Thursday, January 31, 2008

Stupid formatting

Can't figure out why that quoted portion is all crapily (yes that's a made up word...just roll with it) formatted with extra carriage returns. Sorry. I guess Mo Doesn't Know that.


Massive amounts of meat served on giants swords (Vegas pt. 2)

Well now its been almost a week and a half since I was in Vegas but we're gonna give 'er the ol' college try @ recounting at least day two...the only full day I was there.

Ready? .....set? ....blackjack!!! oh wait...

So day two was all set to begin at 10:30 in the a.m. Good thing I didn't go to bed at 5:30am that morning. Oh well. Its Vegas and as Fred always says..."sleep is a crutch." I don't think this could be any more true than in Vegas. So Pomo & Hidalg (yours truly)...

***Side note of important explanation***So one morning at Starbucks, Sarah
& I both ordered a delicious breakfast sandwich. When you order these
scrumptious treats you are required to give them your name so they can more
easily track youdown once they've been warmed up. Now Sarah had always wanted me to give them some ridiculous name but I never could quite bring myself to do least not with a straight face. Well this time I decided to speak on
Sarah's behalfwhen she was asked her name...and I said it was Pomona. No idea
where that name came from but it just kind of came out so splendidly that it was
clearly destined to be her nickname. Well...turnabout is fair play so when I was
asked to give my name she answered for me...and said it was Hidalgo. I guess you
could call these our work aliases as we both used these names @ the company
christmas party in which we bowled. Yep. Fun now you know (what Mo and knowing is half the battle....GI JOE!!!

...drag their asses out of bed to meet at the predetermined meeting place (Revolution lounge downstairs in the little lounge...Beatles themed....sweet neon pink/white sign that was big enough that you could sit in certain letters of the REVOLUTION marquee...yea that was a terrible explanation) @ said time of 10:30am. Well we waited for a good 20 minutes (I actually ran back up to the room to use some Q-tips bc I forgot to do that before we left the first time...shut up I need Q-tips or my ears feel funny all day) only not to see a single person show up. Figures. Oh well. We were supposed to meet up to head over to In-and-Out before going bowling @ The Rio's Lucky Strike Lanes. Turns out several of the group still made it over for bowling...but were late and didn't make it to In-and-Out. Meh. Been there before (in AZ) and I've been bowling before...with this group in I was fine with more gambling and just kickin' it with Pomo....and possibly the Bo-gizzles (nickname we gave the Bogaths when we got off the plane and were running up and down that moving walkway...OMG! I <3 those moving walkway things and escalators. Seriously they're so great. I could (and have) just walk up and down them for no reason.

So we hit the tables some more. We're all over this blackjack business. Decide to head back to TI bc it was so good to us the night before. Really don't remember anything specific between then and lunch. I won some more I know...bc I managed to win at every table...but nothing stands out now. Brian wasn't there yet...our fun, kind of mean but you know he's just playing, dealer from the night before. Yea. So I called Fred around noon or whenever we got hungry and Jason answered. I guess he was just about to head out and Fred woke up so he was gonna wait for him then they'd come meet us for lunch. Sweet. Meet back at the Mirage and decide to go eat at the food court over in the Venetian. Cheaper. And then we have several options. Sweet. Obviously I went for the Panda Express. I mean seriously. So money. Orange chicken & mushroom chicken. If I wasn't so sure it was loaded with 8000 calories I'd probably eat that everyday...that and there isn't one downtown....which is total crap bc there's two malls down here....every mall should have a Panda Express. EVERY MALL!!! rawr. lunch is good and now we have the rest of the afternoon to do whatever we want. Figure we're going to eat before the show, which is @ 7:00pm so we figure dinner somewhere in the hotel around 6:00pm will work perfect. But in the meantime what should we do? Clearly we needed to play more blackjack. So we hit the tables again. Hard. We rocked it...well I did. Like I said I don't remember all the specifics but it was good times. Played until about 5:00 or so when we all started to really lose steam...well everyone except Jay. So we went back to our rooms to get ready for dinner and take power naps. So money. Seriously. Little power naps are the way to go in Vegas. Sleep 3-4 hours at night/in the morning and then take a quick power nap or two for 20-30 minutes.

So we're all rested...well....sort of...and ready to grub. We decided to go to this Brazilian BBQ place in the hotel called Samba. I didn't feel too hungry and wasn't so sure about this all you can eat, Brazilian style BBQ. A few of the steaks did look tasty but eventually I decided "screw it...its Vegas...bring on the BBQ!!" and boy was that the right decision. Wow. So not only was it all delicious but they bring the meat around to the different tables (to those who are having the all you can eat BBQ...and its based on this little piece of wood with a red end and a green end...clearly ours was flipped green side up so the meat kept on coming!) on giants SWORDS. Apparently they're supposed to be "skewers" but they're really just giant swords. It was out of control awesome. Ribs. Pork. Chicken wings. Steaks. Sausages. Turkey wrapped in bacon. Freaking tasty. My favorite was this Spanish seasoned/cooked steak...I forget the name but it was probably the best steak I've ever had. It was amazing. Juicy. Tender. Flavorful. Oh man now I want some right now...and I'm not even hungry. Not even a little...but thats just how good it was.

So we finish up dinner and have about 20 minutes before we need to be at the show to be seated...but first we need to make a quick stop for some YARD MARGARITAS!!!! Unfortunately the Mirage doesn't have any places that sell them so we had to head to the closest one over at TI. Bless that tram. Really. Catch the tram over to Kahunaville (who's giant yard drinks are covered in all the employees' the guy who made our drinks (Randy) is on my yard margarita making a stupid was a stupid, gimmicky place but one of my goals on this trip was to get a yard margarita so I couldn't be too picky at this point) inside TI. They pride themselves as this stellar party bar or something bc all the bartenders can do fancy drink tricks like Tom Cruise in Cocktail. Meh. I'd rather just have a good drink at a good price. Oh well. We we hook up a yard margarita for myself and Fred and then a yard daquiri for Pomo....someone had to be DW...designated Jay volunteered his services to ensure we could get back to the show on time.

So we're headed back and its past 7:00pm. The tickets say to show up half hour before the start of the show (which was 7:30pm) bc the first five rows or something are only guaranteed up to 30 minutes before the start of the show. Luckily they hadn't given away our seats...2ND ROW CENTER! So sweet. And now we have giant (Fred later measured and found out they were 60 oz.) blended beverages of bliss too. Bring on the show!...but wait....while we were waiting for the show to start they had music playing over the speakers. And not just any music...but kick ass, old, funky type music. Like Brick House and the YMCA. So Pomo & I were rocking out in our chairs to the tunes. Even Fred joined in during the YMCA. So fun. Everyone around us was laughing at us for being so ridiculous but also bc we were being so AWESOME.

So now we're all pumped from our crazy good dancing, the good tunes & giant adult beverages. WOO HOO!!!So the show: Danny Gans. He's been voted the best Vegas performer for 10 years or something crazy ridiculous like that...which is also probably why his tickets were $110 each. Yea. Wowzers. Thing was totally worth it. The show was amazing. Unreal talented. Even the references that were over my head...I could still tell he was nailing them based on the crowd's reactions. I mean this one guy was impersonating...and doing it phenomenally well....everyone from Stevie Wonder to James Blunt & Anita Baker to Dean Martin and just about everything and everyone in between. Broke it up by 30s, 50s, 70s and so on...even threw in some contemporary stuff like James Blunt, Michael Buble, Howie Day & Five For Fighting. My favorite part had to be his Johnny Carson impersonation, especially his Karnak. Now Carson was a bit before my time, but I've seen some of his work and Karnak has always been my favorite (if you don't know need to go look him up on YouTube right now bc its hilarious...Carson puts on this giant genie-esque hat and holds a little envelope up to his head...then he tells you the answer to the card which seems harmless and boring enough...he proceeds to open the card then read what it says...which is the punchline...ok so it sounds stupid but I promise its hilarious). Most of the jokes are funny...but if the audience's reaction isn't good enough...he pulled out "insults" from inside his jacket pocket...which were just as clever and funny as the jokes. Danny Gans is just extremely talented and is worth seeing. Even Fred & Jason who have seen numerous shows in Vegas (like Jay Leno, The Blue Man Group & more...), said this was a 10 and was one of their favorites, if not their favorite.

After the show we're all jacked up from giant margaritas and a stellar show. The night is still young and I have yet to walk away from a blackjack table w/o winning money. So clearly more blackjack is in store. Now I can't remember if it was during this time but this is where I'm choosing to share the hand that you DREAM of getting. I got dealt two aces...and the dealer wasn't showing and ace or a ten so I split 'em...and hope for a double blackjack. The only problem here was that I put out a $35-$60 bet (can't remember exactly how much but it was (for me) substantially more than the $5 or $10 minimumbet) and now had to double it. Great!...big money, big money, no whammies, no whammies...STOP! Oh...wrong show...err...yea. Ok so here comes my two 10's....nope. First hit is ANOTHER ace. The play is to split I do. So now I had over $100 out on this hand/3 hands. If I get paid off on this hand I'm freaking ecstatic and feel UNBEATABLE. Well I didn't get any face cards or tens, but as I remember it I had decent hands...maybe an 18 or two. So what happened? WHAT HAPPENED??

....stay tuned until next time and I will tell all. Hahahahaha...kidding.

I honestly can't remember now. I think I ended up pusing on two hands and losing one, or possibly even pushing all three (but I don't remember all three hands being the that wouldn't work) but all I know is that the dealer didn't bust and I didn't get paid. I may have even lost all three...but that doesn't sound right either bc I'm PRETTY sure I would've remembered losing three times in one hand. Oh well. Whatever happened...I still managed to leave the table up dollars so its all good.

OH! I also forgot to say that we ran into three of the girls on our way to the tables and they told us everyone was going to the Playboy club at the Palm's around 11:00. Hey. Sounds sweet to me! Bring on more Vegas, baby!! Well what I didn't realize is that we had to all be there by 11pm (and so I didn't have time to change into something slick or clubbish...damn...guess that plain black polo was going to have to do....sad) or they might not let any of us in. So by the time everyone congregated it was almost 10:45. Yikes. Luckily the Palms isn't too far...but it was still three or four taxi rides due to the size of our group.

...and sadly...this is where this post ends bc its late (tho it won't show that bc I started it earlier today...or yesterday...but I swear its (wow) 12:34am right now (that wow was for Jim Bob and he would know why if he read this)) and I'm tired. So the next, and final, Vegas post will start with the Playboy club & end similar to the way the trip started...drinking at the airport :D

***I would also like to extend my sincerest thanks to those of you who have, in one way or another, told me you have read (and hopefully will keep reading!!) my blog and have enjoyed either my crazy stories or my writing style. So far this has been a lot of fun for me to do and I hope to be able to keep up with multiple posts each week. It makes it that much more fun and easy to find the time when you get positive feedback. So thank you again for reading and I hope to keep you all reading and entertained.***

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Dang gina...

