cold for swimming (not that that stopped many people) and it was the first time this year that it's really felt like fall to me. It's still a bit strange to have it be fall and not be heading back to school. At some point you have to think I'll get used to this, but it isn't this year. Over twenty-five years of history dies hard.

Saturday, September 11, 2004


As much as I like living on the west coast, on this particular day it feels alienating and strange not to be in the northeast corridor.

Thursday, September 09, 2004


P.S. How psyched am I that football season is finally up and running? SO, SO PSYCHED.

But whoever picked out your raincoat is NOT YOUR FRIEND, Michelle Tafoya.

The 2004 version of the Microserfs dream

Tomorrow morning my neighbors and I are inaugurating our carpool. They're sort of living the 2004 version of the Microserfs dream: three guys in a geek apartment in Seattle rather than a geek house on the eastside. Not that I'm calling any of us geeks or anything, except for the part where they're three guys working on the same floor at Microsoft living together and I'm writing about it in a blog.

Chris's need for beauty sleep apparently interferes with his ability to start work at a normal time, so he won't be joining us tomorrow in pointing at and ridiculing all the shlubs stuck in traffic on 520 while we zoom by in the HOV lane. In fact, he might be such a shlub himself a couple hours later, pointed at and ridiculed even if he is in the Jetta.

As for me, my shlub days are over.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Mr. Brightside

Roped in by this Mr. Brightside song that KEXP has been playing the poop out of, I bought The Killers album this past weekend. I'm quite liking it. A propos of new music, etc.

As part of my ongoing quest to become fashionable before it's too late, Chris and I did a little shopping this weekend and purchased many mediumly fashionable things. If nothing else I can at least attain mediocrity. I've discovered that Chris takes more time picking out and trying on shoes than a girl, but he did end up with two pairs that are really extremely stylin' when all was said and done. I sort of feel the need to step up my own shoe collection to compete.

Monday, September 06, 2004

I didn't even change out of my pajamas

The Mexican feast was really good, after four hours of Chris in the kitchen. If that boy had to cook every night I think we'd never eat. And this was for what he described as "taqueria fare," too, which takes five minutes to get at Rinconsito. But it definitely was delicious. As far as I'm concerned Chris can make his taqueria fare on alternate weekends from now into forever (alternating with his sushi fare, of course).

I have to do some work today but before I do I'm waiting to hear from Chad about going on a long run. I'm trying to decide how early is too early to call. This has been a bit of a topsy-turvy weekend, but yesterday was one of those gloriously restful days when I took three naps and did some writing and played with my fantasy football league and didn't even change out of my pajamas. Call it homework for football season, which starts this Thursday. Both in fantasy research and in the habit of Sunday slothfulness. I love it.

Sunday, September 05, 2004


Chris has promised to make me a Mexican feast today. It's only 9:30 in the morning and I'm already antsy for dinner. Darren and Kalyani kindly took us to La Carta de Oaxaca last night for dinner, so this is shaping up to be pretty much the ideal culinary weekend. The only thing that could make it better would be a visit to Nishino.

Chris is a really, really good cook. It's hard to believe he didn't start cooking until around the time I moved out here. I'm a pretty good cook but of a totally different variety. I'm more the kind of cook where I can shop a couple of times a week for whatever's fresh and seasonal and then throw it all together in 45 minutes into something reasonably good. Chris is more the ornate recipe kind of cook --if I try to make the things he makes it's a disaster. He's a little bit Thanksgiving turkey, I'm a little bit side dishes. Symbiosis!

I'm looking into my race schedule over the next several months right now. I'm on the hook to do the Seattle half-marathon on November 28 but that's the only thing I have definitely scheduled. I've been looking into finding a half-marathon that Erin (who had her big race this morning!) and I can do together as part of a fun long weekend, maybe in Boston or maybe here or maybe somewhere else warm and delightful. I'm excited. Between her and Chad and Ben and Megan, I've never had so many friends willing to race with me before.

Friday, September 03, 2004


The Seattle Times says it's 57 and rainy outside, but when I went running an hour ago it was warmer than that and when I look out the window it appears to be sunny. Who is correct?

I now have another reason to pull for the Seahawks this year: last night I drafted Matt Hasselbeck as the starting QB for my fantasy league. The draft was thoroughly entertaining; woe to the people who neither showed up nor pre-ranked their players, which is basically everyone in the league who is related to me. My cousin Morgan ended up getting Ricky Williams. (Making mental note to send him trash-talk e-mail today.) I'm mostly okay with how I did. Looking over everyone's rosters I think Mike S. probably did the best in the draft, which is probably because he took the full time allotted for Every... Single... Pick.

P.S. Erin has her big racing debut this weekend. Good luck to her (and Erin, be sure to send me a race report)!

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Firstname "Studboy" Lastname

A while back I made a donation to the Special Olympics just because. I gave them money even though the letter they sent me soliciting donations was addressed to Mr. Kieran Snyder. Anyway, now I'm getting all this mail from other charitable causes -- or rather, I'm not getting the mail, but Mr. Kieran Snyder is getting the mail. It's an interesting experiment in spam-tracking. It's similar to the experiment I did a few years ago, when I sent a friend of mine a subscription to something addressed to Firstname "Studboy" Lastname, and then for the rest of his time at that address he was getting junk mail for Firstname "Studboy" Lastname.

I do understand why charities trade lists of donors -- a lot of them have a very hard time getting enough money for their purposes, and they figure they're upping their chances if they focus on people who are provably a. willing to donate and b. not only willing to donate but willing to donate to similar charities -- but I really wish they didn't. It makes me much less eager to give money if I know that forever into the foreseeable future I'm going to be harrassed by partner organizations. In my case I'm likely to keep giving money to groups I'd like to give money to and throw away the junk mail, but I wonder how many donations charities lose entirely because of these practices.