So I've slept roughly 3-4 hours in the last 36 hours or so....and I haven't been in Vegas for a full 8+ days now. WTH?


Mongolia, Germany & Canada

How could those three countries possibly be related? I "visited" them all this weekend...that's how. Yea. What's up?!

Let's start with Friday night tho. A Year @ The Movies: 1981 went well. Two movies night down, and it seems like its catching on so there should be plenty more to come. Once again I had my heard set on a freaking action classic (Raiders of the Lost Ark) and the HufflePuffins brought in the dark horse winner (I don't even know what that means) to spoil my 80s action bliss. They brought Stripes which was the winning selection. Funnier than the 1980 winner, Airplane, but still not quite amazing. I'd give it 3.5/5 stars for quality, low brow humor, senseless nudity & a jacked up military RV of destruction. Nothing too exciting happened after the movie ended. I did download Bubble Bobble onto my Wii...which is AWESOME. That game is incredibly simple but so fun.

Saturday afternoon Dan & I went up to Everett (cities!!) to eat at Chang's Mongolia Grill (yay for a "visit" to Mongolia). Now the thing about Chang's is that its awesome. I mean its my favorite restaurant on the planet for any occasion except really special events...which don't happen very often (and my really special I'm talking anniversaries (not married yet so none of them) and uber romantic dates...things like that) so Chang's is the best. On the way back home we stopped by the Lynnwood (omg more cities) Best Buy to see what kind of trouble we could get into there. Turns out it was my turn to get into a little trouble (and my trouble I mean buying things I don't really need but that are awesome). I picked up Stevie Wonder's The Definitive Collection....mostly bc we heard a few Stevie songs @ Chopstix...and especially bc of my dad's Superstition request. Also picked up the Crossbow game for the Wii. Haven't had a chance to play yet but I hear its fun. Solid trip to Best Buy. w00t...wth? why aren't the zeroes taller than the letters? what a weak font. i'm so upset i can't even properly capitalize my thoughts. gd-it.

Get back to the house and chill for the mid part of the day...bc the big part of the day awaits us in the evening. We had planned on going over to the Shark Club in Kirkland (another city). Dan had been there before, and I was game to check it out and play wing man. Well before we left Dan looked up directions and found out they were having a live band play that AC/DC cover band of sorts. Might have been cool but we were looking to "bust a move" and not \m/ (think of that as a hand making the international sign for rock...see it? no? well then you clearly don't rock hard enough). Decide to just go to Dante's again....which is in Seattle (we live in Shoreline so that's another city...five?). We get there and THEY'RE HAVING A LIVE BAND PLAY. Unreal. We decided to stick around and see if they're any good bc the place is packed...and there's plenty of cute ladies. Well they sucked. Hard. So we left around 10:45 and decided to head back up the road to one of our favorite bars, Die Bierstube (a German bar, and sister bar of Prost! (our bar of choice when we lived near Greenlake) & Fieirabend (sp?)) there's our Germany visit. It was crowded, but one of our favorite bartenders was working...Mari. We hadn't seen her in awhile so it was good to see her. At this point tho we were both pretty bummed out that the night didn't go as we decided to just head home after Dan's first & only bier.

Damn. The big weekend plans are a bust. At least I was able to get Dan to drink two beers & do a shot before we he's got a little least I hope he did. (OMG I've had Stevie playing and Superstition just came on...YES!!) Well I had been texting my friend Sierra to come hang out with us since we were going to be heading back to our place. Now I've tried to get her to come out before and it takes massive amounts of pleading and promises of fun...and then she still usually won't come over....but this time she decided to come. Hooray! Well before she got over Dan decided to go to bed. Weak. It was maybe midnight...and a Saturday night! We could've made the best of it (haha...and boy did we...but just not with Dan) but he's Captain of the Anti-Fun Brigade...or to bed he went.

Sierra shows up and is disappointed Dan is asleep. Agreed. So we're just chillin' downstairs, catching up on things bc we haven't hung out in ages....and trying to think of something fun to do. Oddly enough...while I was peeing...I had this crazy idea of how ridiculous it would be to drive to Canada that night...really for no other reason than to say we left the country. So I come out of the bathroom and share my crazy (and highly unrealistic) idea. She agrees it would be crazy but also fun. After a few rounds of "are you serious? really want to go?"....we decide to go for it. WHAT?! Yep. Canada here we come. Well first we had to drive back to Bellevue (another city...this is like...what?...18? :P) to get her birth certificate so we could cross the border. I grabbed my passport so we're golden. Get to Bellevue...get the b.c. and head for B.C. (haha! sometimes my cleverness astounds me...) She drove to her place, then decided it was my turn to drive...all the way to Canada. Great. I get to drive the whole way. Thanks. Guess that means I'm in charge of the music. Booyah!

So we're off. Hit some rain. And a little snow as we passed through north Snohomish county, but nothing too bad. Then we got up into Mt. Vernon/Burlington area (yes more cities...) and I have this crazy idea for a side trip. We'll make a little detour to my family's campsite we own at this little private campground off Highway 20, up near Conrete (cities galore!). I don't have the key card to get in, but hope a gate is unlocked or maybe we can climb a fence and do something crazy like go skinny dipping in the Skagit River (OMG...would've been so cold) or the pool...tho I was pretty sure it would be drained bc its still winter. So we get there. All locked up. And we don't much feel like climbing a fence to then de-robe, jump in freezing cold water & not have a towel or anything to dry off with....maybe this plan was ill-conceived from the start. Dang. Turn around and get back on I-5. If anything...this side trip ate up some time so we don't arrive at the border at too ungodly of an hour. Nope. Wrong. Not the case.

After battling more snow and bad road conditions, we get to the border and decide our story is we're just coming up for the day. Well the border patrol guy was not having any of this. He asked where we were going and I said BC (which made sense in my head bc in Washington we refer to Vancouver, WA as Vancouver...and then Vancouver, BC is just BC)...whoops. I think this is where it all started to go downhill...and he said "its a big province...where exactly are you going?" to which I replied, Vancouver. Then he kept asking us where we were staying, and where exactly we were going...and I just kept saying "around." Its a day trip...we're not staying anywhere and we're just going to do whatever we want. He didn't like this one bit. He made me roll down the back window, bc its tinted, to make sure we weren't hiding anything? I guess. He then asked if we were carrying any "firearms or weapons" and I didn't hear so I said..."fire-able (as in able to fire...not a weapon related to fire...ok now we're clear) weapons?"...again he did not take kindly to this. He re-enunciated his question and I told him we had no such items. His final question was "have you slept at all?" and w/o thinking I responded with this gem..."yea i slept before I came up here." OMG. He hates us so bad now. Then he handed me a piece of paper and told us to park up to the left and go inside. Perfect. We're being detained. Sierra was shaking her head at me for failing to get us passed (I think I've been going with past...but I just realized that's wrong...past is "in the past" and passed is "we drove passed"...shoot....sorry) w/o incident.

This is the first time I've been detained. I have no idea what to expect. I guess she'd been detained before...but its hard to say what it'll entail at 5am on a Sunday morning. Ugh. At this point though...we're technically in Canada (I think) we made it and in doing so physically visited the last country from the aforementioned country list. Um. Yea sure. I guess the other countries were "visited" but I was actually in ha. And stuff.

Eventually another man calls us over and asks a few questions...where do you live?...where do you work? long have you known each other?....what are you doing here?....etc. We sit back down. Then he calls me over and asks me to empty my pockets, lift up my shirt (so he can see my ensure my claim of "no weapon" is still true) and then wants to see the tops of both my socks (ok I get it but wow). Asks me if I've ever been in trouble before with the law...been arrested...anything like that. Nope. He looks through my every credit card...through the cash (bc one of the questions at the border was are you carrying $10,000 or more in any currency) and then tells me I can sit down...but keeps the car that he can go out and inspect the car. Nothing there? Really? Maybe that's bc we're not hiding anything and your freaking uber-investigative border patrol man caught me so off guard and intimidated me like no other...that I answered nervously and sounded more suspect that I actually was. BLAME CANADA INDEED.

Sierra's turn. He's digging through her purse and finds her pepper spray. He then proceeds to tell her that pepper spray is considered a firearm in Canada, and its not allowed. WTH?! Yea. So he has to confiscate it. I guess he kept moving it further and further away from her and he continued to ask her questions and inspect her items. Weird. He lets her sit back down. After a little bit he calls her back up to sign a form, which states she gave him permission to destroy the pepper spray. LOL. I guess he gave her the benefit of the doubt that she didn't know pepper spray wasn't allowed (which she did not know) and so she wasn't in any trouble. Good. That was about the only break we caught. We then called me over and told me we were free to enter the country. Sweet. Another detour...only 30 minutes this time. So now its 5:30am and we're in Canada. Shibby.

Head into the country towards BC, but decide that's kind of far way so maybe we'll just stop in Surrey (foreign cities!!) and see what's open. Um. We get kind of lost. Not sure where we are...but everything we pass is closed. Hmmm. Well...probably should just head back then. Turn around. Don't see a sign for Seattle so we end up driving passed (ah!) where we originally turned off the highway...bc we saw a Seattle sign on our way into the town. Um. If I confused you just now...don't worry...its not that important. Ok. So we're back on the highway towards the border. We get there and its this sweet old dude. Nice guy. Asks us where we're from and how long we've been in Canada...

"Uhhh...about 20 minutes? "
"Wait what?"
"Yea. We had this crazy idea to come up for the day but got here and lost all our enthusiasm so we decided to just head back home."
"And they admitted you into the country?
"So what time did you leave to come up here?"
"So you drove up in the middle of the night...why don't you want to stay now?"
"Everything is closed."

And the guy just looked at us like we were crazy and told us to move on. He was hilarious. The look on his face was priceless...kind of like " kids are crazy." Oh man he was great. Wish we could have had him going into the country...oh well.

So now its roughly 6am and we're headed back for home. Hopefully no more detours, and we can be back in Seattle for some breakfast around 8am....and then hopefully one of our roommates will wake up...see we're both gone and call us to see what's going on. (Now I get ahead of the timeline here...but neither of them called...which was too bad bc we were both hoping one of them would...would've been HI-larious. Oh man.) Still not too tired yet, and feel good about getting back home to sleep. We both have to pee but for whatever reason forget to stop off to take care of that...probably bc we hit a freaking snowstorm. I'm talking GI-NORMOUS flakes the size of dollar bills. Seriously...ok well not that big...but they were huge. Now the roads are covered in snow & probably getting home will now take longer bc we slow down to be safer. A lot of good this did.

So we're going along nice and smooth and up ahead I see a semi truck in front of us, but well enough ahead, in the right lane. In the left lane was another car...about 30-40 feet behind the truck...but in the other lane. As we approached the truck I tried to slow down as not to hit the truck or spin out of control by skidding on the ice. Feelin' like I have it all under control when this stupid other car decides to change lanes behind the truck...with no blinker...and effectively cut us off (there was a still a good amount of distance between us but bc of the inclement weather conditions this was like cutting someone off on the freeway by a few inches) now I have a car a lot closer to me than the truck was and I can tell I'm not going to be able to stop in time w/o hitting the breaks too I try and change lanes as carefully as possible to continue slowing down and miss this car at the same time. I was able to miss the car...but in my attempt to change lanes the car started to skid. I did my best to steer into the skid and regain control before the car spun out of control. Nope. The road was so slick that was soon as I tried to attempt to right the car...the back end spun out to the left...then back to the right...and the whole car followed to the right and the front end started to come back around but at that point we were off to the left side of the road and had skidded to a halt in a ditch. A small ditch...thankfully. Somehow the car didn't stall and was still running. I turned it off and made sure Sierra was ok. She said she was fine but looked visibly shaken. Understandable.

***RELATED SIDE STORY***In December of 2006 I was driving with a friend over to Spokane to meet up with some old college friends. This was right after the big windstorm we had. So it was wet and cold out...and had been really windy the night before. Roads seemed fine. Nope. Wrong again. I went to change lanes just like any normal person would...and hit an icy patch or something that caused the car to start skidding. The genius that I am....I hit the brakes and this only makes things worse. We ended up doing about an 1100 degree rotation in the car...across all four lanes of I-90 and back. It all happened so fast but wow was it freaky. The car stalled out and we were angled towards the right. How did that happen...I was only changing lanes? Wow. Thankfully there was no absolutely no traffic (and it was only 8am so there very well could have been more traffic) and we were able to start back up and continue on our way. Still crazy to think about...three full rotations in my car and then some. Dang. So while this most recent "Canadian" spin out wasn't as "bad" it reminded me of this occasion and made me realize how much I now fiercely hate driving in snow or any kind of inclement weather.

Now did the guy who cut us off slow or stop after making us wipe out? NO. WHAT AN ASS. We were both livid. We were able to get back on the road and were looking for the next exit. Get off at a rest stop...and the guy (no wait it was a woman!) who cut us off also pulled into the rest stop. Paid us no attention at all. Figures. We get out, expecting the worst...and the car appears to be fine. Its dark and snowing...but there's no visible body dents...scrapes...scratches...nothing....nothing but a lot of mud all over the side of the car and stuck in the rims. Whew. Pee and come back and remove the lodged dirt with a stick. Ok. That was pretty awful but we're ok and we'll just take it real slow.

After about 10 minutes I feel that something still isn't right so we pull off again. The front passenger tire is flat. Great. Get in the trunk and she has a full size spare. Good. do you get the jack out? twist this and push and pull and its out. Took way too long and it made me feel really stupid. Put it down and get the car up. Start on the lug nuts with the lug wrench and see a cop pull up near where we were parked (in this little parking lot). We figure he'd come by to make sure we were ok. Nope. You gotta be kidding me...I mean yes we had it under control but still. I guess it was a-hole driver morning or something. Get all the lug nuts off except one...which is round. What? How the hell do you get a round lug nut off? I guess you need a special key. Shoot. This car is fairly new for her enough that she's not had to deal with this before and isn't even sure if she has the key. At least its NOT SNOWING...oh wait it was. Thankfully tho she found the key and I was able to get the tire off. Get the new one one. And we're back in business. I'm dirty. Cold. Tired. Exhausted. She decides to drive.

Get back to Marysville (last city...thank God!) and it feels like its driving funny. Great. Get off bc there is a Schwab right off the freeway. Oh wait...they're closed on Sundays. Perfect. She decides its fine and it was just the ice/snow on the road that was causing it to feel funny. Get back on the freeway and make it back to my place. WOW! That didn't go anything like we planned. But we're back...and safe...and the car seems to be driving fine again. I go in and get ready to head to bed...but am going to stay up until she texts me to let me know she got home safely. While I'm waiting Dan wakes up and asks me why I'm up so early. HA! I tell him I haven't gone to sleep yet...WHAT!? Yea....I just got back. He looks confused. Back from where? Wait...I don't have a car and his keys were in his room which was locked. Oh wait...he remembers Sierra was here and had a car. His no longer confused and only slightly shocked I'm still awake...then I tell him all of this and the shock returns to his face. Not only did I go to Canada but we spun out on the freeway and got a flat tire. He thinks its one of the craziest stories he's ever heard..and I agree.

Little while later I get my text from Sierra. Home and safe. Good. Tho now I'm not tired bc I'm all jacked up again from telling my story to Dan. Great. Watch a little TV then finally fall asleep around 9:40am...and set my alarm for 12:30 so as not to sleep all day and not be able to sleep come night. Got up around 1:00 or so and that was that. Met my mom, sister, brother, aunt & g-ma (well my mom came and picked me up bc I still have no car) for birthday (sister & g-ma's) dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory. Delicious. Makes me even more tired.

Come back home and struggle to stay awake until now...10:43pm on Sunday evening. Some adventure. Its kind of funny, and exciting now bc we're both ok and as far as we know there's been no permanent damage to anything...except maybe our fondness of Canada (lol...that was never there tho)...still don't want to experience anything like that ever again.

Damn. This postponed the final Vegas entries...hopefully I can get to those tomorrow...if I can stay awake :)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Who sings this song?

Massively out of context title for this entry, but allow me to explain so you too can experience the shear horror I endured last night....

Yesterday was my little sister's 21st birthday, and seeing as most of her friends aren't old enough to take her out, or are away at school in Spokane, we made it a family affair (and my roommate Dan joined the party too). Now a 21-run with your parents doesn't sound all too exciting, I know, but for an inexperienced drinker (how weird does that sound?...of course she has no experience at 21...then again many of you had plenty by the time you were 21 so maybe that's so weird anymore now is it :P) it was probably a good call. Parents foot the bill, you're in a safe environment (don't have to worry about people handing you evil birthday drinks) & you know you have a responsible driver to take you home. It turned out to be a lot of fun. Not typical 21-run fun (sorry for that rhyme...ugh), but a good time nonetheless.

(...yes I'm getting to my point about the title relating to this post...hold on)

So all this family drinking (except yours truly who is still holding strong to the year of sobriety challenge) took place at Chopstix, on lower Queen Anne. It's a dueling piano bar, and while the crowd wasn't very big, it was a decent sized crowd for a Wednesday. If you have never been to a bar like this, I recommend it. Go with a few friends. Enjoy. There are two pianos facing each other, and they play songs based on audience requests. Typically you go put your request on the piano with $1 or more, and the more $$$ you put with your request the higher probability it will get played. The other good part of the smaller crowd last night was all our requests were being played. Sooooooooooooo (here comes the aforementioned promise of relating to the blog) my roommate requested "Hey Jude," which was a great selection. Lots of fun to sing along with, while two guys are playing away on the pianos. After about a minute into the song or so, my sister leans towards me and asks, "who sings this song?" I swear I'm not lying. Honestly. She really said that. She did go on to say she'd heard the song, and knew the tune, but for whatever unthinkable reason had no idea who made it famous.

Now I realize we all have different tastes in music, but everyone has heard of The Beatles. Even my sister has...she just didn't know one of their more popular songs I guess. So after I got up off the floor (the shear shock of her question sent me flying across the room, out of my chair and onto the floor...(ok well that's all a lie, but if I had been in a movie, that's how it would've happened)) I asked her with a stunned faced, "are you serious?" She was. OMG. I fell over again (but not really). I said it was by the single most famous band of all time....and she still had nothing. Not a clue. Not one iota (ioda? i-yoda? i-pod? what?) about who I was talking about. When I finally told her it was sung by The Beatles, all she could muster was an, "oh...ok." D'oh! per standard,, entire universe encompassing (ok so I know universal works here, but I felt it didn't quite deliver the magnitude of the deal) regulations, I disowned her as my sister. And per The Office unofficial rules of life to abide by (yes I made that up, but this does come from The Office so go with it), I also shunned my sister...with appropriate hand motion to denote the shunning.

Wow. I'm still a little upset by all this...and now even more so bc I just had to recount the event. Silly little former sister of mine (:P).

Other than that massive fiasco, I enjoyed the evening. Spent almost 4.5 hours there (whoa!), but after the music started the time just flew by. Some other highlights of the night were one of the piano players coming over to take a picture of himself with my mom with our camera...only the flash takes REALLY long so he ended up taking a picture of her chest. THAT was hilarious (sorry mom but that was really funny). That same guy also decided to give an "instant request" to our table, meaning whatever we said...he would play. So of course my dad shouts out....what else?...."Superstition" by Stevie Wonder. LOVE IT. Great song, but made even better by the fact that someone asked for a song, any song, and my dad came up with that. So awesome. I also enjoyed the part where my mom asked me if I wanted to go on a blind date....wait, what?

(definitely need a new paragraph for this)...Yep. My mom is trying to hook me up on a blind date. Well so I thought. Turns out she's already put it in motion....and asking me was just to confirm that I would actually go on a date she promised to this woman. Geez mom. No pressure. Or anything. Or. What? **side note: punctuation. is. fun. when. you. use. it. inwhateverwayyoufeellike. yea.**So my sister &/or mother have been seeing this massage therapist for their ailing bodies and for some reason...I still don't know how or why this ever came to be (perhaps I'm complaining for no reason bc I am actually excited to go on this blind date) but apparently my mom has told her about me, and she has agreed to go out with me on a blind date. Sadly the first thing out of my mouth was "is she cute?" I'm so shallow....I'm ashamed of myself...well at least I didn't ask if she was "hot" or something...cute is ok yea? eh...ok. Well my mom said yes, and my sister agreed (sorry mom...but with things like this...I'm going to trust Sarah's opinion of cute a little more than your' I'm talking directly to my mother even tho she's @ her house and I am @ mine...I know she reads. So this works. And its my blog so I can do what I like...weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! in point).

So I got her number from my mom, but haven't called her yet. This was last night, Wednesday night, and after a stressful day at work yesterday, and what promised to be almost as stressful today....I knew I wouldn't feel up to going out tonight: Thursday. Jueves. SPANISH! And this weekend is already full for me. So I may call her later this weekend to try and set something up during the week...or for next weekend. Apparently she likes Thai. And I do too. So dinner is already set...just have to decide on a place. Beyond this I know very little more about her. She is 28. Around 5'4" (OMG! So we were talking about being tall and I said I wished I were 6'2" instead of 6'0" and my sister didn't see what the big deal was...I told her that for guys being tall is money...the difference is all the difference...and I feel like 6'2" would be ideal...then my mom said she would make me seem taller bc she is so much shorter than I sister was confused how another person was going to make me taller and said something to the effect of "she can't make Matthew taller"...and everyone smiled and laughed at how that could be taken out of context...or even in be was hilarious....kudos to my sister for that gem) and her last name is something like Nishamura but I guess she is of Hawaiian decent (I had a friend growing up who was from the Philippines...not Hawaii...but if she looks anything like that...then WOW...bc she was attractive...hmm....Hawaii is not the Philippines...and I think there's one more 'p' in that country's name (yep I was short a 'p' but thankfully this thing has a wicked good spell checker)...oh well on both accounts)). So she's a little older....a little little...with an exotic heritage...she likes you can see why I'm so psyched for the date :D So whenever that happens I will be sure to blog about that (well...what I can anyway :P) bc it should be fun...and it will be the first blind date I've ever been on...and the first "Date" I've been on in awhile...then again I haven't been on many of those explain: date v. Date.

date: what you take your girlfriend out in the middle of the week or for no particular reason other than she's your girlfriend and you want to go out and do something fun with her...also when friends meet up for "coffee dates...lunch dates...and the like" but when its clear its just a friendly meeting that has now colloquially been dubbed a "date."

Date: when you take your girlfriend out for a very specific reason or celebration, when two people exchange numbers and meet up at a later date to "go out on a Date," when someone outside the two Datees, or even one or both of them, agrees to meet up blindly to go on a "blind Date."

See the difference? This is my opinion on the matter, and I've taken plenty of crap for it, and I don't always explain it well enough to make sense to others, but it makes sense to me. Not trying to sound "snooty" or arrogant or harsh or stubborn or haughty or or or or or (ok sorry I'm done) anything like that. I just don't have a problem strongly stating my opinion...with a lot of things.

And speaking of dating...I've never been a "Dater" by my own definition...but I think I'm ready to try and give Dating a real shot. I've had four girlfriends and I never really "Dated" any of them beforehand...tho kinda sorta with the most recent one...but we met almost six years prior and sort of knew each I'm not sure. And I haven't talked to her since we broke up. I didn't expect us to be best friends right away or anything, but I figured after awhile we'd start talking and hopefully remain friends. I said I wanted to. I still do. I really feel we're better suited as friends...which sucks now bc we had to date before I realized feelings were hurt which is never what I want....but it happens....and its unfortunate. So its been over two months now and I haven't heard from her. I bought her a card a week or two ago to send her. Just a nice little, hope you're having a good day kind of card...but I don't know what to write in it...if anything more than what the card says. I wish things like this weren't so difficult....hopefully it will work out somehow....if not then I guess that's the way its meant to be.

Ok well this was supposed to be about my fun night with my sister on her 21st birthday and it turned a little more emotionally deep than I thought it would....meh. I can't help what's on my mind....its got a mind of its own. HA!

Stay tuned for (hopefully soon before I forget) the exciting, and final installments (days 2 & 3) of my trip to Vegas.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Don't they have dolphins here? (Vegas, pt. 1)

I've been slacking on blog updates. I know. I'm sorry. How about a nice long entry about how amazing my recent trip to Vegas was to make up for the lack of recent reading material? Yea? I thought so.

Before I start, I need to preface this fabulous tale of Las Vegas with a bet. A bet made between two longtime friends on the 31st of December in the year 2007 (so very recently). The terms of the bet were simple: no consumption of alcohol could take place for the entire year of 2008, except for the 17th, 18th & those days related to the Vegas trip. Therefore, the double Jack & Coke (in a short glass) I had @ 6:30am on the 17th @ SeaTac was allowable bc I was waiting to board my flight for Vegas. So too was the Heineken & shot of Captain Morgan's I had at the Vegas airport on the 19th while waiting for my return flight home (coincidentally these were the only drinks I paid for the entire trip...and they were but a small fraction of the drinks consumed). However, when I met up with the guys later on the 19th, back in Seattle @ Dante's, no alcohol was the Vegas trip was officially over. So while I drank plenty of drinks in Vegas, the bet is still on and shall be won by yours truly come the 31st of December in 2008. (Now the payoff is only $10...but my friend who offered to bet me money on this year of sobriety never bets on when he offered to make a wager, I was totally it now adds an additional aspect to the year of sobriety (which was just something I decided to do as sort of a New Year's resolution/money saving tactic/beer gut reducing tactic/challenge to myself to see if I could do it))

So. Vegas.

4:48am, Thursday, January 16th, Shoreline, WA (OMG that was too many commas!): My alarm goes off, and I hate it...but unlike most days I am up without hitting snooze bc its time for VEGAS!!!

5:00am: After getting some last minute things together, I take a quick shower and pack up the last of my suitcase items. Double check to make sure I have all the necessities...toothpaste (check), toothbrush (check), mouthwash (check), cologne (check), various types of body cleansing products (soap, shampoo, face wash (check)), q-tips (check...shut up they're important). Suitcase is all packed up. Carry on bag is stuffed with goodies: Cheez-its, PSP (brand new! w00t!), PSP game/video case, ipod, deck of cards & gum. All set to go.

5:20-5:40am: In the car, headed to Sarah's (aka BG-2, aka Pomona) apartment to pick her up as well. Pick her up and off to SeaTac we go! (Funny side note...Pomo got in and the first thing she said was something to the effect of "Vegas baby!!!"...fantastic.)

just before 6:30am: Arrive at the airport (I tried to tell Dan there wouldn't be traffic and we didn't need to leave 2.5 hours before the flight, but oh well). Get checked in rather quickly, and proceed towards our gate. Funny thing here is that the guy checking us in didn't ask for my ID, just Sarah's, even though the reservations were under my name. Whoops.

6:35-6:40am: Arrive @ the Africa Lounge inside SeaTac. Definitely need some breakfast...and a drink. Well...Sarah needed some drinkage to help calm her nerves on the plane (she has a terribly real fear of flying). I decided that a double Jack & Coke in a short glass was the perfect compliment to breakfast, and a great way to start the Vegas trip. Indeed it was.

7:40am: Board the plane. Sarah asked to change to seats closer to the front of the plane, and so we were the first row in coach. Bad decision Sarah. There was no leg room...and no seats in front of us that I could put my legs under. We did get to sit next to this guy who broke his leg skiing over the weekend. He was cool. Sarah thought we were twins bc we both had gauges & black ipods. Meh. I'm still bitter about the lack of leg least I had Dr. Mario. :)

10:15/10:20am: Arrive in Vegas. Flight was quicker than scheduled, so that was a good sign. Seeing as we were seated so close to the front, we were off before Fred & Jason (my two bosses, who were on the same flight as us...we knew this...just failed to mention this before now), so we decided to take the "moving walkways" up and down the hall several times while watching for them to exit the plane. Whoops. After several trips we realized nobody was coming off the plane anymore so we must have missed them. Yep. Meet up with them at baggage claim. Get our bags, wait forever for a taxi in the FREEZING COLD. No kidding. OMG it was colder in Vegas than in least it felt that way.

11:00am: Cab ride to the Mirage, our hotel. We think our cab driver is a porn director bc he moved out to Vegas for "film school" and is driving a cab until his "home business" can get up and running...and his "website" should be up by month's end. HA. He was fun but totally in the porn industry. I'm convinced of it. So is Pomo.

11:20/11:30: Arrive @ the Mirage. Check in. Room is nothing special. Nice view of industrial Vegas. Meh.

Noonish: Decide to get some grub. Eat at this little restaurant in the hotel. Had a nice little Turkey Club w/ some fries. While we were there, one of the employees got every one's attention to sing happy birthday to a woman who was turning 80. Becca would've loved her. So we sang to her...forget her name tho. Oh well. Finish up eating and now its time to GAMBLE.

12:45/1:00-6:00: Blackjack. Lots of it. Little @ the Mirage. Caught the tram and played a little @ Treasure Island (TI). Didn't leave a single table down any money, and was usually up at least $50 (and we were hitting up the cheap tables so $10-$15 tables that night). I'm stoked to be up at all, even if its not much. Sarah made a killing too. She was up like $300 or $400. Solid.

6:00-6:45: Get ready for dinner and take a quick 10 minute power nap. FANTASTIC. Head over to the Venetian to eat @ Tao and run into the rest of the group, some of whom got there after we did on Thursday, and a small handful who came down Wednesday night. Everyone looks very nice, but I was still a little unsure about this pre-planned menu. Luckily for me (but not for the bosses bc they picked up my share of the bill ($125 per person..WHOA!)) I got to partake in the Asian themed feast for free. And let me tell you it was DELICIOUS. OMG. Battered shrimp stick things, pork fried rice, phad thai noodles, wasabi encrusted fillet mignon, tao temple salad, ginger or garlic chicken skewers, kung pao was all so amazing. I don't think I would've paid $125 for it, but it was damn tasty. So thanks again to the bosses for treating me there. Didn't have any dessert bc I was so full...but that too looked decadent, delicious & tantalizing.

9:30: Dinner is winding down, and after getting some pleading from Darci, Sarah & I decide to join the rest of the group at a private VIP table @ Tao Nightclub (which is right next door to the restaurant). We had to pay $40 but that provided us special service, our own booth & several bottles of booze. Ok fine...I'm up more than that at this point so why not.

9:30-10:30: Free time before we had to meet back up to get into the club. So Sarah & I hit the tables downstairs at the Venetian. More blackjack & again I don't leave a table w/o winning money. Its fantastic. I'm feeling great. Head back up to the club, and hear a bunch of ABC TV stars are eating in Tao....whoop-dee-doo...but I guess Johnny Knoxville was also there too. He would've been kind of cool to see in person. But no. No big deal. Well now I guess they aren't going to let us in until 11:00pm and some of the group is pissed and decided "we don't need anything from them" so we're no longer doing the VIP thing. Sweet. $40 back to me. And now Fred, Jason, Sarah & I decided to go play more Blackjack instead of wait around to get into the "normal version" of the club...or something. Meh.

Rest of the night until 1:30/2:00: Playing. Winning. Still haven't left a table down money...and at this point Jason retires for the night. Sarah & I decided to stay up for 24 hours (save for my 10 minutes power nap) roughly until 5:00am.

3:00am: Sarah goes to bed. Weak. Fred gives her he should.

3:01-5:05am: I watch Fred play, play a little myself...go up & down but still manage to always leave up money...if even $5 or $10. While I watch Fred he orders me beers with his beers. So he's playing...he gets free drinks...but managed to get me free beer even though I was only watching him play. For awhile I did sit and play @ his table. There was a group of guys (who had been at this other table for a good 4-6 hours) that would yell "WE DON'T...WE DON'T...WE DON'T MESS AROUND...YEA!" every time something good happened to the table. This got annoying after about three rounds. So Fred decides we should do "the wave" & shout if everyone @ our table wins either from a dealer bust or everyone having winning hands. After those hands, we'd count to three then stand up, flail our arms and ROAR victoriously. It was hilariously fun. Fred was in rare upbeat, frisky & fun (not that he's not fun at work, but it was a different kind of fun bc it was Vegas & not the office)...I also blame the Budweisers for this. HA! Eventually it gets to be after 5:00 so I retire to bed...and Fred gives me crap. WHOA. I was the third to go down & made it past 5:00, for a 24 hour day. WHOA. Meh.

5:30am: In bed and asleep...but have to get up by 10:00am to meet up with people for In & Out, then bowling @ 1:00....YAWN....and I'm out.

This ends Day 1. It was great. I forgot to include the countless Heineken's I was downing. Seriously it had to be up around 20+ between when I started gambling after lunch and when I went to bed. At some point...this topless dancer from Florida (who was clothed at the time) sat next to Fred at his table, while Jason, Sarah & I were across the way. Apparently she was fun. Fred apologized for not hooking me up with her...haha...glad he didn't.

Favorite dealers of Day 1: Brian (TI), Kitty (TI), Phung (Mirage), Tony (fastest hands in the West (Mirage)) & pit boss Charles over @ the Venetian.

Favorite quotes:

"I'm here to meet my two wives (sleazy chuckle)." -guy entering the lunch cafe as we left
(in response to this) "I wonder if polygamy is allowed here?" -Sarah
"What do you mean?" - Me
"You know...all the Mormons?" -Sarah
"Uhhhh...Mormons?" -Me
"Yeah...because we're in Utah...oh wait...shit/damnit/some expletive when she realized we weren't in Utah." -Sarah
(I probably butchered that (sorry Sarah)...but it was hilarious. I kid you not.)

(to the front desk lady after asking us about them, and after we pointed out gold ones in the front body of water, only to be scolded at...) "Do you guys have dolphins here?" -Sarah
"Yes. There's no show, because they are here for research, but they are around back and its fun to watch them at feeding times." -Front desk lady (from new quote)

"Fred, how do you know she's from Montana?" -Sarah, to Fred
"She is...ask her." -Fred
"Are you?" -Sarah
(as she pulls her hair back and her name tag says she's from Montana) "Yes." -Front desk lady

LOL. Sarah was on fire this trip :D

So a great start to the trip, but as I was at 5:30am then, I am also tired now. Stay tuned for more tales at the tables, more amazing food, a FABULOUS show, a "bunny" visit & my run in with a wild mountainous feline (HA!...a cougar...get it? no? better ask someone else then :P)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

WTH?...Hawks...Technology....& Local Drivers

Seriously. I think I use that word a lot...but seriously. 42-20? FORTY FREAKING TWO!?! (for those of you are do not like sports, football, seattle football, my super mega blog entry about sports, or just long rambling rants about things you're only interested in bc that cute guy from accounting likes sports, so you pretend to (also...BOO! for those who fall into this are the second worst type of 'sports fan' there is...second only to people who are bandwagon this year with Green Bay and the resurrection of Brett Favre...or the Cowboys 'fans' during the early 90's when they won three Super Bowls...or anyone who claims to be a Yankees fan even thought they don't live there, have never lived there, or even visited there...horrible)) ...then you should probably not read this top section. phew.

(also. punctuation is I enjoy it more than I probably should. at I use it. i guess i don't like commas so much as these: .... (I think it creates a more dramatic pause affect where as people just read over commas...but I guess those same people who probably just're....not...really there. so idkwtf.))

So the Hawks.

The good (this will be short...really short): first two Green Bay possessions result in fumbles that we use to score two quick touchdowns and go up 14-0. Tying for the most points scored in the 1st quarter of a playoff game (28 combined points (14-14)). The end.

The bad: allowing Green bay to so quickly get back into the game. It was 14-14 at the end of the 1st quarter (see how the good was actually a bad? yea...that's a problem)...allowing Green Bay to score on six straight possessions (which is especially bad considering the first two possessions were fumbles)...the fact that those six straight scores were TOUCHDOWNS (I just threw up a little)...allowing RYAN MOTHER FREAKING GRANT to run for a franchise record 200+ yards and three rushing TDs....who? ryan mother what? exactly. who? A NOBODY...only scoring six freaking points (2 FGs...good game Josh Brown (no really...he actually looked good)) over the final 50+ minutes of a 60 minute game...not getting any pressure whatsoever on Brett Favre...not stopping Green Bay on any (ok maybe a few LATE in the game when it was already over) 3rd down...the Green Bay punter not playing for the first three quarters (and possibly not ever (tho they did stop scoring after 42, tho I also stopped watching) I could be wrong about him not playing at all)...and that's all I remember right now....but that's a lot of badness. OMG we played so bad...oh wait...Green Bay's 42 points is the most the team has ever score in a playoff game...EVER...and this was a team that was a perennial power house....that's won multiple Super Bowls...and when Brett Favre was younger....was VERY good. So that fact that our defense (somewhere int he top 5, at least top 7 in the league in scoring defense) gave up that many points is ludicrous...and not in the good way like the rapper. ha. not even a clever pop culture reference can cheer me about was that bad.

It got so bad that I said I was going to stop watching if we let them score one more time. At that point they had only scored touchdowns on five straight when they punched in the sixth...I was done. And that takes a lot for me to give up like that. This is my favorite football team. I was SO excited that we got by the Redskins and had a shot at taking down Green Bay if we played up to our potential. And I can take a loss....just not a blow out, embarrassment of a loss like Green Bay put on us. Oh well. Hopefully we can get healthy, re-sign/keep around the key players...and GET RID OF SHAUN ALEXANDER. Don't get me wrong...he was great a few years back when he wasn't as old...but these last few years (granted yes...there have been injuries but still...) have hit him hard and he looks several steps slower with a noticeable lack of tenacity. He used to be money on short yard I get excited anytime he gets more than two yards...or even just falls forwards on a play instead of falling backwards after taking any contact. We need to get rid of him...keep Mo Morris (bc he fits great with this new passing attack) and then pick up a bigger bodied, bruising, hard nosed, short yardage guy....who can grind out the yards for time eating drives at the end of games....someone like Marion Barber. That dude is a beast...especially for not being "that big." He runs people over...and doesn't go down on the first hit unless several people tackle him. He runs with an FEROCIOUS INTENSITY that is the very thing our "star" running back now lacks. I'd even take Jacob Hester of the LSU Tigers. Not as big as Barber, but a tough, hard nosed running back who is hard to tackle and incredibly "football intelligent." Yea. Hester would be money.

Then there was my computer earlier today. Started typing backwards. Frealz. I would type the word "technology" and the computer would put the "t," but then return the cursor in front of the the "t" and put the "e" it looked like this "ygolonhcet" (which coincidentally is INCREDIBLY hard to convince your brain that the word is actually spelled right, just backwards...OMG you have no idea. It was this inter-cranial struggle between the rational & logistical...or verbal...or linguistical..or whatever part of my brain that tells me "you know...that word just looks can't be spelled with two e''s wrong." It was incredibly difficult to even type one sentence because it went against everything my brain has been taught about spelling words correctly. I first noticed it as I started to blog...and eventually typed out a sentence...but stupidly closed out and restarted my computer to fix the problem. I SHOULD HAVE POSTED A BACKWARDS BLOG...that would've been so sweet. oh well. Stupid. Freaking. Technology. Ugh. So there that was.

And lastly...and yet ever present are the lovely people who attempt to drive on the roads of Seattle with me. I could really go on and on about the people out on the road attempting to pass off what they're doing behind the wheel of their cars as "driving," but I'll try to keep it brief instead...PUT DOWN THE CELL PHONE....DO YOUR MAKEUP @ HOME...DRINK YOUR COFFEE BEFORE OR AFTER WORK, NOT IN THE CAR...AND DON'T attempt to do any or all of these simultaneously while driving. And drive the speed limit. I know I'm not the best driver, and am probably a little over aggressive at times, but I'm never THAT BAD. Ugh. Ok so I started this several days ago and just got back to it, so clearly I lose my original train of thought. Oh well.

El Fin.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sweater vests, bluetooth headsets & why I "hate" my roommate

Seeing as most of my entries so far have been very long, I've decided to keep this one brief...but hopefully still awesome.

Sweater vests: I remember over a year ago when I wanted a sweater vest but no one carried them. Now they are everywhere and I wish I could prove that I was ahead of the seemingly popular (and current) trend of wearing sweater vests...but I can't. My burden to bear I guess. I bring this up because I went looking for a belt today (because I somehow forgot to put mine on before I left for work) and found some sweater vests...reasonably I decided they were worth a shot...a shot to be sweet & as awesome as I once thought they were. Jeah.

Bluetooth headsets: I currently want/need one bc it is now illegal to talk on your cell phone in the car w/o a "hands free" device. If you have a free one you want to give me, please let me know.

Why I "hate" (the " " are bc I don't hate him, but think its crap that the following scenario has been played all too often, and will continue to continue...ha. words are fun...) my roommate: replace the office with our apartment/townhouse, replace the sword fighting with playing Xbox & keep the bad excuse for I'm actually "doing work (compiling code)" the same.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Technology = teh sux

Seriously. At this very moment I am currently at war with a machine in our office that is supposed to fold pieces of paper, and then stuff them into envelopes. All I'm asking it to do is stuff one sheet of folded paper per envelope. It's not that hard. I mean...I'm sure the machine is much more complicated and complex, but its worked for me just fine in the past. I guess I am asking it to do a "C-fold" (three sections with both folds going on top of the middle section) instead of my customary request for a "Z-fold" (three sections of the paper, with one fold going on top and one going underneath the middle section). Seems easy enough right? FALSE. Stupid machine still won't cooperate. It's telling me to "clear the sealer." Well I'm not using the sealer (a function that actually moistens the envelope and seals it as it spits out the stuffed envelope), and am using a programmed setting that has the sealer OFF....AAAAAAAAND there's so sealer solution anyway. Taking out the empty bottle didn't do the I just. don't. know. Gonna try and find something online that gives me a quick fix otherwise I get to stand there pressing "trial piece" and watch fold & stuff one piece at a time. Faster than doing it by hand? Yes. Still a monumental waste of my time? Yes. Damn machines.

So I've decided to "put the machine in timeout" until tomorrow. I turned it off and unplugged it. Hopefully this will reset it, or give it time to realize how stupid its acting. I don't care what happens so long as it works properly tomorrow. We'll see tho...

Earlier today I was thinking about some of the weird phone calls I get when I cover the front desk. Yesterday I had a guy call up looking for one of the BLCs (Banking Loan Consultants) who's manager is also my manager here at the HLC, but BLCs work in one or more branches. Now all of my manager's BLCs work in Seattle, but spread out all over. This particular man worked at the MLK Jr branch as well as Rainier. So this guy who called is irritated that he's called so many number now, and still can't get ahold of this guy. I told him the BLC did not work here, but I could give him the number listed for this BLC on our contacts sheet. About 30 seconds later the same guy was calling back...apparently getting transferred from the number (that I just gave him) he called. So now this guy is all kinds of pissed off and taking it out on me. What didn't help was that English was not his first language, and so as he got more irritated it became increasingly harder to understand him. He eventually hung up...and I just laughed. I understand the frustration, but hanging up isn't going to help you get ahold of this guy. Oh well.

Then some guy called from California looking for the list of homes with WaMu mortgages that were going into default...or something like that. He was looking for the "main branch" or "headquarters" where he could get this list. I told him no such branch existed, which is true, but that most of the CEOs and big wigs for the company work in Seattle. He was much more understanding and thus proceeded to just talk my ear off for the next five minutes before I could give him the number of the switchboard...which hopefully could direct him to the right place. I don't understand why so many people are given our number (Home Loan Center) for anything relating to loans. We are not loan servicing, we are not processors, we do not have lists for anything...we only take loan applications/originate loans. Meh. That guy was a little off, but pleasant and so I didn't mind his ramblings as much.

Then a guy called looking for someone who was out of the office that day. I asked if I could take a message or transfer him to her voicemail. He opted for the ladder....well the cheat sheet for how to do that was gone so I had to go searching for it. Found it. Followed the directions...but I'm pretty sure I hung up on the guy. Sorry guy. Then I tried to forward a call from the front desk to someone's direct line in the office and thought I remembered how to do that. Nope. Ended up playing the "I'm just covering and my cheat sheet is gone so can I give you her direct line?" card....the stupid lady said she already had that number. ugh. THEN CALL THAT NUMBER FIRST!!! OMG. Don't call the front desk, looking for a specific person, when you have that person's direct line. Seriously. That makes you look incompetent. Or lazy. Or both. Either way she won the award for worst phone call of the day.

Then there's the lady I'm currently trying to help. She called up and harassed Lo at the front desk about a loan servicing issue. I told her that, due to the nature of her problem, she really need to contact loan servicing to get the answers she was looking for. Nope. This lady was going to be difficult. She already called them and they gave her a "cookie cutter" answer....which was not the answer she wanted. So I agreed to take the call from her, seeing as she doesn't deal with loans. This woman is clearly intelligent, but does not completely understand the product she has. She understands loans, and how they work, just not the one she has. Ha. Great work by her loan consultant there. Well this loan consultant, or whoever set up the loan, is on "indefinite medical leave" and can't help her. She has an equity line of credit, with the entire outstanding balance fixed into a specific rate. Its almost like a mini-subset of the line of credit. Anyway, its set up like an installment loan with a specific number of years set in place to pay off the balance. In this case its four years. So her payments are all going to be the same for four years, at which point it will be completely paid off. Well she thinks that if she pays down the principal balance, the loan should re-amortize....or adjust to reflect that less interest is being accrued, and thus the payment should be less...or at least the amount of interest being paid should be less. With a floating, variable rate loan this is true. But she has this portion of her variable loan fixed in. Therefore large principal reductions will do nothing to the payment amounts or the amount of interest being paid and simply reduce the time it will take to pay off the loan. I tried explaining this to her, and she refused to accept it...saying it went against simple, 5th grade math. OH DEAR GOD. Now I have to call her back and attempt to explain it again. I'm not holding my breath for a positive, understanding response from her.

Hooray for crazy people on the phone...err...not really. I wish we had technology that could detect the level of stupidity in the person calling, and then only let the call through to an actual person if they knew what they were talking about. Man that would be divine. Oh well...probably doesn't exist nor would WaMu pay to get the technology...I mean they won't give my boss, Fred, a newer model computer even tho his keeps crashing. He's on his third computer, and each "new" one is simply a used version of the model he already had. Great idea. Let's recycle the same model that is currently causing problems. GENIUS.

Still better than being in the branch tho :D

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Bureaucracies in collegeiate sports

I have been a sports fanatic since I was a wee little boy...and I say fanatic (and not just fan) bc I love sports. I love watching sports on TV, attending live sporting events, playing sports & especially talking with other such fanatics about sports. So when I say I love sports, its not something I take lightly. I pride myself on knowing a lot of random sports trivia, mostly current but some historic, and I take pride in "my teams."

Now there are rules for being a sports fan, and by my interpretation I currently follow them.

While I didn't grow up in a city with a professional sports team, Seattle was only 30-40 miles south from where I grew up. So naturally I gravitated towards those teams. For some reason (and its been so long I'm really not sure why but I think it had something to do with Ryan Sandberg being ridiculously awesome...or how even today I can remember him and how sweet he was at 2nd base) I'm also a huge Cubs fan. If you know me at all, you know this. Now I feel as though this still follows the Sports Guy's rules for being a true fan for three reasons: (one) I've always been a Mariner's fan, (two) the M's & Cubs are in the AL & NL (so until semi-recently (before inter-league play) I could root for both bc they could only play each other in the World Series and don't even ask me who I would root for then bc that's too traumatic to think about right now)) and (three) I started liking them so young (when they were terrible) that I can't be considered a "bandwagon fan." Now, at the moment I don't own any M's gear. I had several shirts growing up but grew out of them, and my interest did lessen after Griffey was traded. He was amazing to watch. I do own three Cubs hats, four to five shirts, a jersey (with no player name, but clearly not my own name) & now a sweet book by the fans/for the fans/something about the fans, which I'm excited to read (OMG I know...I'm going to read a book).

I've also been a HUGE Seahawks fan for pretty much my whole life. I remember thinking Steve Largent was the coolest man alive. I even remember this little Seahawks doll/toy I had. It was a Seahawk (or at least a Hawk or some kind of bird) that was grey, had a Seahawks helmet on, and had a football sewn to one of its wings to make it look like he was carrying the ball. Now I say doll bc it was soft and furry-ish and not hard plastic like a TMNT or a GI Joe (which I was never allowed to have...which is complete crap...bc every boy my age had them and now I will never know the joy that those combat toys brought to prepubescent boys across the world...damn!) Unfortunately I never made it to a game as a young boy, and it wasn't until last year that I attended my first game. It was great. We lost, but I still had a blast. I also went again this year and WE TORE ARIZONA A NEW ONE. That was even greater. So now I own a Tatupu jersey, two or three t-shirts, and a slick pullover fleece. GO HAWKS!!!

The last of my professional sports teams are the Sonics. I have always been a Sonics fan bc basketball was my favorite sport growing up. I have also been a closet Trailblazers fan bc one of my favorite people of all time (my great Aunt Dorothy) lived in Vancouver, WA, which is just across the Oregon border, and minutes away from Portland. When we used to visit her she would always talk about the Blazers, and even gave me a set of collectible Trailblazers glasses from Dairy Queen that I still have somewhere. Her favorite player was Clyde Drexler and so I too adored him bc I adored her so much. My mom even met him in downtown Seattle and went up and got his autograph. Then as I grew older and truly appreciated just how talented a player The Glide was, and his sportsmanship, I understood why my Aunt liked him so much, and why she got me to like him as well. Unfortunately, my Aunt Dorothy has since passed on, but she will never be forgotten, in part bc she instilled in me an even stronger love for basketball, but she also taught me how to play poker, which I continue to play and enjoy to this day.

Ok that turned into something else. Something definitely worth mentioning, but now back to the Sonics. Growing up I loved basketball. Played it. Watched it. Lived it. Growing up I wanted to attend Duke or UNC so I could play basketball at one of the elite schools. In jr. high however, I quickly realized I wasn't tall enough, big enough, or skilled enough to ever compete on such a high level. Oh well. Still had the Sonics. It was also about this time that they went to the Finals against the Bulls. Damn Bulls. We lost, but it was sweet to see my team do so well. This was also the time that I really started logging player names & random things. I remember Hersey Hawkins, the 3-point specialist. Sam "Big Smooth" Perkins, the lefty who shot 3-pointers without jumping. Detlef Schrempf, the foreign guy who was just wicked good. Nate "Mac 10" McMillan, all energizer bunny if you will. Kendall Gil was sick. Too bad he kind of faded out, but I remember liking him a lot. Then, of course, you had the big dogs...Gary "The Glove" Payton and Shawn "Reign Man" Kemp (now I could never remember if it was Reign or Rain...either made sense bc he was 'king' and reigned over everyone or bc it was Seattle and we get a lot of rain...I really don't know still). Payton was my favorite. I had his jersey. I loved his tenacity, his attitude of I know I'm smaller than you but I'm going to make you look so foolish, his big trash talking mouth & his stellar defense that earned him his nickname. I was especially happy for him when, as part of the Miami Heat in the 2005-2006 season, he finally won an NBA championship. He was never able to get one in Seattle, but he was one of those guys who deserved a title for how hard and how well he played. Kind of like how I would root for Reggie Miller (and the Pacers bc my college roommate was a HUGE Pacers fan) for the same reason. I also liked Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway growing up. He was just one of those players that you are drawn to and you don't know why. Had his Magic jersey. He was so sweet during those years with the Magic, with Shaq. I don't think he's won a title either, which is too bad.

So wow. I was going to go off on the BCS..the Bureaucracies in Collegiate Sports...I mean the Bowl Championship Series...and how college football is driven too much by money and stubbornness that values money & tradition over good football. Got a little off track with the pro teams and Sports Guy's greatness (hence the link to his rules) and forgot why I started this. So....let's-a go mario!!! (HA have to love really do...if for some reason you don't then you are so much of the suck...not liking mario is as un-American as liking Manu Ginobili, ice dancing or the WNBA)

Moving on to the BCS...the Bureaucracies in Collegiate Sports...err...the Bowl Championship Series. Boo...well sort of. (on a side note...i use "..." a lot. i know. i can't help it. i fell in love with them some time ago. i could use a comma, and occasionally i do...but the other is so much more enjoyable to use. i don't know why. why i use them. or why they're fun to use. but i do it. and if you don't like then tough. the end...of that side note.) I found out some interesting things about the BCS within the past few months, which helped me understand why BCS conference schools (Pac 10, Big 10, Big 12, ACC, Big East, SEC...and I think that's all) aren't up in arms as much as everyone else in college football seems to be. Again its about money. The BCS guarantees money to each conference as a whole, with each team in that conference getting the same amount of money. Different conferences, and even smaller conferences and I believe some D-IA & D-IAA schools, get different amounts. So the SEC as a whole may get $2.5 million, while the Pac-10 only get $1.75 million...but each school in each division receive an equal share of that money. So each Pac-10 would get $175,000 and each SEC school would get $208,333 or so. So from that angle, and the fact that non-BCS schools get money too, the BCS is good for college football. People don't want to talk about it, but college football teams need to make money in order to stay "in business" and stay competitive. Its true. It would be nice if everyone could just play and money didn't matter, but that's never going to happen so let's stop living in this made up, idealistic fantasy land. Deal? Deal.

Now what I don't like about the BCS is everything else. Sort of. Again sort of. Yea. Damn it all. Ok so there are some other rules that many may not know about. The big BCS bowl games at the end of the year have a small amount of structure and rules that have to be followed...

-the #1 team and the #2 team will play in the National Title game (duh)

-no more than two schools from any conference can play (either by selection or by being in the top two) in the BCS bowls...this came in to play this year with Oklahoma, Missouri & Kansas all from the Big came down to Kansas or Missouri...Missouri got the shaft despite being ranked #1 going into the Big 12 title game (which it lost, and which it was the underdog as the #1 ranked team in the country...go figure)...Kansas proved it belong by beating the highly favored Va Tech Hokies, and Mizzou won too so who knows if the right choice was made.

-If a school from a non-BCS conference finishes in the top 12 of the final BCS standings, then they are guaranteed a BCS bowl berth...this was the case this year with Hawaii and last year with Boise St...too bad Hawaii got pummelled by Georgia, unlike Boise St which took down Oklahoma last year in one of the most exciting football games ever...that hook & ladder play on 4th down was sweet enough but to follow that up in OT by going for the 2-point conversion (to go for the win instead of kicking the PAT for to force another OT) and perfectly executing the statue of liberty was UNREAL...simply amazing.

So the BCS does have some rules. This year showed us why non-BCS teams don't belong, but Boise St proved that doesn't always ring true. This year also showed us that the system isn't perfect (yet again), but is there really any other way of doing it? Think about some of the bowl winning teams this FAU, East Carolina, Kentucky & Michigan can all end the season on a high note. By being champions of something. Kentucky was ranked #2 at one point, only to drop several games late in the year, but they won their bowl game are now the Music City Bowl Champions. Good for them. And Michigan who was ranked #5 at the start of the season, then lost to unranked (but eventual D-IAA Champions for the THIRD STRAIGHT YEAR) Appalachian St. to start the season, and dropped from the rankings, then lose to Oregon the next week...but pulled the season together, only to lose to Ohio St at the end of the season for the fourth straight year...but did beat 12th ranked Florida & Heisman winner Tim Tebow (the only Sophomore to win the award) to win the Capital One Bowl. Way to go Wolverines.

HOWEVER!!!! I do not like how the rest of the teams are chosen for the four remaining BCS games. National title game gets the two teams who finished atop the final BCS standings. Now you can't argue with that system, but you certainly can argue how they ended up atop the standings. Like Ohio St. They don't play a conference championship game, and hadn't played since November 17th until last night. They didn't beat anyone ranked higher than #21 and lost to unranked Illinois, although they ended up being a pretty solid team this year. So after beating Michigan in their season finale, the Buckeyes were ranked 5th in the BCS standings. LSU was #1, but lost to Arkansas, then won the SEC championship, and ended up back at #2...but with help from the other three teams that were in the top five. Kansas was #2, but lost to Missouri who was #4. Missouri then moved into the Big 12 championship as the #1 team, but lost to #9 Oklahoma, who like I said, was favored. Weird. West Virginia was #3, then after the Kansas loss moved into the #2 spot. All they had to do was beat their rival, unranked Pitt (who was something like a 21 point underdog) and they'd be in the national title game. Nope. They lost. At home. 13-9. Wow. So #1 & #2 both just lost. And this was who was under them, hoping to be bumped up to #1 or #2...#3-9: #3-Ohio St (who does not play a conference championship, but was 11-1), #4-Georgia (who did not win the SEC championship, nor did they play in that game at all...Tennessee did, and lost, but was #14 at the time. FREAKING WEIRD), #5-Kansas (who did not play in the Big 12 championship but had only one loss), #6-Va Tech (won the ACC championship game, and while it had two losses...they came to then #2 LSU and then #2 BC), #7-LSU (just won the SEC championship game after losing to an unranked foe as the #1 team), #8-USC (who did lose to 41 point underdog Stanford & #5 Oregon, but was playing some of the best ball in the country at this point), #9-Oklahoma (who just beat #1 Missouri to win the Big 12 championship game). All these teams were either ranked high enough to where they could move up to #2 or had a serious case to make why they should "leap frog" so many other teams to jump into the #2 spot. At this point it was pretty obvious that #3 OSU was going to assume the #1 position after Missouri & WVU both lost.

(monumentally unimportant side note...the Seattle Storm, my city's WNBA franchise that was bought by the same people who bought the Sonics, has been sold to local owners and the team is staying in Seattle. DAMN! Wrong team is staying. Wrong team is leaving. This is blogworthy bc it was on the front page of the Seattle Times which was on the table while I ate my lunch. I thought to myself how many WNBA teams can I name? Here's what I got...Storm (Seattle), Mercury (Phoenix), Sparks (LA), Monarchs (Sacramento), Comets (Houston), Shock (Detroit), Mystics (DC), Liberty (NY), Sun (Conn?), I think there's a team in Minnesota and either Columbus or 10 or I'm going to check and see how many exist...13. I left off Chicago Sky, Indiana Fever (ha! I knew it), Minnesota Lynx (right again!) & the San Antonio Silver Stars (wth?)...I was also right about the Sun being in all this means I know too much about the WNBA....who's "quick link" to get to their homepage from ESPN is located under the More+ tab at the far right...whereas the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, College Hoops, NASCAR, Soccer, Golf, Tennis, Boxing, AFL (wow ARENA FOOTBALL) are all listed on the main section...just goes to show how popular the WNBA is....not at all)

So the BCS mess ends up with #7 LSU jumping all the way up to #2, even though two short weeks ago they lost as the #1 team. Screwy. Well, LSU being in the title game was accurate. They came out a little slow, or Ohio St just came out blazing, but in the end LSU proved it belonged by crushing the Buckeyes 34-24 and being the first school to capture a 2nd BCS title since its inception in 1998.

The rest of the BCS bowl matchups are chosen out of the top 18/20/25...i think its 25 in the final BCS standings by committees from each bowl game...or the representatives of the bowl game...whoever. One bowl had to take Hawaii, so that pick was already gone. I guess the process goes somewhat orderly (not sure how order is decided) in that (for example) the Sugar Bowl picks a team, then the Fiesta, then the Orange, then the Rose, then back to the Sugar and so on. Well the Rose Bowl wanted to keep with the Pac-10.Big-10 tradition and took USC (fine. good, deserving pick) and then Illinois (huh what? sure they played well, but cmon...they can't keep up with USC...and they didn't...shame on the Rose Bowl). Kansas/Va Tech ended up being decent bc the underdog Kansas won. West Virginia/Oklahoma proved exciting bc WVU kicked the you-know-what out of Oklahoma (who's something like 1-6 in BCS bowls under Bob Stoops). And, although I was totally pulling for Hawaii to pull off the upset and show it belonged (darn), Georgia pretty much handled them like a 5th grade bully picks on a 1st grader. It was almost like Hawaii was so excited to be in such a big bowl game that they forgot to actually come ready to least that's what I heard bc I didn't watch any of these games. That's why I don't know which bowl picked which teams bc they were all such boring matchups that I didn't care at all to watch. Exciting regular season that is forgotten bc the postseason sucked so hard. NCAA football you deserve a swift kick in the crotch for botching what could have been an OUTSTANDING group of BCS the top of my head I would've rather seen the following: Kansas/Missouri rematch (only two big 12 teams, so sorry Oklahoma your track record gets your booted. ha!), Va Tech/West Virginia (exciting offense vs. tough defense...err that's backwards), USC/LSU (OMG that would've been amazing)....hmmm Hawaii/Georgia? Maybe if Hawaii came to play...I'll admit this was the one game I was psyched to see...then didn't know when it was on and was glad I missed it. How about Mizz/Hawaii & Kansas/Georgia? Sure. Screw Oklahoma. Or pit them against LSU or USC in the title game. Or Georgia. Doesn't matter now...its all over and I feel cheated.

Exhale. That was WAY MORE than I intended to talk about. Meh. Like I said I freaking love sports...or arguing how they got screwed up. In other collegiate sports news, March Madness (WOO HOO!!!) is just around the corner....and by that I mean its only two months away. The NCAA got it right with college basketball. I have finally decided to root on the Huskies for good. Growing up it was back and forth between UW & WSU because I had some many different people in my life rooting for each. And as a young, impressionable boy it was easy to sway my allegiance. At one point I was a Cougar football fan, and as a result a Drew Bledsoe fan. I had his Patriots jersey along with Payton & Penny. (Yikes! I owned (wait still do bc I found another Bledsoe jersey) a Patriots jersey...not once but now twice. Damn. In the words of...(either TMQ or Bill Simmons (aka the Sports Guy) who is from Boston but realizes how much everyone hates his Patriots) someone far smarter than me...I own a "Cobra Kai Yankees" (aka the Patriots) jersey). But now I am a Husky fan because my roommate went there and because I now live in Seattle (I was a bigger Cougar fan in Spokane, where I went to school, bc they were closer and bc I could more easily attend games...which I did)...indefinitely.

Hmmm. Ok so here is my outlook in sports for the next week, month, quarter & year: Go Hawks, go Men's Husky Basketball, go Jake Locker & Husky football, go Sonics ( per Sports Guy's rules I can choose a new team once they leave...seeing as I have this former, repressed love for the Trailblazers (and seeing former UW star Brandon Roy plays for them) I think my new team will be Portland...yea...Portland), go M's (sign another proven starter please...not another Carlos Silva...and please trade Sexon or remove his head from his ass), go Cubbies &....die Yankees, Patriots, White Sox, Cougars, USC, Ohio St, the Storm & the rest of the WNBA.

Hope you enjoyed that...or at least learned something new...or were able to kind of, partially, in a strange sort of back-asswards (yes i know that's wrong) kind of way follow some of what I was ranting about. I love sports. And picking on my team...or talking trash about them is like beating on/up my little brother...nobody but me can do that...bc ultimately I love them no matter what. So for the time being, cheer on your NFL team if they are still standing, root on your alma matter as they approach March Madness (or if you went to a D-III school like me, then choose a D-I school based on the Sports Guy's rules) and above all, hope for good, clean games that not only give you your desired outcome, but entertain you along the way (except the Patriots (sorry Sports Guy)...I hope you get your perfect season shoved right down your throat by Jacksonville this weekend).


(sorry for the extra return lines...can't figure out why its doing that...if its doing that for like cheez-its)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Strangers from my past...

i love people. meeting new people. watching people (not in a creepy swear its not creepy). reconnecting with old friends. making new friends. etc.

so the first comment on my blog here was from someone who claimed i hadn't talked to in a very long time. unfortunately i don't know who you are. or i probably do...just not from your comment. if you would like to identify yourself further that would be great bc, as i said, i love reconnecting with people. seeing what they've been up to. things like that.

i actually just reconnected (ok i've said that like three times already and its already annoying me) with an old friend a few weekends ago to watch the seahawks game. it was great. she was just as fun and upbeat as i remember. she's one of those people who puts everyone around her in a good mood. i love it. and her. she's great. and it was great to see here again. hopefully we'll get to hang out more, but i did enjoy the few hours spent rooting on the hawks and eating our delicious panera bagels. yum!

ok nothing too exciting this time. sorry. i'm sure i'll have more to say tomorrow.

thanks for reading (if you do)


Football, Fixed Rate Mortgages & Public Transportation

This is how the Seahawks game went (for me) on Saturday:
1st Q: feelin' great. Alexander looks better than he has all season and we score a rushing TD (OMG I know!) to go up 7-0. Defense is lookin' stout and mean.
2nd Q: Defense still lookin' solid. Still pitchin' a shutout. Josh Brown kicks a 50 yard FG to put us up 10-0. This is the JB I know and like. Halftime arrives and I feel like one more touchdown and the game is out of reach for Washington.
3rd Q: JB kicks another FG to put us up 13-0. Wanted a TD, but will take the points. Defense isn't lookin' as tenacious. Not as much pressure on the QB, but still haven't allowed any points, though the Skins are driving and inside the red zone as the quarter ends.
4th Q: Skins score on a quick, short pass to Randle El. We know him well from the Super Bowl with Pittsburgh. We don't like him. 13-7. I liked being up by 13 better, but feel like a scoring drive will squash whatever momentum they have and lead us to victory
....On the second play after we get the ball back, Hasselbeck throws an interception. WTH HASSELBECK!?! Three plays later our safety takes the worst route ever to help cover the Redskins best WR and in so doing, lets him make an easy catch for a 30 yard TD. DAMN. All of a sudden we're down 14-13
....On the ensuing kickoff, the strangest thing happened (which was true, but I was still LIVID!!!) in that the wind basically stopped the ball from continuing its flight down field. The kick return man noticed this and tried to run up and catch the ball but could not get there in time and it bounced in front of him and then passed him...where there were no more Seahawks. The Redskins players running down field passed our return man, and then scooped up the live ball. DOUBLE DAMN!
....So now the Redskins have the ball in the red zone again. Defense steps up HUGE and holds them to a FG attempt. Kicker comes in and SHANKS A 30 YARD FG...OMG!!!!!!!!! So no harm no foul. Hawks get the ball back and now we really need to use this to gain some momentum back. Start driving and then HASSELBECK THROWS ANOTHER PICK! TRIPLE DAMN!
....Luckily the Redskins ended up punting after the pick, and we then drove down and score a TD, and converted the 2 point conversion to go up 21-14.
...Next offensive play for Redskins is a pass that the Pro Bowl CB Trufant intercepts and runs back for a TD. on the play, the WR (same WR who caught the 30 yard, go ahead score) gave up on the play, thinking his QB wouldn't throw it bc he was so well covered wrong. Trufant stayed with the play and made the catch look almost like it was thrown to him. By the time the WR realized what had happened, Trufant was already 10 yards in the other direction. SWEEEEEEEEET!!!! 28-14. (Side note: after Trufant intercepted the pass my roommate, Dan, was yelling at the TV for Trufant to fall to the ground to prevent a fumble or something else bad from happening. As he crossed the goal line to score what really turned out to be the play that completely deflated the Redskins, I turned to him and mocked him endlessly for about 30 seconds. I get what he was thinking when he wanted him to just fall to the ground, but there was still six minutes left in the game and we were only up seven at the time. Silly Dan....ok moving on).
....Then the Redskins were driving and failed to convert a 4th down. We then ran the clock down to the two minute warning and punted. As the Skins desperately tried to get something going again, Babineaux picked off their QB and returned it for another TD. YEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSS!!! score 35-14, but for awhile there I thought we were going to completely blow it. phew.

So now that I have recovered from the 87 heart attacks I had during that 4th quarter, I think I just had another one bc I realized we have to play Green Bay @ home @ Lambeau Field this weekend. Quadruple damn. Brett Favre is playing re-energized, youthful-type, extraordinary football this season. AND. and is incredibly tough to beat at home, especially in the playoffs. Can we beat the Packers on their home field? Yes. Did we show signs on the kind of play needed to beat the Packers during our game against the Redskins? Yes. Did we also have a Kingdome sized brain fart for about six to eight minutes in that same game? Yes. Hopefully the team from the first three quarters will show up for the whole game, and then we'll have a real good chance of taking down the most prolific QB of all time. We shall see what happens...

Caution: may contain work like substance....Fixed Rate Mortgage Rates are quite attractive right now. If you own a home, or wish to purchase a home, please contact me immediately to get a sexy 30 yr FRM today! (ha. sexy mortgage rate. they are quite good right now tho...)

The 358. This is the bus I ride to and from work everyday. If you have ever ridden the bus in Seattle, you've probably heard of this bus...and all the "specialness" it contains. The route runs from 200th up in Edmonds/North Shoreline all the way down Aurora Ave to downtown Seattle. Now Aurora Ave is not known for being high class anything. In fact a certain stretch has signs posted that designate those blocks as "drug & prostitution watch areas." In fact, I used to live right near this area, and even saw a few "ladies of the night" get picked up/dropped off in front of my house. There was also a shooting only a few blocks north of my old house too. Like I said...Aurora = ghetto. So imagine some of the people that accompany me downtown every morning and home every evening. Yikes. For the most part tho, its not too bad. Not the shortest ride, but usually not terrible in length or seat companion. It is however, a great place to people watch...which is becoming one of my favorite hobbies.

People watching is simple, always interesting and even highly rewarding at times. Its even fun when you have your iPod on and can't hear what's going on, but can see everything unfolding bc then you can make up what's being said to be EVEN FUNNIER. Some of my favorite bus episodes are as follows (in no particular order):
**the guy who got on and just stood in the entrance to the bus...didn't catch what he did, if anything, but the bus driver asked him to get off (now that I think about it, I don't think he paid....but no, it was the ride free idk) but the man continued to stand there. the bus driver repeatedly asked the man to get off, and each time his voice got a little louder. after about 30 seconds of non-cooperation the bus driver was YELLING at this man and threatening to call the police. the man slowly began to get off, as the driver continued to yell at him. it was actually quite humorous.
**the woman who got on by way of the lift (generally reserved for disabled persons, or people in wheelchairs) even tho she was not visibly unable to climb the steps. she did however have a large piece of luggage with her. well this bus driver knew the woman by name and as she got on she asked her if she had a bus pass? book? form of payment for her fare? HA HA. she said this all so casually and then sat down about midway through the front half of the bus with her giant piece of luggage in the aisle way. as more people got on, they struggled to get by this obstacle, and their faces were priceless. eventually one guy made some comment/noise and raised his hands in the air like 'WTH lady?' OMG it was great.
**another lady and her daughter got on with luggage on one of the first stops after the bus gets off aurora, and starts winding towards downtown. they were obviously going to the airport, and said so. the woman asked where a certain stop was, which happened to be the next stop only about five to six blocks from where they got on the bus. as we approached the stop, the lady asked where 3rd & pike was. the bus driver told her it was several blocks south, and that we'd be stopping right near there, so she didn't need to get off right then. the lady insisted she knew where she was going, and her directions told her to get off then. after much delay about who knew better where to get off, the bus driver, or this lady who clearly had no clue, yet claimed to know exactly where she was, the woman sat back down to get off at the correct location to catch the bus that heads to the airport. this was funny. what was even funnier was the man sitting in front of me that kept mocking her for the next 10 blocks. "where is 3rd & pine? you know where 3rd & pine is?...I know where I am." LMAO. as I got off, I turned to him (my stop is 3rd & pine) and asked if this was 3rd & pine. he laughed. it was great. the best part was this woman was about two feet from us. HA HA.
**several weeks ago the bus was running quite late. turned out there was a bus missing. meaning...if there is a bus that comes at 7:30, 7:40 & 7:50, the 7:40 never showed up. so I was waiting for this bus FOREVER until finally the next one came. about 30 blocks after I got on, this woman boarded the bus and was very snooty. she asked the bus driver if she was late or what took so long for this bus to arrive. the bus driver said she was on time. the woman did not like her tone or something, and made some snide comment back and walked towards a seat. the bus driver then screamed "YOU'RE GONNA PAY LADY!!" and I was shocked that a driver would threaten a passenger. turned out the woman simply had refused to pay bc the bus was late, but then after being called out in such a way, went back up to pay. I thought it was hilarious how irritated this little lady was, only to see her get off two stops later. stupid lady. just walk the 5 blocks next time. geez.
**there was the time when one of my co-workers was celebrating his 30th year with WaMu, and so we all met up after work at this pretty swanky bar inside the WAC (washington athletic club) to have some drinks, mingle and just have a good time. We all got one free adult beverage, and a non-alcoholic type as well. I traded my "non" for one of my bosses, Jason's< "adult" coupons bc he doesn't drink. two free drinks. scored one more of these coupons from the event organizer bc not everyone who RSVP'd showed up. three free drinks. my other boss, Fred, noticed I was empty on a few occasions and got me two or three more. five to six free drinks (all except one were jack & cokes (and the one that wasn't was a beer...i think Stella)). then I bought one more, which I definitely did not need. so roughly seven for the price of one. so I was smashed. felt sick. went into the bathroom there and managed to pull myself together without getting sick. I had been talking with a few people from work, but ducked out after leaving the bathroom to head for the bus stop. Stumbled down and caught the 358 for home....

Stay tuned for more crazy bus stories, and more on the time when I got drunk downtown and took the bus home...well sort of :)